“I am in mission to witness to what God has done and is doing, and to learn from what God is doing…”
It was always too easy for me to see weakness and need when I encountered differently abled, marginalized peoples and communities for the first time. In most of these first encounters, I saw people, places, and situations in need of God’s help and my help. I saw brokenness, despair, emptiness, sorrow, hurt, and pain. I was always ready and up to the task to offer my ‘help.’ I was ready to be the ‘new miracle’ needed.
However, when I got to Zambia to work with Bwafwano Care Providers, it was an overwhelmingly different case. On my first day at work, I met wonderful young men and women who are mentally challenged. They were in class being tutored to stand in front of a group of people and introduce themselves. They took turns introducing themselves with joy and gladness in their hearts. Some were shy, did not say much and stammered through their sentences; however, they did not laugh at each other but laughed together. Some stopped midway through sentences and they tried to complete these sentences for each other. Others ended up saying much more than was ‘expected’ and they were just equally happy to hear it all. And in this classroom, which I began to see as a sacred space from that moment onward, I saw God already at work. I saw strength instead of weakness. I saw joy and gladness. I saw comfort instead of pain. And the strength, joy, gladness, and comfort I saw and felt was not imagined. It was real.
Being in that classroom with my brothers and sisters – seeing the good work that is being done at Bwafwano Care Providers in this sacred space – I saw young men and women blessed with such ease, joy, and ability. I then realized that this was a moment of transformation in how I see others. In seeing other people as weak or unable or in despair and in need, I actually marginalized myself. How so? If all I saw when I met differently able or marginalized people was pain and despair, I could not partake in their joys and hopes. If all I saw was weakness and need, I could not partake of their life stories and experiences that could equally strengthen me and add a lot to my being.
This made me understand that myself, and maybe many others, we are the weak ones for choosing to see marginalized and differently able people as weak. Even the system around us – for instance our education system – may be weak in that it is not always up to the challenge to empower the mentally challenged to explore and offer their strength and abilities. Yes indeed! It is such a wonderful truth to know, I am not taking God anywhere, God is already there way before I get there! Yes indeed! God has been here before me and even when I leave after two years, I will not leave with God. God will remain!
Peter Tatenda Muzarakuza
Bwafwano Care Providers
GMF International, Class of 2016 – 2018