About 35 years ago, Kathi moved to Zambia, and almost 30 years ago she started taking in babies into her home who didn't have anywhere else to go. Babies were being buried alive with their dead mothers because that was viewed as more humane than letting them starve to death after the mother and the milk supply were gone. But at one funeral, years ago, a man stood up, said he knew a woman he thought would be willing to help, and that was the humble beginnings of what is now the Haven. One woman taking on one baby at a time.
I met her and her husband Roy on my first visit to Zambia in 2002. My time with them that summer completely changed my life. They had just started taking boys of the streets of Zambia's biggest cities, and I was in awe of the love they showered on these kids who the rest of the world saw as unlovable, unworthy, unreliable,and ungrateful. I thought to myself, Surely I can love kids that need love, too. It was kind of as simple as that. Their example of living out the gospel rocked my world.
After a couple more visits, I decided to move to Zambia and work with Roy and Kathi full time. They had recently moved all the babies they had into the Haven and out of their home.Kathi had so much to do with her own house full of older boys (and girls), so she was more than thrilled to have me come to work with the baby side of things.
This whole place would not be here had Kathi not decided to take in that tiny little baby that day. What started out as her taking a couple of babies into her home grew and grew, and she's saved so many lives by providing them a place to live until their families could care for them properly.
I'm honored to work with her, to learn from her, to be friends with her. She's changed my life in so many ways. Some days I thank her for that and other times I yell at her for it! But no matter what kind of day it is, I'm grateful to be the one she allowed in to take on this task, and I know I'm better because I know her. Happy birthday to one of the world's heroes (and one of mine)!
|The aunties pouring water on her for her birthday, a Zambian tradition.|
|Trying on her daughter's heels!|
|Louisa, Kathi, and me|
|Kathi with the 2 year olds that used to live in her house!|