Greetings from Choma Zambia.
It has taken me far too long to add an update but here goes.
Jenny picked me up as planned at Lusaka airport on the 30th of July. However her first bit of information was to say she had just been told that her housekeeper of 6 years, Estelle had died suddenly in the night. Later discovered it was an aneurysm. She had just celebrated her daughters wedding 4 days before. It just quickly brought into perspective the differences here as Estelle, though her own children are grown up she was provider and carer to an extended family.
We stayed overnight in Gossner mission guest house in Lusaka, meeting a lovely man from Holland who was making his yearly trip to support a school he used to teach in when he lived in Zambia.
An early start, 5am saw us picking up Laurenz, the volunteer from Bread for the World and heading up to Kitwe, stopping in Fringilla for breakfast and to buy banana trees for Play 4 All.
Arriving in Kitwe we headed straight to Jane, the project leaders home to off-load most of the contents of my suitcase for Play 4 All then heading round to see the new sight which is amazing. At that time there was still work to do to put in the planned toilets and shower, but this is now progressing well.
Jenny and I stayed in a local lodge that night with Jenny leaving Kitwe at 6am to return to Choma to be able to see Estelles family though she missed the funeral.
At Play 4 All the next day I was able to see the food programme in action where the biggest pot of porridge I have seen in a while was bubbling away on the charcoal braai. In preparation for the move to the new building and grounds we set about clearing out and organising all the games and puzzles.
This was to the accompaniment of drums and energetic games of football. Play 4 All does not run at the weekend which found me visiting Caroline with Jane. Caroline is the lady in the picture above whom I first met in 2012 after she had started taking street orphans into her own home and giving them a chance of life. At present she has 25 children squeezed into her two bedroom home. There are plans to extend the house but this can only happens as funds allow. I handed over some of the bibles donated from home and Joy, one of the girls wants to be a Pastor and was delighted to have her own Bible. Through other sponsors all of the children attend school. After a pep talk from Jane we took our leave, heading back to Jane’s house via Kitwe town centre and a search of working ATM to be able to withdraw some money. Caroline also supports and motivates those with albinism and is an inspiring young lady also.
Monday was a local holiday so no actual Play 4 All but Jane, Laurenz and I headed over to do some more tidying and sorting, however word soon got round that we were there and just as many kids as on Friday started to appear. More games ensued though no food programme.
The following day I had arranged to meet Kabutu in town, then head to Kandabwe and Grace of God services via his new home which now boasts electricity. (Kabutu plans to marry soon but still has the remainder of the bride price to find before he can do so.) It was encouraging to see the work Kabutu has done and Susan one of the volunteers was busy taking a class in the shelter they now have. This is not a school as the children cannot afford to go to school, however, Susan has been helping them to read and right. Kabutus efforts in approaching different people and businesses have paid off and he now has a food programme provided and just today he has secured a load of fresh fruit for the people of Kandabwe with someone else willing to provide free transport to get it to Kandabwe. Their health has been improving because of the food provision. I also left some Bibles with Kabutu as the people enjoy being read to. Most of the elderly there are illiterate. I later met with Loveness who took care of me during my first trip in 2012. Her health has not been good but she is a very cheerful person and was great to see her once more.
Wednesday saw me back at Play 4 All. Laurenz had his final day at Play 4 All on the Tuesday as his year was up. It was Laurenz’ efforts in fundraising in his native Germany that provided the funds to buy the new piece of land and building at Play 4 All. Thank you Laurenz, you are an inspiring young man.
After a very hectic week and a very early 5.30 am departure from Kitwe by bus the following day I made it to Choma by 18. 30 that evening and the welcoming home of Jenny!
One thing I should tell you about is that Southern Province where Choma is and Western is experiencing a severe drought through very poor rains last wet season. We are having 4 hours per day when power is shut down as there is not enough water in the dams to generate enough electricity. Kariba dam, the main dam is very low. We went to see the local dam in Choma and it is now no more than a puddle. Crops were poor and the cost of maize which provides the staple diet if Nshima has rocketed to more than double to last December. This obviously hits the poorest worst and though there has been some maize brought in from other parts of Zambia it is not enough. There are calls for an emergency to be declared but as some parts of Zambia are unaffected this cannot happen. There are different causes for the above which I will not touch on for now but people are going even more hungry than before. We met with Rev Mutanuka this afternoon who has been to see some of the rural villages near Lake Kariba and he told us how if someone does manage to get some maize they will hide it in cement sacks so no-one knows they have maize.
From September the power outages will go to 8 hours at a time. Four hours are workable but the thought of 8 hours is very long.
That is it for just now folks. Another update and some pictures as soon as I can. Apologies for any grammatical errors as only working on my phone!
For those that have been praying for me and the people of Zambia thank you. Please continue to pray for Play 4 All, Kabutu, Caroline and the drought to be relieved in some way and effective ways of food provision can come about in Zambia.
Lot’s of love and God bless.