MEET OUR NEW PARISHIONER
GREETINGS FROM A NEW MEMBER Dorothy Nanyemba Hamahuwa
In my country of Zambia, it’s normal to have two first names: one in English and one in our local language. My name is Dorothy Nanyemba Hamahuwa. I’ll be 27 on Oct. 27th. Zambia is a landlocked country in the southern part of Africa. Its neighbors are: Demo-cratic Republic of Congo, Namibia, Botswana, Tanzania, Mozambique, Angola, Zimbabwe and Malawi. Our capital is called Lusaka, and that’s where the major businesses are located.
I am the youngest of three children. My sister is 31 and my brother is 28. We were all educated via church sponsorships and other nonprofit organizations working to uplift the lives of Zambia’s orphans and vulnerable children. I did not have the privilege of enjoying life with my birth parents, because God called them home when I was about 5 years old. The responsibility of raising my siblings and me was given to extended family members. Various relatives shepherded us, so I lived in many places. Each move in-volved going to a new church. Because I was a dependent, the choice of what church to attend was not up to me. I believe that constantly having to adapt to new surroundings was influential in shaping my life. It gave me the strength to always be willing to step outside my comfort zone and find friends in unfamiliar places.
Coming to America and leaving everything that was familiar to me was the biggest transition I ever experienced. Everything here is so different, and I had a lot of culture shock at first. In time, I in-ternalized American culture, but I have not forgotten my own culture.
After I graduated Macha Girls Secondary School (high school), I was among the few students to be offered a government scholarship at the University of Zambia. I earned a B.A. in Public Administration and minored in Development studies. I then had an opportunity to serve in my community at “Push the Rock Zambia,” as an after-school program assistant director. Push the Rock is a nonprofit that uses sports and athletic instruction to bring children to the knowledge of Christ. My desire has always been to find a platform to be able to give back to my community.
After less than a year, I came to the United States to pursue my Masters in Organizational Leadership at Eastern University in Phila-delphia. This program is designed to deepen Christian faith and its
thinking and leadership skills needed in the complex non-profit sector.
While at Push the Rock Zambia, I observed how most of the children were struggling to read and to communicate effectively. I saw the need to begin a reading program to help children who were struggling to read, or who had the desire to read but lacked the resources and materials.
Here in the U.S., I have spoken with individuals, churches and private organizations about the challenge of illiteracy in my community, and how the reading program would be of benefit to children. In July, with the help of friends who supported my project by donating books and contributing funds for shipping, I sent 650 children’s books to Zambia. Currently, I now have 1,089 books that need to be shipped. My goal is to have the first-ever community library in Macha, Zambia.
The Brethren in Christ Church, where my uncle was a member, served the community I grew up in. As he was my guardian, I had to belong to that church, too. The church is about 107 years old. Many missionaries from Europe come to serve in its hospital, nursing school and high schools surrounding the local community. Sunday serv-ice usually lasts from 10:30 a.m. to about 1-2 p.m., depending how long the preacher takes to finish sharing the message. The hymns are sung in the local language (Tonga). Each week, usually 4 or 5 choir groups per-form songs, with drumming and dancing for the Lord. Newcomers are readily welcomed. They are invited to go up front to introduce themselves, share where they are from, and say how long they are visiting. Before the service at 8 a.m., there are baptisms (if any), plus Holy Communion and foot washing In Zambia, church service can be a whole-day event! The message is preached in English but there is an interpreter who translates it into the local language. Sunday is always a special day because people leave their busy lives in order to be intentional in building community, and building relationships among people, with Christ at the center.
I am truly enjoying my time at St. Margaret’s, and I look forward to singing a traditional Zambian worship song for you at an upcoming service.