It’s been on my heart for a quite a while to see girls here know that they are loved and cherished. Girls and women here are truly amazing. Just the other day I was driving down our road and there was this old lady carrying a huge bundle of wood on her head and what looked to be a heavy load strapped to her back while walking barefoot probably from somewhere deep in the bush. She was so lean and so strong.
Recently it was International Women’s Day and I wrote on the Beyond Ourselves blog about just how incredible the Zambian women are. I so admire their strength and courage.
The longer we are here and the more questions I ask, the more I’ve realised how relevant sexual health education is really lacking here. I’ve looked at the textbooks and what is taught in books and through the curriculum. It’s good but it isn’t the whole picture. Also, it’s taboo to talk about this stuff, culturally parents aren’t even supposed to talk with their kids about it! And with much of the cultural beliefs about males and females centres around sex, sexual health education is so important. We have a missionary friend, Marci, and she does this as part of their ministry. I met with her last year and immediately knew we needed to book her in to come to the schools. Around her there isn’t any shame about these topics and she faces them head on.
Last week she spent a few hours at each school we work with. She talked with the younger children in one session and the older children in a longer session. There were a lot of giggles at times but she spoke the truth in love.
We pray Kingdom will reign over culture and that Biblical and healthy world views will start to emerge in time. One thing that most encouraged me last week was the leadership at the schools. These things are very taboo to talk about, and yet at each school, directors and leaders in the school stood up and translated for Marci. These things are not easy to talk about but they realise something needs to change and these topic need to be spoken about. To know there are some men and women in these communities that truly believe in this education, that these topics need to be discussed and faced and the silence on them broken, gives me hope.
This week, on Thursday we are doing a day together with all the grade 7 girls from across the three schools and on Friday we are doing a day with the grade 7 boys. On Thursday we will be running a Dignity Day for the girls – learning about our identity, purpose and belonging in Christ and looking at some menstrual issues as well. The boys will be meeting together to talk about identity in Christ, as well as their value and the value of others. I am so excited about these days and really do believe that these boys and girls can be transformed by knowing who they are in Christ.
If you are one to pray, we’d love your prayers this week as we run these days for the grade 7 girls and boys. Next term we will be continuing with more sexual health education at the schools as well. Marci will doing sessions with the older boys and girls separately to tackle and discuss more topics.
Please can you join with us in praying Kingdom over culture.