We have had a challenging few days-- we have been struggling with a serious situation. It was made more difficult by the fact that Tom and I had popped down to Lusaka for two days of business which means four days away from home with travel figured in.
First a little background: For the last couple months Tom has been working on improving things at the lagoon where we have our boat. His idea is to put up a little log cabin for overnight guests and tourists to rent. It will be very rustic and quaint but peaceful and authentic.
This week we finally got all the wood and carpenters out to the site to start working. Then, Thursday, our gardener (and all around worker) called to say that the sub-chief had said we had to pack everything up and the workers needed to leave because if they didn't, the villagers were going to kill them.
This was very very scary for us because the lagoon is only twenty minutes from our house. We had no idea what the real situation was and if the threatened violence would spill over to our house and orphanage. Thankfully we had a friend who lives nearby who came over and spent the night to look after everything since we were over 600 miles away.
The next morning we made about a hundred phone calls (no exaggeration) and found out even more details. Apparently, about a week or two ago, the fish in the lagoon began dying and nine people died over a four day period.
Living in rural Africa means that we live among and work with people for whom superstitions, traditions and witchcraft are a regular part of life. When a situation happens and people don't understand or have the answers for it, blame is put onto any target. We've seen this firsthand before when Tom documented a village 'witchhunt'.
Now, because the deaths of people and fish could not be explained, Tom has been blamed because of his relationship with the local sub-chief.
The situation is fairly calm now. Some of our many, many phone calls were made to various contacts and friends and eventually government officials. We requested help in investigating the deaths--surely there is a reasonable explanation and perhaps a reason for concern--some type of poison added to the lagoon is a logical guess. We have also asked that the government assist us in mediating the situation since the local culture can be difficult to navigate.
We still really need prayer for the situation to calm completely and that we can reopen the lines of communication with local leaders.
Today, for church, we read from Revelation about being overcomers. We will conquer and we will overcome by the Grace of God. We're in it to Win! Thanks for praying and helping us finish this race.
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