Sunday, February 08, 2009


I have been reading a bit about the recession in America. Crazy to see how many people are losing jobs and it has been a weird dynamic observing this and being a missionary depending on people having jobs to support us here in Africa. I was speaking with a friend over here and they were saying that many non-profit organizations are having to shut their doors because the funding is drying up because of the recession. It is sobering to see how many ministries and health organizations are dependent upon American jobs.

It is also interesting to think about the recession as I drive around and encounter Zambians, also trying to make a living. I never appreciated infrastructure as I did when I moved to Zambia and began to try and make sense of it all.

So, I thought I would show you a few pictures of things I see most every day, with explanations as best as I can (I am not sure if what I share about the picture will end up with the picture where I want it:) It may bring some perspective as it has for me...

This first picture shows how every day pickup trucks can become moving companies. The big bags are full of clothes and are donated for free from places like the U.S. and then are sold to different communities. Last year I saw a Chicago Bears Super Bowl Champion shirt when they lost to the Colts three years ago. All these shirts get shipped to other places. I am still looking for a Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl Champion:) On a side note, it seems like a great thing to donate clothes, but from what I have heard, these donations have actually crippled and shut down textile companies because they can't compete with these free clothes. So, hundreds of people don't have a job because we (developed countries) have killed these companies with our kindness. Crazy, huh?

This next picture is a typical market selling used clothing, stuffed animals and just about anything else they get to buy.

The next picture is a store called Daniels Meat Cave:) I, you know, just think that is a pretty funny name for a business. I am not sure what kind of meat is found in a cave, but I am pretty sure I don't want it.

On this next pic, you can see a bunch of rubber gloves on pipes. This is the universal sign for Plumber. You pull over and then a plumber will appear from somewhere and you take him to your house and he, well, plumbs.

This next 2 pics are something you see a lot of. A man pushing a wheelbarrow filled with something, anything. Wood, barrels, groceries... Just about anything. In town, you see the guys pushing these wheelbarrows and the muscles are literally ripping through their shirts, sweat burrowing down... It is impressive... They make maybe $2-3 dollars a day for 12 hours of brutal labor.

This next pic is a police station, but if you look closely, you will see a tomato stand on the veranda of the police post. Everywhere and anywhere, little stands provide income for people.

The next pic is a bad shot while driving, but you get the gist of it. A stack of 15 or so egg cartons on the back of a bike of dirt, bumpy road..

This pic shows a man carrying a barrel of wood.

And I saved the best (and most brutal) for last... These people in this picture pay $1 a month to be able to dig rocks out of the field beyond, wheelbarrow them in to the road and then spend all day breaking up big rocks in to gravel size rocks. These little shacks are their only protection from the hot sun... There are literally whole families, breaking up rocks, and selling them on the side of the road.

It is indeed sobering how the third world survives and thrives in such difficult circumstances.

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