We have been musing recently what a good collective for coincidences might be. This is a game that we as a family often used to play on long car journeys! And we've had a long trip. We returned on Saturday evening to Mwandi from a busy week of meetings and doing business in Lusaka.
On Tuesday in the city we were conscientiously working our way down the ‘To Do’ list (at our age the written list has become a necessity) and to be honest we were becoming a bit smug about the good progress we were making. We had purchased tyres for the Aids Relief vehicle and various spare parts and were dropping them off at the Beit Cure Paediatric Hospital where Harold and Susan are chaplains. Susan is the former Minister at Mwandi and Harold, a Pastor as well, is the twin brother of Heath, who runs Mwandi’s Lab. A driver would later collect the tyres and other purchases and drive them back to Mwandi in the Government vehicle.
As we were leaving with the purchases, we saw two rather forlorn figures: it was Gladys and her Mum from Mwandi. I had taught Gladys two years ago in Grade 7. Unfortunately she had been attacked by a crocodile at the river and her foot and leg had been very badly deformed from the bite. Mother and daughter had come up to Lusaka for an operation and Gladys had just been discharged. Mum was delighted to see us. She is a self-confessed country-woman who does not know Lusaka. She had been told to go with Gladys to the Italian Orthopaedic Hospital on the other side of the city for a wedge and she was told also to buy a pair of strong lacing shoes (there are no medical boots available for purchase in Zambia). She did not have money for the shoes and did not know where to start to look for them anyway. A taxi-driver had cheated her earlier with a fare. She was dispirited and at the end of her tether. Gladys was in flipflops and carrying a stick, and without the shoes any good done by the operation would be undone.
This is where it is necessary to listen to God’s small voice. It would have been very easy to say, “We’re sorry, we’re on Mission business, we’re too busy doing other important work to get involved in this.” But this was a time we both felt God had put us here to help Gladys and her Mum. ‘Efter muckle focht and ding’ we got the shoes and arrived at the Orthopaedic Hospital to be welcomed unexpectedly by other friends who just happened to be up from Mwandi. They were able to take Gladys and her Mum under their wing. Confirmation through another ‘coincidence’
Other former pupils we bumped in to on the trip: Michael, now Logistics Manager at the Nissan garage where our car is being repaired; Khetiwe, Project Manager at ZNAN, able to help LIMOVADI women with applications for grants; Phatiswayo, working at his father’s Fire Extinguisher business, able to help at the hospital; and, Kanyanta, now a graduate Doctor hoping to come to Mwandi for rural placement.