|Victoria Falls in Zambia, Africa|
Is Missions Really A Risky Business?
An Analysis of the Risk of Working in Zambia
MANY caring folks have expressed concern about our family traveling to Africa and ask about our safety while traveling and living there. There is always risk in traveling to the third world. There can be concerns of political unrest, being targets of crime, health and disease risk, fears of water and food safety, and the ever present questions about access to health care and the quality of which. I will address the issues in two ways: first I will address the risk in Zambia and second why would we endure any additional risk and why we are going to Zambia.
FIRST, what is the risk in Zambia? While there is always things that we will be unaware of as Americans that have yet to live in Zambia, but in the process of doing our due diligence we have found that the Lord has blessed us by sending us to a country that is, for the most part, friendly and welcoming to Americans. It is a nation that is officially open to the preaching of the Gospel and has a relatively low crime rate, except for minor theft, but a very low violent crime rate. It is politically very stable by African standards. While the healthcare system is not on western levels, by any means, they are able to handle most illnesses. In extreme cases, Johannesburg, South Africa is close enough if we are faced with a serious medical emergency or condition needing advanced western style care. If the emergency begins while in a remote area, the access would be limited and hard to access whether domestic or otherwise, so there is some risk in the medical arena.
This is a region that has a high malaria infection rate but they also have significant experience in treatment if such tropical diseases occur. The main way to combat malaria is through prevention, by limiting time outside during mosquito prime time, sleeping under mosquito nets, and taking preventive medication. Water born pathogens can always be an issue even in the city water systems and we necessarily must be on guard to ingestion of unfiltered water or food and glasses contaminated with untreated water, but this is likely to occur accidentally over the next couple of years. We have spent much time in researching the risk, and while we do not know everything in the way of risk and dangers, we have addressed what we know. While there are truly some risk and issues in the country of Zambia, it remains one of the safest, most stable countries in Africa, with reasonable access to medical care and ways to limit exposure to malaria and water born disease.
I hope this comforts those of you who are worried, but if you are still worried or concerned please turn that into prayer for our safety, health and well-being.
Love and Blessings To You!