My Vote for Mother of the Year

by Marsha Winsryg

The Story of the Woman with 14 Orphans

14  zambian orphans of Dorothy Bwalya
Dorothy Bwalya was a Franciscan Sister in Zambia for 18 years. Internal politics drove her away and when she quit, her family disowned and shunned her. Years later, her siblings began to die of AIDS and other causes and Dorothy began to take in the orphans.
With very little income as a teacher at a vocational school, she has tried to provide for them, but with 14 now, many of them with health problems, it has become impossible.
I am going to write her story in the days leading up to Mother’s Day hoping that some of you out there will recognize her hero Mother status and help me raise money for her to rent a house with more than 2 rooms and eventually become an accredited orphanage.
Stay tuned.


No Aids test without unwilling father

No AIDS test without absentee father

Peggy’s family lives on a huge plantation in Zambia in substandard housing, no transportation and under feudal and oppressive rules of the owners and managers. For three years she and her younger brother were unable to go to school because they could not afford the bus fare. For eight months the AACDP provided a tutor to help Peggy catch up to her grade level.

Then she became pregnant.

The father of her child, a young man living on the farm, refuses to acknowledge any responsibility, not surprisingly. But worse than this, he will not accompany her to be tested for HIV/AIDS. And the doctors will not test her without his presence. So she can’t find out her baby’s status which, if positive, can be benefit from treatment before, during and after birth.

AIDS  awareness has become widely advertised in Zambia.

Zamia Discusses HIV/AIDS, but numbers  increase

Zambia is talking about HIV/AIDS

But terrible, life-threatening stigmas are widespread and the disease continues wipe out the middle generations, leaving children in the care of their grandparents. Retrovirals are available to a small percentage on the infected, despite their global availability and lowered costs. So a young man refuses to get tested and  a young woman cannot discover her own status. Whatever the reasoning behind this system, who suffers? The mother and, ultimately, the baby.


Sounds of Jack Mwanapapa

I came to Jack Mwanapapa in late January of this year to visit the family of my friend and assistant in Lusaka, Sydney Mwamba. It is, by far, the most beautiful place I have been in this rural area of southern Zambia.,  Nearing our destination we passed two small boys driving an oxcart and crossed a lovely winding river as we entered the village in our taxi. There are no gas powered vehicles here and no electricity.

Small flower gardens and tall shade trees intersperse the little round mud houses that cluster about a central open space where meetings are held and the children play soccer. I was taken to see their orchards of banana and citrus, mango and papaya and followed a twisting path flanked by small fields of corn and pumpkin, cucumbers, peanuts and peppers. The ambient sounds were peepers, cicadas, birdsong and the children’s voices in the distance.

Though not wealthy, these folks have everything they need to feed, house and clothe themselves. They have a system of volunteers who care for those with AIDS in their community, visiting and feeding them daily, and riding them by bicycle into Livingstone, a very long trip on dirt roads, once a week.