No advocate’s experience in Zambia is the same and different moments stick in their minds long after they leave. For Ollie, the day he met Mbulo was a particularly memorable part of his time in Mazabuka.
He writes: “On Friday the 12th July, I was in a group of advocates who went out with Mrs Mweete and Chola as they delivered food to some of those who are helped by the Sisters of Mercy Nutrition Programme (supported by Share the Light). We first went to a couple of houses in the Zambia Compound, which is a very poor part of Mazabuka, and then visited some other houses on the outskirts of Mazabuka, which are a little nicer.
The last home we delivered food to was located on the same road as the City of Joy, in a more affluent part of the town. However, as we walked around the corner to visit the last house, we realised that this was the worst that we had seen. The house had a back wall and two broken down side walls, with a few pieces of tin balanced across the top to form a kind of roof. As we arrived, we saw a man working hard to finish building the house, using a pile of broken blocks and mud as cement. His name was Mbulo Lowani and he lives in the house with two of his children. His wife died from AIDS and his other two children live with his sister in Livingstone. He struggles to find regular employment and mainly earns a living by doing odd jobs and manual labour.”
Ollie wanted to help, and went back to the City of Joy to discuss Mbulo with the other advocates. He explains “that using mud as cement was a fairly hopeless endeavour, as when the rains come, they would wash out the mud from the bottom courses of the blocks, leading the walls to collapse.” One of the other advocates, Morgan, remembered that there was some cement left over from some of the repair works at the City of Joy and suggested that this could be used to help Mbulo. We loaded up the two bags of cement and five bags of sand we had remaining into a pickup truck and delivered it to Mbulo. He was delighted.
When the advocates found out that Mbulo also needed some corrugated iron for the roof, they spoke to Mrs Mweete, who is a key part of our work on the Zambian side, suggesting that they could all chip in to help fund the roof. Ollie and Ricardo made the trip to the building supply shop to buy seven 3.5m long sheets of corrugated iron, delivering it to Mbulo’s neighbour for safe-keeping while the rest of the construction took place.
Ollie was moved by the experience, saying “I have never seen a happier man than when we arrived with those sheets, he was absolutely delighted and the hope he had was incredible. I hope that by helping him to build a home that is fit to live in, it will give him a basis to start building his life back together, along with being a far better place for his children to live.”
We are proud of our advocates and pleased that their experiences of our work motivated them to make a difference to Mbulo. We look forward to their ongoing contributions to Share the Light and to hearing more about their time in Mazabuka over the next few months.