Today you are a world traveler.
You look out the windows of your sharp Manhattan apartment. The world below looks busy and crowded. People are running about on the street, selling things, dashing underground for the subway—getting in each other’s way. You sigh. For a simpler life, you think as you hail a cab to the airport.
The next afternoon your plane lands on the flat, grassy strip of runway at the Mongu airport. Western Zambia is warm this time of year, but not unbearable. A car awaits you and takes you to a nearby village the locals call the Village of Hope.
Stepping out of the car, your senses are entangled in your new surroundings. Rice filled with foreign spice is cooking in a kitchen somewhere.
There are children, bear-footed and dirty with sweat, kicking a soccer ball across a dusty field. A woman in a bright pattern skirt and shirt with a colorful cloth wound around her braided hair steps out from the largest of the buildings and calls the children to her. It’s time for school to start again. The late afternoon sun shines on their ruddy cheeks. The children run to their matron and she gathers them under her arm and into the large building.
Escaping, a little girl runs across the grassy field towards the home she shares with seven other children. The woman in the bright skirt looks imploringly at you to bring the little girl back. You run after the swift-footed child, by a playground, and finally into a small house. The wooden poles that form the walls of the house let in little shafts of light and the wind rustles softly through the thatching on the roof.
The child retrieves what she was after, a small green bear with the words, “from your American mom, Kathy” written on the side. The child flashes you a smile and escapes through the open door.
Back in your apartment in Manhattan, you sigh and pull down the shades to your bay windows. In your hand you hold a picture of the girl with the green bear. Her bright eyes and flashing smile move you to something, though you’re not sure exactly what. Putting down the picture, you turn and leave the room.
Although this story is fictional, the Village of Hope really exists. Jesus’ Economy’s partner The Zambia Project founded the Village of Hope as a haven for orphaned children of men and women who died of HIV/AIDS, malnutrition, or one of the many other common illnesses that plague the impoverished of Zambia. The Hope Art bracelets sold in Jesus’ Economy’s fair trade store raise money to support the children in the Village of Hope. Now that you have seen the picture, what will you do?