Thursday, August 2, 2012

No ordinary journey..............

Village women we passed returning to their homes in 
Sinte after filling water containers at the one available village pump. 

On the journey along the main road running to Livingstone, Zambia, we took a sharp left turn onto a dirt trail toward the village of Sinte, a long, bumpy ride, many miles from town. During our 2010 visit to Zambia we visited another nearby village but sadly were unable to return this trip. Apparently problems with tourists had arisen and Toka Leya camp where we stay is now supporting Sinte, a village also needing assistance. A much-needed water source (one well with pump) has already been installed. 

The children were very excited to see us 
arrive and ran after our vehicle. 
The thumbs up sign was popular.

Kim helping pump water at the well.

 Location of the only village water source....
used for everything......for several hundred 
people, the animals and crops!

 Our guide around Sinte was Miss Lillian, who 
is also the elementary school teacher. 
A very busy but delightful woman........mother, 
teacher, guide, living here in the home built 
for her with assistance from the villagers.

Lillian's thatched shower, toilet........

...........and her house.

The one tiny shop we saw in the village selling 
just a few items - dried beans, grains, 
and a few tomatoes......... 

 .........Paula with a bag of minuscule dried fish 
used for protein and flavoring.

 The children latched on to us and 
wouldn't let go.....walking us through 
their village which was large and spread out.

These little boys grabbed Bob's hands and refused to let go! 
Although early Winter, the heat was intense that 
afternoon - we were definitely over-dressed.......

.........but the children were really 'cool', with 
the older girls usually carrying the babies 
around, and we had fun getting to know them.

Two images, above and below, by Paula.

 Lillian took us to meet her Kindergarten class. 
As there is only one shared teacher, and 
one classroom, the children in each grade 
only go to school part of each day.

At the end of our visit the Kindergarten class sang for us.

It seems to be the same story, repeated endlessly by those of us fortunate enough to visit countries where life is so different from what most of us know. I call us fortunate because although standards of living are nothing like what we know and expect, we learn from these visits away from the usual tourist and sightseeing venues, and learning something new is often good for us.  
We become aware........we see that we have so much to be thankful for in our comfy lives, however we also feel that sometimes life, though it appears harsh to our eyes, can still be good when simple, as in a village such as Sinte where time seems to stand still. This is the only way I personally am able to come to grips with how life is for these children who have so little compared to mine, yours, and most people in the western world.

Prior to this visit to Sinte, we stopped at an orphanage on the road to Livingstone. Photos were not permitted. Here they provide a home for many children from birth to age 18. Older children were at school and we only visited the newborns to pre-toddlers nursery. We held the tiny ones cared for lovingly by local ladies. They were clean, well-fed, and receiving health care which was was uplifting.........knowing many were orphans due 
to AIDS was heartbreaking.

A special Sinte Village house - vintage lace in the doorway!

I have several more posts to come about Africa. Leaving Zambia we returned to South Africa. I'll share our adventures viewing the abundance of magnificent wildlife at Mala Mala on the edge of the Kruger National Park. 


  1. Mary, this post moved me so much. The joy on the children's faces when visitors arrive - the simple way of life. We are so lucky here and a reminder that our daily lives, even though stressful, are blessed with conveniences that others can only dream about is a good thing. I don't see an unhappy face in any of these photos. Something tells me that life can be much, much simpler than we make it here in this country.


  2. This is one of my favorite postings from you.. Beautiful children and caring thoughts from you.Thank you.

    I have a dear friend traveling thru your home country right now..Pop in and see it

  3. I love this post, Mary. To travel without becoming aware of life beyond our personal experience seems to me a sad waste of time and money. To travel and really see the people of other countries, as you have done, opens the heart and mind.

    I know that we are blessed with so many material things, as well as social programs to help, but I know that in our individualistic society we lack the sense of community that other cultures cherish. How wonderful when we can learn from each other and help each other.

    Thank you for your link to the comment you made regarding Google/Picasa storage. It was very helpful.

  4. You've said some very important things here, Mary. I've always loved your posts and this is why - you are extraordinarily privileged in your travels, but you never lose sight of the truth - the things that are real.

  5. The children are beautiful! This teacher does indeed keep busy with all the different parts of her life. How special to get to share some time here and to come away learning from this experience. These are the moments that make traveling so special and touch our hearts and we grow.

  6. I just want to clarify Lilians living conditions. Her "shower" is not a shower as we know it. It's a private area for her to disrobe and it has a large bucket on the floor that she fills with water from the pump and then proceeds to wash in privacy. A shower would be the most amazing luxury to these dear people, but what we call her "shower" was really a bucket on the floor hoping for water soon!

  7. Thanks Paula - you were there too and must have peeked inside!

  8. What a fun post. Love seeing different parts, and lives, of the world.

  9. Lovely to see your visit to Sinte. I imagine those children have never seen what life is like elsewhere. Yet, we who are fortunate, are able to have a glimpse into their lives and still some never learn that simplicity really is better. Have a wonderful weekend. Tammy

  10. Hi Mary! Looking forward to seeing you when I return home next week from Louisville - time for coffee? I'll call you......

  11. Thank you Mary, for sharing your travels and thoughts with us. You are an angel to give your love to these people and they look as if they loved being around all of you.
    Julia D.

  12. Mary, I feel that your text really hits the nail on the head. I am thrilled that these villagers now have a water would be awful without one! But, I think their lives, pure and perfect in so many ways, is something we should envy. The children are just so adorable! And I just loved the fabric in that one woman's skirt with the teacups on it! The teacher's home needed a window! But I loved it's perfect simplicity. I'm so glad you shared this with us.

    Thanks for your comments on my posts. As for finding barns, there is some farming here, (I need to post about the cotton farms, because I am from AL and have lived a lot in VA and I used to adore the fields of cotton...they don't look the same here, but we do have them!) And some people have horses. But there are more "sheds" I think to accommodate the horses's needs....after all, the heat here is pretty oppressive--better to be out under a shade tree finding a possible breeze. :-) So, if I must do without barns in the traditional sense (for the most part) at least I have other things of interest that take their place. :-)

  13. My goodness Mary this is wonderful post.
    Like you I would find it extremely hard to cope with the poverty.
    Hats off to you my friend for stepping out of your comfort zone once more to visit this village and meet the wonderful people. Your images of their wide smiles are evidence that you touched their hearts too by sharing your time in such a way.
    You've given recognition to the needs of these children and also acknowledgement to the work of their wonderful teacher Lillian.
    Turning off the beaten track can be a life changing experience.
    I'm very touched by this special post.

  14. Sometimes I think that simplicity allows the soul to know things that others more fortunate in life miss out on. Just looking into the eyes of the children and seeing smiles on their face warm my heart. You are fortunate to have been able to go to Africa. I'd love to be a missionary there if I could.


    I am so enjoying your blog!!!!

  15. Children will be children no matter where they are in the world. Their smiles will always say a thousand words!
    take Care,


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