we went to the wrong house.
that’s how i met him.
the plan was to visit a “tuli one” home where a couple of foster girls lived.
accidentally we ended up at the boys home.
accidentally, but not really.
instead of the girls, we met bwalyia.
weren’t we surprised to open the door and find, not a room full of girls, but a couple of boys.
it was a translation thing. the foster mother, dorothy, didn’t quite understand what we were asking. that can happen while in zambia.
we were looking specifically for the girls home because a friend back in america had helped build it and asked us to visit and photograph the home.
but instead, we traveled over broken red roads and car wrenching pot holes across the community of mapalo. we found a "tuli one" home, but the wrong one.
in bemba, "tuli one" means “we are one.” these homes were started for children who have no other option --- there is no family left to care for them and the next step would be an orphanage. wiphan has 3 tuli one homes for children in this situation. it provides a roof and a foster mother and the chance for the students to continue attending a wiphan school.
bwalyia is one of those children.
he is in 8th grade and lives with foster mother, dorothy, and foster brother, loyd. loyd is in 2nd grade and these two boys share a small room with bunk beds.
i know that bwalyia sleeps on the bottom bunk, but i don’t know the story behind what happened to the rest of his family. it felt too soon and too quick to ask during our visit. “show me your room and, oh, by the way, why don’t you have parents?” it was easier to ask him about futbol (soccer) and his position (striker). it was easier to find out that he likes to score goals and that his favorite subject is social studies.
bwalyia and i had a good time talking. at first shy, he quickly opened up and began to smile. we had a hard time understanding each other, but even in that convoluted conversation, i could tell for certain, bwalyia was a hard working boy and had an incredibly gentle spirit.
language isn’t needed for some things.
one thing, however, which was needed for bwalyia is a sponsor. i had told my friend, april, that i would like to possibly find one of the kids our family could sponsor.
i’ll be honest, i had in mind a cute little girl – maybe 6 or 7 with big, bright eyes and an easy smile.
|bwalyia showed us his room.|
he shares these bunk beds with loyd.
we came to the wrong house, but we came to the right child.
before leaving his home, i new i’d be sharing his story with my family and very likely beginning a relationship with this young man as his sponsor.
life is anything but simple for bwalyia, but sponsoring him sure is. for $39 a month we can help provide education, books, uniforms, medical care and meals at school. more importantly, we can provide encouragement. and though these kids must have many physical needs met, they desperately need relationship and encouragement.
we are so excited to sponsor this young man.
there may have been a mistake in the house we visited. but that afternoon, God had it all worked out ahead of us.
i love how God leads us to something good even when we think we’ve made a mistake, lost our way or taken a wrong turn.
we were supposed to visit a girls’ home that day in mapalo, zambia, but instead i found bwalyia.
“we can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” ~ proverbs 16:9
dorothy -- one of the jewelry women -- is also bwalyia's foster mom. i had no idea when i bought necklaces from her and posed for this picture with her earlier that same day ... kind of cool.