Agnes has roots in this village. She has lived in Murundu for 32 years, her latest home is the most intricate and well equipped that we saw during our interviews. Each room is clearly distinguishable- a kitchen, living room and two separate bedrooms. Each of the beds is adorned with a mosquito net and small accent pieces. Her house and yard is clearly the social hub for other women as well. By late-morning, many other caregivers are gathered on her front steps, laughing and preparing lunch for the orphans at the neighboring site on which LRPI & Enfys run school classes. Agnes' income is provided by a stand she runs just outside of her front door. She sells charcoal, groundnuts, cassava and chikanda (Zambian bologna) from the merchant hut. All together, the items bring in about 120,000 Kwacha a week- just enough to feed the family once a day.
To supplement the income she needs to travel into the city once a month to buy supplies for her shop, Agnes also helps create specially woven bags to sell around the village. Megan and I saw many of these bags being made while we walked around. It's nearly the equivalent of watching your grandmother knit or crochet, except these women weave recycled plastic bags into intricate patterns, shapes and sizes that you would actually love to receive for Christmas.
Along with being a caring grandmother, Agnes also serves as a caregiver to two additional children in the village. When a member of our team asked Agnes to take a child to the clinic, an activity that requires a careful calculation of time and loss of profit to a villager of Murundu, she did it without hesitation. There are rare moments in life that I've had the honor to meet someone so incredibly strong and nurturing. It's as if Agnes has harnessed as much love in her heart as what's usually spread between three people. Like the love of those family members she and her grandchildren lost just swells up inside of her. She is a rarity and we are honored to be a part of her life and, more importantly, to have her as a part of ours.