On Tuesday, April 9, 2013 tragedy struck the small village of Grippis, Zambia when three brothers lost their lives while trying to catch fish to feed their family. Apparently the three young men were at the sewage treatment ponds where there is a large pipe that the water runs into from the ponds. The fish fall into that pipe and are very easy to catch. They were following the fish into this pipe, which was not large enough to walk upright in, so they entered bent over. The fumes from the sewage were too strong for them, and one brother died in the pipe. The other two lost their lives as well, while trying to save their brother.

No one expected this senseless tragedy but certainly poverty and lack of education played a large part in it. Could their deaths have been prevented if they knew about the dangers of methane gas, formed from rotting sewage? The expense of burying three family members at the same time was more than the Soko family could bear. There was a large outpouring of grief and financial support from friends met through Grassroots Heroes Inc. and We’re All God’s Children. A decision was made to form the Soko/Banda Scholarship Fund using donations received over the amount needed for the funerals.

All contributions made to this fund will be used to further the education of other children living in poverty in Grippis. This will allow small one time contributions to be added to existing monthly support to ensure more children will receive the education they so desperately need to become self-sufficient members of their village. Every time a scholarship is offered the memories of Jim and Brian Soko and Fred Banda will be lifted up. Fred, a double orphan was adopted by the Soko family at a young age. Please help us turn this tragedy into hope for the future of Grippis Village by making a contribution today!

A tribute from one of our volunteers, Lydia Brighton:

Fred was one of my 7th graders when I taught at Mango Grove for the week. He had the biggest smile, and was quite the leader amongst the other boys. On sports days, he was always the ref and organizer of the games. A funny memory that I have of him was when we were playing Net Ball one day. He was lying next to the court with his reffing whistle in his mouth, and we all thought he was asleep, but then he would chime in and make a call on the game out of nowhere. It caused much laughter. I also have a picture that he drew for me hanging on the wall of my dorm room. He drew it while I was teaching class, but I couldn’t scold him because he gave it to me as a gift. :) Fred always could make me smile, and it breaks my heart to think of how much he will be missed.

Brian was one of my frequent playmates. He was such a joyful, inquisitive boy. One day, he and I spent almost a half hour just looking at the map of the world. He would point to a country, and I would say the name. He would repeat the name and then we would sing “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” with that country’s name. I can recall his bright smile so vividly. He too, will be quite missed, I am sure.
Brian Soko

I did not know Jim, but I can only imagine that everyone in Grippis did. And so I pray for those who were close to him.

As I weep for the beautiful friends who are in mourning and left behind, God has presented me with the hope that He is a God of redemption. I have hope that He will redeem this tragedy in a beautiful way. My prayer is that this tragedy will bring unity to the people of Grippis in a way that nothing else could. Join me in praying that God will use this painful tragedy to ultimately bless the people of Grippis. And in the meantime, we continue to pray that the peace of our Lord would pervade that community, and that He would comfort.

In Christ,

Lydia Brighton

Please mark your contributions for the Soko/Banda Scholarship Fund.

Donation mailing address: We’re All God’s Children 243 Buttercup Drive, New Providence, PA 17560