A Letter from Linda, Our Founder

February 2012

In the many opportunities that I have been given to speak about Chikumbuso, I am repeatedly asked, “How did this project start?” Yet I have come to realize what people are really asking is how did something so lovely get off the ground.. how did I overcome my own fears to reach out and start something so grand?  My reply has always been “I just stepped out to help one widow.”  It happened through one person at a time.  This stepping out in obedience has got to be one of the best things in my life!  Over the past seven years Chikumbuso has been able to bless and unite a beautiful community of people in Love. It has built women who have hope and purpose in life and in response to this love these same women bring light into their community. Many children have been given a chance to learn and grow and now turn so freely to give that same opportunity to a neighbor or a friend.  As the founder of Chikumbuso, there is nothing that pleases me more than to see how Jesus blesses this project over and over again because of its commitment to do for others. You are part of this commitment and an essential part of the growth and steadfastness of this project. Whether you have given financially, supported us through prayers, sponsorship, or volunteering, Chikumbuso Project would not be where it is today with out your unending love and support.

So it is with a heavy heart that I inform you that I will be leaving Zambia this year. The Chikumbuso community is also my community. It is where I hang out, where I have found friends, soul mates, healing and love. It is where I have grown as a woman, teacher, and leader. It is the place of my renaming.. “Mama Linda.” What an honor.  It is the place where I have come to know all of you and where your support and love has played into my life. The good news is that I am leaving Chikumbuso in the hands of many capable women, names you are all so familiar with – Gertrude, Beauty, Maureen, Jane, Vera, Catherine, Emory, Mary, and all the very capable teachers. So many women and men that have grown through the challenges over the years and are now ready to stand on their own. And my gift to Chikumbuso is that I leave to these women, Lisa Veitenhans, who, over the past year has grown to love them enough to guide and direct them, cry and dance with them.

My husband has taken a job in NYC and Isaac and I will follow him. There has never been a time in my life when change has been easy. I struggle with new surroundings. I struggle with emptiness; streets that have no names, unfamiliar faces, and the general disconnect from daily life that when you are in the midst of it seems to go on forever. And this time is no different. I am fearful but I take heart in a quote by Pascal which says, “Fear not, provided you fear; but if you fear not, then fear.”

I fear, but where Christ says, “Fear not” (John 14:27) I will seek to be alert and trust that there is one more place to step out and help one more…

God is with us wherever we go, in the days, weeks, and years of our lives.

Linda Wilkinson

Founder Chikumbuso Project

Chikumbuso Women and Orphans Project