February 24, 2014
I walked into a bookstore today at one of the malls here in Lusaka. While books may be expensive in the United States they are many times more expensive overseas. I am always grateful for Amazon.com when I go into bookstores anywhere.
I realized today that as much as I love books, and I do, I can’t books right now because I don’t know where I am going next and I don’t have a home anywhere to take anything to, let alone books. I also realized that it is possible that my entire library of two bookcases full of books in Malakal may be gone when I return. I am not willing to invest money in books at a moment in time when I may have lost a library.
Saturday I went with friends (they drove me) to a once a month cultural market. It is sponsored by the Dutch Reformed Church. There is a similar once a month event in Addis Ababa, the NGO Bazaar. The one in Addis is definitely a fundraiser and the one here in Lusaka is not so much. The one on this Saturday felt much more touristy as well. However, I was able to replace several pairs of earrings that I had originally purchased in Nairobi, Kenya. One of the sellers at this market in Lusaka had many pairs of earrings from artists in Nairobi. As she said, they have been doing this for a long time and they know what they are doing. I found some joy in replacing a couple of things that may be lost in Malakal.
After the market we went back out to the street. There was a young boy who was limping and following us. He said, “I’m hungry.” My friend gave him a bagel, carefully explaining that it was not sweet. He came up against the van that we were in and when I saw him peering into the van at the family my heart broke. I had to fight an extremely strong desire to take him home with me. He was looking in at something he doesn’t have, a family. And he was cared for by something he doesn’t have, a mother. That was what I realized, this child needs a mother. I want to take him home.
Poverty is dreadful. Little children should not have to be begging for food. We don’t have to beg for crumbs from Jesus (although that was done in order that we don’t have to do it) and these little children should not have to be begging for crumbs. I had a thought today. I wonder if the powers and the principalities manifest in unjust systems on earth? That little boy, and the millions of other children like him in the world, should not have to be paying the price for an unjust global system.