Yesterday I got a text late at night telling me that there were riots happening in the town where we shop.
Apparently there were rumors that children were being killed for witchcraft rituals. In typical mob-logic fashion, the thinking went from 'children are being killed' to 'people with money have to be behind this' to 'kill anyone with money'
Businesses were looted and then burned to the ground. Several houses were also burned and sadly, at least 3 lives were lost in those fires. Other people were attacked and killed as well. Roads leading in and out of Mansa were blocked off.
It is so sad when ignorance and hysteria collide, creating such a volatile situation. The police state that no ritual killings have been reported to them so it's possible that this whole riot was much ado about nothing. And yet, when the dust has cleared, lives have been lost, livelihoods ruined and peace shattered.
Zambia has been mostly peaceful over the years and I haven't really had to worry. With the entire world erupting in violence, things seem to be changing. I'm not worried really, because I know I'm sheltered in the protection of the Most High. But, that doesn't mean I'm foolish. I'm staying in touch with people who are in-the-know to see what's going on. I will only travel down for shopping when I know for sure that things are safe.
Two days ago, one of our most diligent nannies, Majory, lost her seven year old child to malaria. He didn't respond to treatment the first time, and after being switched to a stronger medicine had adverse reactions to the medications. His liver basically failed due to the effects of the malaria and the medicines needed to treat it.
Majory has worked for us for about 3 years, although she took a year off when she gave birth to twins 2 years ago. Sadly, one of those twins didn't make it to two weeks old. This was when I learned for the first time that the birth mortality rate for twins is so high that mothers don't even name their babies until they're certain they are going to make it. So Majory's little baby boy who died shortly after birth can't even be remembered by name. That thought makes me so sad.
And now, Majory has lost another little boy. It's hard to be surrounded by so much sadness.
The only way to keep going is to know for certain that my hope lies in Christ! He is the only true and reliable thing in my world. I have nearly lost my children to illness, I have buried other babies, I have seen lives ruined by rumors and witchcraft, I have been frustrated by the lack of apparent progress in some of our ministries. The only thing that keeps me going is knowing that there is a future, and a bright one at that, just on the other side of my horizon. I have to hold on and He will carry me there.