From Oakwood to Zambia

Recently a small team from Oakwood Baptist Church, who support BICC through Connected Church, went to visit BICC Zambia and see some of their work first hand. Read on to find out what they saw...

Into the bush

Testing out the new borehole

As we drove 80 km into the bush, the villages became more remote and isolated. The roads became bumpier and muddier. We saw small clusters of huts where two or three families lived together. The communities were very poor, cooking on charcoal and log fires and until very recently walking many kilometres each day to reach water.

Each community had a small amount of livestock with a few chickens, goats and cattle and grew maize and a few vegetables to live on. Their main meal of the day is schima (ground maize made into a paste) with soup, together with roasted maize.

Meeting the people of Sichebeya

The villagers honoured our visit by killing a chicken and cooking a meal for us to share. This was sacrificial for them as they have very little but they wanted to make us feel welcome. At first the children were afraid of us as most of them had never seen a white person before, but once they realised we were not that scary they wanted to shake our hands and have their picture taken!

Then it was off to see the new borehole! This new borehole, drilled by BICCZ, will supply clean pure water. This will also reduce infections, improve everyone's health, and will save many hours of carrying water from the nearest sources of water - either a school three kilometres away, or the river ten kilometres away.

The 48 families who will use this new borehole have set up a committee to maintain the borehole, and will train everyone in the village about good sanitation and water management. This will be life changing for the over 250 people who will use it!

The shallow well in Sichebeya which the village has been using up until now to save a 3 km walk to a nearby school for water
Ginwell Yooma tasting the water at Kasukwe
Lady filling up her water container at Sichebeya
The shallow well that the community were using to avoid walking for 3km, Ginwell tasting the water from the borehole, and a lady from Sichebeya filling up her water container.

Seeing the difference a borehole makes

To show how much the new borehole meant to them, the community would not begin using it until they had finished building a protective fence around it to stop the animals from drinking from it and infecting it. The villagers also showed us the shallow well from which they had been drinking. It was used by livestock, and was fly infested and open to runoff from animals and humans. The villagers used to stir it to make the debris disperse before drawing water from it and drinking it.

Villagers from Sichebeya saying thank you
The villagers from Sichebeya saying thank you for the new borehole

Let’s celebrate!

We celebrated with the Mapore Brethren in Christ Church, one of several BICC churches in Choma, at a lively three hour service, with Helen Farrington preaching to about 200 people. At the end of the service each person shook hands with the other! The pastor also hosted us in his home, again providing chicken, soup, greens and schima. Our driver, Situmbeko, turned out to be a Zambian Gospel singer, who appeared on TV giving his testimony and performing his latest single!

We were also privileged to meet the Bishop of BICC, Zambia, Bishop Hamukang’andu. He is a member of the Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) and has an office in Choma as well as Lusaka. Over 50% of social services are provided by churches in Zambia, including schools, clinics, boreholes and training in hygiene and health management.

Ginwell Yooma, Project Manager for Tearfund, made a great host and guide and is very respected in the villages with whom he has worked. We thank him very much for such an enlightening and life-changing experience.


Jackie and Scott Sibuns; Peter and Helen Farrington

Are your church connected to BICC in Zambia? Why not go on a trip and see the work for yourself? Have a read of our Trip FAQs and then get in touch at connected@tearfund.org to plan your trip.

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