June 5, 2011

where YOU lead: the walmart of zambia

“fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are MINE. when you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned; and the flame shall not consume you. for I am the LORD your GOD, the HOLY ONE of israel, you SAVIOR.” isaiah 43:1-3

in zambia there is no walmart. there is the market, and the market is a warzone. our nearest market is in kalomo which is about a 15 minute drive from our house, and we go into town once a week to pick up anything that we might need.

in the walmart of zambia, there are no clean and tidy aisles. the streets are compiled of dirt and garbage and broken plastic and broken glass. the aisles are lined with dried, dead fish staring at you or plastic bottles filled with vegetable oil or bags and bags of rice. the employees in the walmart of zambia are the poor, the hungry, the tired, the starving, the weak, the wretched, and the worn.

in the walmart of zambia, i am called “makua” because i am white and foreign. i hear “makua, i like you” or “marry me, makua” on a regular basis. in the walmart of zambia, i am asked my named, and if i were to give it, it would be passed to every single worker in the market so that they might call it. in the walmart of zambia i am followed by people begging me to buy from them just to give them enough money for their next meal, and children approach me asking for treats or any money or food i might give them.

in the walmart of zambia, i have witnessed unimaginable things. in the market in choma, a little 3 or 4-year-old girl held a pistol in her hand while i bought a chitenge from her father. as i was entering the kalomo market yesterday i noticed the man beside me rolling up a joint of marijuana and offering it for sale. and right after that, another man who was drunk in the mid-morning threw a beer bottle against a rock, and the glass shattered right in front of me, right where i was about to stand. he then threatened the man in front of him with the broken half of glass bottle that remained in his hand.

but in the walmart of zambia, there is hope in the midst of struggle. in the middle of a warzone, in the middle of a battlefield, there is a sense of triumph in the hope that one day things will change for the poor, the hungry, the tired, the starving, the weak, the wretched, and the worn. and as i left the walmart of zambia, the picture above is what i saw.


  1. We are following you on your trip and are enjoying seeing how the Lord is working in and through you. We constantly pray for you. Thanks for sharing your insights and the pictures -- both in your words and digitally.

    We love you.

    Uncle Gary and Aunt Faith

  2. Charissa we will be in Lusaka March 11 2012-18th . Are you still in the area? 3 of us. Dr and his wife and me.
    Pam K