By Sr Joyce Lorentz
Nine people travelled to Zambia for three weeks in 2008 on a Social Justice Educational Study Tour organized by CJI. The tour was designed to help Canadian educators deepen their understanding of international social justice and to enable them to use what they learned with their students and the people they work with. Sr Joyce Lorentz SSND shares what she did:
One of the many gifts of the Social Justice Educational Study Tour organized by CJI to Zambia was Ignatian-centred reflection on our experience. Each time we were thus guided, our hearts were full: “All that we can offer You God, is thanks,” or as they say in Zambia, “Twalumba!”
A proverb I heard in Zambia, “The dawn brings a lot,” proved true. Each day brought us to a new awareness of the awful, yet awesome, reality. The reality was awful: Zambia, mostly rural, is a very poor country. The reality was awesome: the people themselves are Zambia’s richest resource. They welcomed us warmly and joyfully, sharing generously with us – sometimes of what little they had materially, but always, of the wealth in their hearts.
As I savoured the memories of my Zambian experience, I wanted to do something concrete to “give back” to CJI. I decided upon a Christmas card initiative. With the permission of CJI, I used photos I took in Zambia to create a Christmas gift card enclosure, which pledged to make a donation to CJI, for the women and children of Chikuni, in lieu of giving the recipient a gift. On the inside of the gift card was a write-up about how the people in that particular photo relate to one of the issues we came across, for example, HIV and AIDS, income-generating activities done by home-based care groups, education or organic farming. I was touched by how people read the different gift card enclosures, looked at the pictures, and chose particular ones for their intended recipients. Hopefully, not only were the people of Chikuni helped, but the givers and recipients of these cards became more aware of some of the realities of our brothers and sisters in Zambia.