By Beth Bafford
We wanted to write a bit more about our village and why Habitat Zambia decided to build here. We were given a brief orientation upon our arrival and learned some fascinating facts about the history of our village. Here goes:
Chipulukusu in Bemba means “safe haven for criminals” – not exactly pride-worthy. It got this name because around 20-30 years ago, people would commit crimes in Ndola (the closest city) and run to Chipulukusu to escape getting caught. As a result, the village was not well kept – and homes were built haphazardly and with very little resources.
As the years passed, more people moved into the community to live in these homes and rainy season after rainy season, the homes started to deteriorate. Pretty soon this became a much bigger problem as the structures started collapsing and killing their inhabitants. We were told that for the past 10-15 years, around 30 homes collapse each year taking 10-15 lives with them.
This is why the village decided to reach out to Habitat for Humanity Zambia for help. They were accepted a few years ago and Habitat bought 250 plots of land to start building sturdy, dependable homes.
We are currently building home 40 and 41 of 250 and we can definitely see the impact these few homes have had on their homeowners and the community at large. The safety and security the homes provide is unmatched, particularly for those who have many children and grandchildren in their care.
It was this improvement that spurred the community members to get together to change the name of their village – an attempt to wipe their troubled beginnings and provide hope to those around them. The new name of the village is Mapalo, which in Bemba means “blessing.”
And what a blessing this trip has been. I’ve never felt so welcomed, appreciated, and loved. The warmth and hope radiates and I feel so lucky that we get to be a part of this transformation.
More to come, but for now we have to get back on our bus to Mapalo for dinner!