Day 1: Education and Flowers -Esther Choe
Day 1 Blog Post Education and Flowers
Today, we flew into Lusaka from Johannesburg and went straight to the field from the airport. We drove about an hour and a half to Kapululwe to check up on a well funded by Golf Fore Africa. What we came across was an empowered community of women transformed by having easier access to clean water. In particular, we sat down with Monica, a 38-year old mother of 5. Previously, Monica had walked up to 13 hours to fetch dirty water for her family. Now, with a clean water source a hundred yards away, it was amazing to see how her whole life and family had changed. Monica proudly showed us around her home; she had separate huts to store water buckets and food. She showed us her bathing area, pit latrine, rubbish pit, a dishwashing station, and a handwashing station. Monica was especially proud of her bathhouse. Before the new water source, Monica was only able to shower twice a week, and with dirty water. Now, she says she loves showering daily and joked that her husband even does so as well! It is amazing the dignity and confidence that comes with something as simple as showering and feeling clean. In addition to keeping her house so clean and organized, Monica is growing various agriculture like sweet potatoes, avocados, and guavas. Monica even had a small solar panel to charge a cell phone. What did she attribute all of this to? The time and energy saved from walking the long distance for water. She had time to pursue her passions, spend time with her children and lead her household to the best of her ability.
The part that stood out to me most was when she excitedly proclaimed that she was back in school getting an education. At 38-years old, she was in the fifth grade. When asked why she decided to go to school, Monica responded by explaining she felt unqualified to lead in her village and wanted to be educated so she can have an impact on her community. Wow.
But what was the real sign of success? Monica grew flowers. A local World Vision staff member told me that you can tell a household is thriving based on if the mothers grew flowers. Flowers are a non-essential luxury meant to bring happiness to the home. They were definitely doing their job, as those flowers made me smile.
What we didn’t realize until we visited the water source was that this well of the community was funded by Cheyenne Woods and her fans. As a former LPGA player, it was so great for me to see the impact that LPGA players are making in the world. As empowered LPGA players, they are empowering other women around the world.
I walked away from meeting Monica inspired. She was a strong empowered woman, full of hope for herself and her children. As we drove away, she shouted out a line we had just taught her, “Strong Women, Strong World!”.
“If you educate a man, you simply educate an individual, but if you educate a woman, you educate a nation.” – African proverb