Updated: Sep 21, 2022
The LMO children convened together as a family for the first time since the pandemic hit and the orphanage was dispersed. The big event was the "I Have A Dream" children's conference on August 12 and 13, 2022, at the Royal Kutachika Lodge in Zambezi.
Pastor Bernard Lumene kicked off the event with a devotion about making the impossible possible. He used the parable of Mary, a girl who had trouble learning and whom everyone said would amount to nothing. She persevered, achieving the status of a doctor.
Moderator David Kennedy talked about the differences between a job, a career, and a profession. He also introduced the theme of the conference.
Barbara Kennedy then led a writing exercise based on Martin Luther King’s "I Have a Dream" speech of 1963, including playing a 5-minute recording of its most poignant moments. She shared a bit about his seemingly impossible dream to end racism in the USA, and asked the kids to write about what dreams they had. Many came to the front of the room to share their dreams—which included becoming a pilot, a pastor, a big businessman, and to get married.
A lunch break followed, with a catered meal of chicken, rice, nshima, and greens.
Precious, Sola, and Ndumba getting lunch
That afternoon, Hannel shared how he obtained a scholarship from the LMO education foundation for his college tuition—an opportunity that is available to all college-bound LMO college kids by writing an application. He recently graduated with a degree in teaching and is one of the country’s 30,000 recently appointed teachers.
Kelly DeLoach then led a riveting session featuring several guest speakers who shared their experiences in the job world. Maureen works as a receptionist, saying her life was sometimes a struggle but she persevered. There are ups and downs, she said, but you must continue forward. She shared that her lifelong dream was to become a teacher, and she is another of the 30,000 who were recently appointed.
Maureen Giving Advice
Chef Gregory also spoke. He too had a circuitous path, but along the way realized he wanted to cook. He started as a dishwasher, watching the chef’s every move. And when the chef called in sick one day, he was able to step in.
The day ended with the crowd favorite, LMO graduate Brudas Mykolaiv, who was one of the 11,000 recently appointed health workers. He talked about the temptations that can occur at college, and how you must put your head down and follow your path.
The whole group then headed to the market to hang out and perhaps spend the 100 kwatcha each had earned for helping to make notecards that were sold in the USA.
Day 2 started with letter writing, crochet, and some rowdy games of uno.
Then two speakers took the stand. First was ZEL manager David Katombi, another recently appointed teacher. He spoke about his opportunities and how the kids must dedicate themselves. He spoke about the opportunities that the Zambezi electronic library offers and encouraged all the kids to attend office hours. He also introduced the new manager, Karen.
The kids broke into loud applause as the next guest approached the podium—Jane Chipola. The princess of chingilala. She skated how she saw the opportunity to work at ZEL, and although she was nervous she put herself forward, and she got a job. She soon became ZEL manager before heading off to college, where she is studying to become a clinical officer. She encouraged the kids to study hard, and shared how it’s also important to have some fun, but with the right people—those who share the same goals and morals.
The group broke for lunch—beef stew, rice, nshima, beans, and greens.
And then, the big excitement of the conference: swimming in the pool! None of the kids had swum in a swimming pool before—only the river.
We all thought that was the end of the conference and time to say farewell, but one last game of baseball was roused up: Zambezi Nationals vs. Zambezi Yankees. Not sure who won the game, though it’s clear the conference was a success and promises to be an annual event.