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Reflecting on the Dark Day
by Dean Mudenda
Not For Sale
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It has taken me long enough to finally compose a letter to express my heartfelt gratitude; for all the comfort with which we (the family) were comforted, in the time of great loss that shook us to the very core of our humanity. But the ‘dark day’ of Thursday, 21st January 2010 is as fresh in my mind as if it only happened yesterday. When I heard the news of the tragic road traffic accident that would forever change our lives, I refused to believe it. It was as if I was having a bad dream. ‘I will wake up in the morning, and all will be fine’; I thought. But it was no dream. Things would never be the same again. Barely nine days earlier, Port-au-Prince had suffered a massive earthquake, which left up to a quarter of a million people dead and a trail of destruction. It was unprecedented! The news of family tragedy was a continuation of a disturbing and perplexing series of events. I had not known such deep sorrow, until now. It churns your insides, robs you of appetite and the very will to live. I had no desire for anything. I could think of nothing else. Oh my beloved!

The cold hand of death wrested three mothers (one of them was also a grandmother) from their families: Doris Hamahuwa Mudenda (mother), Esther Hamahuwa Kalambo (aunt) and Edith Mwiinga. The driver, Douglas Haadinke also perished. There were two survivors, a three year old girl and a man whose identities I will not disclose to protect their privacy. (I believe he has already told his story of how he was miraculously rescued.) The vehicle in which they were travelling was written off. Three months before the accident, I had the pleasure of communing with mum for six weeks, while she graced us with her company in London. We discussed many things. What stood paramount is how she constantly put the welfare of others (particularly her children) ahead of her own. Many were touched in one way or the other by her kind words, deeds and prayers. But that is a subject for later. Her sister, Esther, was also a remarkable woman. Both were ministers of the gospel and prayer warriors. One was a literature evangelist and medical missionary, while the other a chaplain and messenger of peace/ healing.

It was no surprise that people turned up in droves to mourn the loss of these great women of God. But I couldn’t help but marvel at the turnout. It was like a crusade or political rally. The church family and community did magnificently. They lightened our burdens and made the bereavement more bearable. God alone is able to repay them for their kindness and generosity. Some contributed money and others gave their resources. Some offered their talents and others simply gave of themselves. What a difference everyone made, whether in thought, word or deed! News of the misfortune rapidly spread around the world on the internet and a flood of messages of condolences came in. Whether out of concern, curiosity or a sense of duty they came and we appreciated them all. Truly, there is strength in numbers.

I would like to make special mention of grandmother (Samaria Muchindu Hamahuwa). She is widowed and had already lost a son (Paul Hamahuwa). She was bereaved of two daughters on that day. Doris was the firstborn and Esther the third, in a family of eight. Hardly, six months earlier I lost my niece Twalumba Hamahuwa. My cousin, Chase Mudenda, whom I saw for the last time at mum’s funeral died eight months later. The year 2010 was associated with much calamity for many around the world, but more particularly for my extended family. Nevertheless, it was also a year of introspection and deep reflection, at least for me personally. That is the only silver lining in the cloud that I am aware of, apart from the fact that those who were close drew a little closer. I have always tried to live with the attitude of being a pilgrim and sojourner. It was merely brought into sharper focus. At the start of every year for the last seven my theme has been, “See! Another Year Is Gone.”

Incidentally, today is ‘Good Friday’. It is purely by coincidence that I am writing this message. The sacrifice of the Son of God is the ultimate. He laid down His life for Adam’s race because of His great love. The innocent died for the guilty. With great love comes great sacrifice. My late grandfather (Thomas Hamahuwa) was a preacher and respected elder in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. He taught his children the ‘fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.’ Now that same faith has been passed on to the third and fourth generation. As Jesus said; when ‘good seed’ is cast into the ground, it must first die, before it regenerates and becomes a tree bearing much fruit. We have this hope that all those who are asleep in Christ shall wake again. We have His blessed assurance. I wish to close with the words of the famous inspired song by Horatio G. Spafford who, himself, was well acquainted with great tragedy and loss.

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.


It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.


My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!


For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.


But, Lord, ‘tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh trump of the angel! Oh voice of the Lord!
Blessèd hope, blessèd rest of my soul!


And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.



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