The two teenagers were called from their football practice to thank us for new balls and goal nets we had just bought in town. Their pitch was crowded with eager boys of all ages, excited and active in the dusty late afternoon sun. An ordinary event almost anywhere in the world yet, here near Lusaka in Zambia, today was significant. The national Zambian team won the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time ever in February, and this week the Light of Hope Health Clinic team plays in a local league for the first time ever for any team from this community, Linda Compound.
It is such a central impulse, to make contact with others and to experience together whatever that brings. Whether through sport, fun, family, work or a common idea, our instinct is to connect and share. And it’s easy to link with others when we feel good, but even more important to remember when we feel isolated or frightened or abnormal.
The VisionAfrica fund that we and a small group of friends started nearly 10 years ago is a bridge to the community in Linda Compound near Lusaka, and the reason our daughter Katie and I were in Zambia last week. This is one of the richest connections in our lives for many reasons, and one is the friendships that have built over the years of teamwork over water, education, health clinics, palliative hospice care, and donors like many of you.
The setbacks have felt huge too, like the water pump that failed 30 meters underground, the electricity supply that was crucially delayed, the doubts and frustrations about making a difference. How many times have we reminded ourselves to keep communicating, to stay connected? We’ve lost count but we know that teamwork – which is what it says on the tin – “work”, is key.
Just this weekend there was reminder for me of the comfort of friendship and teamwork – when I imagined I was on my own with an issue, someone called and it made all the difference. What connection could make all the difference for you and a teammate today?
With love, Sue and Jeff