Life in the Compounds

As I mentioned in my previous post, last week was a busy one of finalizing churches for the start of the CROSS Project this week, and we’ve also been finishing up class in Kanyama for a church that didn’t quite finish last term.

So, I’ve spent a lot of time going into and out of the compounds of Lusaka. A compound is a township, poor area, underdeveloped/unplanned housing development, slum area of Lusaka. There are many of these around town, each varying in its degree of poverty, and house a very large portion of Lusaka’s 3-4 million residents.

For whatever reason, I’ve found myself in a little bit of culture shock while in the compounds this week. I think it may be that I’ve imagined my family and I living there and pictured Charlie’s face in the baby crawling around in mud. How would I feel if my house was completely surrounded by green water from all of the rains that were a breeding ground for malaria and cholera? I also think it’s because the rainy season makes the compounds look and smell even worse than usual. Even though Lusaka is becoming more developed – more malls, more roads paved, faster and more stable Internet, newer and nicer cars, and more western fashions (especially for women) – the compounds are very similar to what they’ve always been. Only now, they are larger and still very poor and underdeveloped.

To just describe to a little of what we see, a compound reminds me generally of a large dirt/mud field (depending on the time of year) with rather large rocks/boulders protruding from the earth packed with a mishmash of concrete block houses or mud brick houses covered with tin roofs, although in some of the really poor compounds, some of them still have grass roofs. There are a ton of young kids running around without supervision; women cooking outside on little charcoal fires; people talking; deafening Zambian music coming from the taverns; drunk guys staggering around; loads of people walking, selling things, getting on and off of buses; and buses doing their best to sideswipe you in the narrow roads.

Please pray for these pastors and churches as they minister in these difficult areas.

Here are some pictures of both Misisi and Kanyama compounds that we are ministering in.

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