Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Visit with Mavis

A highlight of my trip to Zambia was re-connecting with some of my former students. Mavis Chibbunu Phiri and her husband Louis made a special trip from Choma to see me at Namwianga, and it was a great joy to hear about the latest events in her life—a life that earlier had been filled with challenges and difficulties.

Mavis lost her mother in 2005 during her first year of college. Then the next year her father became ill. In her last year of college, when Mavis was ready to do her student teaching, she found that her father had lost the family's house because he could not work and had no income. Mavis's four younger brothers had been sent to live with friends and relatives, and Mavis had no house to go home to. A friend of Mavis's mother invited Mavis to live with her in return for helping with child care, and Mavis did that in order to complete her student teaching.

Mavis finished her courses successfully and graduated from GBCC in 2008. She accepted a teaching position in Lusaka and found a place to live for herself and her two youngest brothers. She got them started in school again and got them the medical treatment they needed for health problems. Her father died the next year, and two of her brothers were still separated from the family and working on a farm in northern Zambia.

Last February, Mavis got married. She and her husband are both teaching in Choma and doing well in their jobs. All four of Mavis’s brothers are eligible to start tenth grade next year. Mavis and her husband plan to have the two younger brothers live with them and go to high school in Choma, and they are trying to find sponsorships for the other two brothers to attend Namwianga and be in the boarding school.

Mavis and I had a delightful conversation. It is obvious that she has a heart for teaching and for helping students. She and Louis are active in a local church congregation. Even though her life has been filled with problems, Mavis considers herself blessed to have an education, a husband, and a church family. She is confident that with God’s help her brothers can overcome their past difficulties and have a bright future.

As our visit ended and we had our final hugs, I shared the thoughts of 3 John verse 9: “I have no great joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”

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