The Uncommon Man

June 09, 2006

Zambia Trip - Entry 4

Blog Entries from James and Steven, sent: Thursday, June 8, 2006 1:54 PM
Photos at Snapfish

From James Arana
As we board the plane for Zambia, I pointed to Steven the beam of lights shooting from the sky in anticipation of our arrival. (Look for that picture.)

After taking a well overdue nap, I got up right on time as our plane found land, mother Africa called me with open arms and welcome. I gave my praise to the supreme creator and my ancestors for carrying me on their backs, and on their wings. I gave thanks to my mother, for I know it is through her guidance that I am here. I gave thanks and praise to my family, for they are with me. Upon getting off the plane, I stumbled and it felt good to catch myself, because I had to be present to this profound experience. I stood, looked around me, and took in the sights, sounds and textures of Zambia, and my soul felt good. Again, I gave thanks for everyone who is present in my life.

Oh, how time stands still when you don’t know where you are going. We stood at the airport entrance for two hours, waiting to be met by our host, who, like me, continues to experience car trouble. And, it was good, giving up the immediate access to control that we have grown so accustomed to in the U.S. And, it was good, to wait and watch the flow of people coming and going. Looking at the facial features that are so familiar to me is like looking in the mirror and finding my long lost brothers and sisters.

The question I am being asked as we meet people throughout our day is, “Is this my first time to Zambia or Africa?” And yes is my answer. And I continue to be welcomed and informed about how glad they are that I was able to make it. They know that many more of our Black brothers and sisters from the Caribbean and the U.S. would like to, but can’t.

After being picked up by Stephen Mbati, we got to experience the pace of Zambia, and it reminds me of being back home in Belize. As we drove towards the city of Lusaka, I am pointing out to both Stephens and Steven the trees I recognize fondly. Yes, in so many ways, I am back home.

Long Lost Son – James

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From Steven Botkin
Waiting in the London airport, we struck up a conversation with a young man from Kenya. He was returning home for the summer after spending two years in college in the U.S. He told us about his goal of writing a book about how to improve Kenyan secondary education to better prepare students for college in other countries. When told him about our work with the Zambian Men’s Network, his eyes lit up. He proudly explained how his friends call him a feminist, because he supports women’s equality. And he eagerly listened as we described how there are many men around the world, like himself, who are connecting with each other and learning how to have a stronger voice for equality.

It is in these simple connections that we plant the seeds of inspiration and build the long-term relationships upon which a movement is built.

—Steven Botkin

Posted by Russell at June 9, 2006 07:52 PM

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