“There’s a way in the bush (jungle), a way you kill, a way you smell. You wear skins and cover yourself in plants so you do not smell good to predators. If you are in the bush you must be wearing a knife, spear, and slingshot at all times. It is kill or be killed. I have watched many of my friends die, one by one, from wild animals.”

Do you know the best way to defend yourself against a gorilla? How about the best time of day to go fetch water from a river filled with crocodiles, or the way to kill a python without damaging the expensive skin? Haward does. Haward was born in the deep jungle of Zambia. His father was a hunter and his mother farmed a small plot. His family of 10 all lived in a 1-room mud hut and there was never enough food. “I remember my mother going without food so my siblings and I could eat. This hurt me the most.”

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At 8 years old, Haward decided to stop being a burden and help change their desperate situation. He left home and went into the jungle to hunt. With his slingshot, he defended himself against gorillas and hyenas and returned home with mice and birds that he had killed. The joy on his mother’s face when he returned with food is what motivated him to continue hunting. His trips would last months. While living in the bush he ate crocodile eggs, monkeys, and grasshoppers to survive. When asked if it tasted good, he replied, “Everything is good. You don’t eat for the taste, you eat to live to tomorrow.”

Haward dreamed of going to school but was living in survival mode, just trying to make it from one day to the next. Education was beyond his reach. When he wasn’t hunting, Haward was working as a shepherd and guarding the neighbor’s garden. He stored his money in a “special bank” where no one could steal it – under an eagle’s nest. With his earnings, Haward was able to purchase a special tool – a shovel. With this shovel, he could earn 5 cents a day loading sand onto trucks. There he met a man named Joseph who helped him find his way to the African Vision of Hope School in Kabulonga.

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This is when you changed Haward’s life forever. You provided him a place in a classroom, a bed in the boarding house, and his very first pillow and blanket. Haward joined the praise and worship team at school, and as he sang he was reminded of how God had always been with him. He graduated high school in 2016 and was taught how to repair sewing machines. He used this skill serving with the African Vision of Hope Empowerment Ministry.

Today, Haward is serving on the African Vision of Hope Child Rescue Team. He is keenly aware of how important it is to find children who have gone missing from school, rescue them, and bring them back to the classroom. He knows there is a sense of urgency because lives hang in the balance. He understands the pain of struggling to survive, performing hard labor, and living every day wondering if he will make it to the next. He knows what it is like to feel hopeless.

“We work as a team in the African Vision of Hope office. When we see the children we serve, we see ourselves. It is not a job; it is God’s calling.” Haward shares his tiny home with other boys in the area who are homeless; he ministers to them and helps them understand God’s Word and His purpose for their lives. He is also going to night school to receive a degree in computer science. “I never could have dreamed that this is how my life would go. When you live in the bush you can only think about what is right in front of you, you cannot think about the future. My life has a much bigger purpose.”

Not only have you rescued and educated Haward, but you have also given him a career, put a roof over his head, and food on his table. Because of you, he can attack life’s challenges with more than a spear and a slingshot. He is armed with an education that will allow him to overcome life’s toughest battles.

You can meet Haward! He will be in the USA through the month of August. Invite him to your church, small group, zoom meeting, or business to share his incredible story! To book Haward, call 618-288-7695 or email info@africanvisionofhope.org.