All posts by Tricia's Travels

Meet my friend “Wisdom”

I met Wisdom while volunteering with Habitat for Humanity’s Global Village Program in Zambia. Wisdom worked tirelessly with my group volunteers over the course of a few days as we built a home for a Emilia, an elderly caretaker who is benefitting from Habitat’s Orphans and Vulnerable Children Project (much more on Emilia soon!).

One day Wisdom was feeling ill so he left us to visit the local clinic (the bags cement we used to build this home were being stored in his bedroom and caused him some respiratory distress). Despite our protests, he tried to jump back into work immediately upon his return. He was so proud to be helping us and wouldn’t let anything slow him down. Even when he could only “supervise” from a seated position, Wisdom told us that “a sleeping dog is better than a dead lion” – a reference to his inexhaustible desire to contribute, no matter how strong (or not) he was feeling.

IMG_6255Wisdom is 40 years old and lives with his wife, Maureen, and their three children (Justin (4), Susan (7), and an older boy whom I did not have a chance to meet) in two rooms of the house where Emilia currently lives.  The house is unsafe, and has already partially collapsed.  Wisdom’s rooms are at the back right of the photo above.  Here are some photos of the inside of the house where he and his family currently live:



Clockwise from top left:  1) families clothes hanging in bedroom where cement bags are stored 2) leaking roof which allows water in during the rainy season 3) living room storage with family supplies 4) living room seating

Wisdom rents these rooms for 100 Zambian Kwacha per month, the equivalent of about 13USD. The conditions of his home are substandard, but Wisdom constantly insisted that he was grateful to have a roof over his head. He is, himself, an orphan and was excited that we were there to help Emilia and her family – even though he will not directly benefit from the new home.

Maureen works each day as a house maid and their eldest child is able to attend school. Justin and Susan were home, gushing over their dad and full of smiles. Even in poverty they find happiness:

IMG_6351   IMG_6354

Wisdom told me that when his parents died and he had nowhere to live, he had to teach himself a skill so that he  could provide for his family. He now spends his days repairing shoes in the shade of the tree in the yard. His advertising is a small cardboard sign tacked to the tree on the street:

IMG_6344Neighbors know Wisdom and his quality work. There are regular customers but the work is still sporadic, with money for “unnecessary items” often scarce.  At most there may be 3 repairs per day. There are also plenty of days without work. It takes Wisdom about 15 minutes to perform a simple repair by hand and the charge is approximately 1 Kwacha ($0.15).


I’m proud to call Wisdom my friend.  By all standards, he lives a very difficult life. But in him I see a spirit that we would all be lucky to possess. He is determined, caring, resourceful, and giving.  He is open, friendly and welcoming, takes pride in providing for his family, and does not allow life to defeat him.  When I next worry about where to go for dinner or whether to buy that next pair of shoes, I will certainly think twice about Wisdom and his family.


Testing 1, 2, 3…

My first blog post! It’s kind of intimidating. I mean, really – there’s pressure to make “the right” post as my “big” introduction. Or maybe there isn’t…

When I was contemplating starting this blog, so many things went through my mind – not the least of which was “is anyone really interested in reading this??”. Luckily, a wise friend reminded me that the number one reason to write a blog is for your own self. “If others enjoy it, then that’s a bonus!” I like that take not just on the blog, but on life – so that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. 🙂

I have lots of ideas about things that I want to share in these pages. Many years ago I was bitten by the travel bug and have seen some truly amazing things around the world. I can’t wait to share the stories of those places in a way that brings with it my own unique perspective, perhaps even sometimes one that you hadn’t considered. Often it’s the small things that touch you and frequently those memories are lost in the recounting of an itinerary or the pretty pictures of famous sites. I want to share stories of people and places, things of beauty, and just plain interesting facts. I’m naturally curious and ask a lot of questions, so maybe we’ll even learn something along the way.

“Tricia’s Travels” resonates in my heart because “traveling” means more to me than just the physical places I have visited. We all travel through life on unique paths. Sometimes the road is easy to follow, and sometimes there are challenges. The choices we make are a reflection of our past experiences and define our future. I hope that my stories give you a little sense of who I am and make you smile. Let’s enjoy the journey together. 🙂

Enough seriousness. Thanks for sharing my adventures. Check back often for new stories, or sign up to receive updates by email. I’d love to hear from you too – so if there’s something you’re interested in hearing about or just want to provide feedback, please be in touch!