Lessons from a Zambian Road

Lesson 1: Wood

The breath of life is borne by head
o’er dusty roads some six miles long
no tools but those which God has made
to find, and gather precious wood.
Then tortured, crippling spinal crush
of twenty, thirty kilos worn
like headdresses of precious cash
to bring one day’s survival home

Lesson 2: Water

Along a dingy, potholed street
the women wear their earthen crowns
Three hours out, three hours back
and dare not spill a precious drop
Then boil, store, and cook and wash
so children might survive the day
with dirty smiles and happy hopes
that God might one day lift them up

Lesson 3: Reality Check

They know their god and know him well
he carries them on dirty roads
when backs should break and feet should fail
he finds them scraps of food to eat
And we, the mighty, wealthy, few
proclaim our faith and Celebrate
and do His work by leaving church
and them to die in poverty

Lesson 4: Conclusion

This quiet day we make a vow
to turn the tide and find the way
to save not souls for Christian graves
but bodies, hopes, and future smiles
There is no neutral, sacred, ground
where we may sit in ignorance
Impoverished lands have people there
And God judges indifference.

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