21st August 2019

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.


Welcome to my Zambia story

It is now 2019 and I travel to Zambia again on the 29th of July 2019. If you read further back in my blog or look at the pages and links along the top and side you will be able to read about my previous trips and some of the people who have become very special to me and doing marvelous work in their own communities.

This is my story about my journeys to Zambia since 2012.

I will once again be hosted by Jenny Featherstone, Mission Partner working alongside the United Church of Zambia. When I arrive in Lusaka, Jenny and I will be heading straight up to Kitwe in the Copperbelt Province of Zambia and Play4All in Kamatipa. (there new building and children in 2 of the pictures above) I so admire the resilience of Jane the project leader and the local volunteers that keep Play4All going and the difference it makes to their local community. Play4All have had land purchased for them through the work of a volunteer from Bread for the World, a Christian organisation in Germany and are presently finishing a new building with hopefully plans to install toilets and some solar power! More to come on that developments. I have a suitcase of wooden toys, Bibles for the volunteers and stuff like one way liner material to make the menstruation pads for girls, shuttlecocks, rugby shirts and urine dip sticks. And a tiny space left for my own clothes, though I may try wearing most of them on the way over!

While in Kitwe I will also meet up with Kabutu ( in the blue t shirt above)who started, motivates and encourages a local NGO called Grace of God Services in Kandabwe. He has mobilised support for them with local businesses and is an inspiration. I am sure the welcome from Caroline and the orphans ( the lady in the chair above) she has taken in to her home over the years will be just as warm as last time. Will I be made to dance again though??? Caroline also helps to motivate and support the local Albino population who face stigma and health difficulties unique to them.

After my time in Kitwe I will head to Choma again to catch up and renew friendships with the staff of Chodort Training College which is managed by the United Church of Zambia and whatever else Jenny has lined up for me. As Jenny is no longer the Principal at Chodort having semi retired she will be working two and a half days per week and looking to set up a new initiative in Choma a bit like a citizens advice service through the local churches and an alcohol addiction service. This bit is very much in its infancy so more info later. At present in Zambia inflation is high, and Jenny tells me the lack of rain this year has left the Lake Kariba very low and electricity for those who can afford will be rationed. Also people like the police and postal workers were not being paid which is all very sad.

Zambia faces many other challenges like poor education, poor employment opportunities, women and girls especially who also have the added burden of menstruation and lost days at school and infection to deal with. I have put together a separate page of facts about Zambia to give more detailed information including the United Nations Sustainable development goals https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/development-agenda/ .

As you can hopefully see the people I have mentioned are all doing what they can to make a difference in their community and I hope I can add to that during my visit and through you following my story that we can all make a difference, even in small ways for others.

I totally finance my own costs getting to and in Zambia. Yes, I will ask for any financial donation you feel you can make to the organisations above as they work on a shoe string. 100% of what you might give is used directly, no director fees or admin costs. I will post another page / list of items as soon as I can to assist in any donation you choose to make. I operate a separate account so if wished you can see the money donated and then taken out again in Zambia. I provide proof with pictures of the items purchased.

What I will ask for just now from anyone local to me in Aberdeen if they have any android mobile phones in good condition and unlocked / sim free I and the recipients in Zambia would really appreciate them. Also a few pairs of knitting needles. Jane hopes to teach the volunteers how to knit and therefore generate some income.

Thank you for reading this far. If you would like to contact me please use the email address in the contact page which you will find a long the top of website. I am in the process of updating some of the pages, but this may take some time!

Thank you and may God bless you greatly

Welcome to 2016

balloon5Hope you have all had good health during the Christmas celebrations and looking forward to 2016. I know for many people it can be a sad and lonely time so I wish you well.

Since my return to Scotland in October it has been a time of sorting out and updating things like this blog and the Chodort website at www.chodort.org . Keeping in touch with Jenny and others at Chodort, Jane for Play 4 All, Kabutu and Caroline.

With great pleasure and thanks to the people of Trinity Church in Aberdeen, other friends and a lady in Sussex I have been able to send another £100 to Jenny to divide between Play 4 All and Days 4 Girls through selling some more placemats, baskets and other bits and pieces from my Zambian collection.

Chodort is about to start another year of classes with 15 tailoring students, but funding still required to sponsor more carpentry students, though three are fully funding themselves to gain their certificates. You can see the happy graduation photos on the Chodort site.
Jane at Play 4 All has been busy rearing chicks to sell on with any profit going to Play 4 All. Please hold her in your prayers on this venture as the economy in Zambia has taken a dive which means people have even less money. The separate page above for Play 4 All has pictures of their independence day celebrations’ in October. Please take time to browse them and see the work that the volunteers are doing. The improvements to the building and new puzzles and play things through donations has greatly encouraged them. Thank you. https://www.facebook.com/ZambiaPlay4All/?fref=ts

Kabutu continues to work extremely hard for the aged in Kandabwe and I have posted more information in his dedicated page including his degree certificate in Community Development. Well done Kabutu for your commitment and hard work for others.

Caroline with the street orphans that she took into her home and cares for also has more information on her dedicated page. The new accommodation for the family and orphans is progressing as money allows.
In Zambia at present the rains have been slow to come with hot dry days in Southern Province where it should be heavy rain, while here in the UK we have had very heavy rain causing lots of damage and flooding. Electricity is still being rationed with supplies cut off for 12 hours at a time in some areas, though I believe there was some respite from this over Christmas.

I still do have some items for sale to benefit the above organisations. Contact me through the contact page if you want to find out more.
Best wishes and God bless in 2016

Leaving Zambia

The new classrooms at Chodort

Friday the 16th of October.
Somewhere above Turkey having just left Iranian air space.
On my way from Dubai to Glasgow and had a few days to reflect on my time in Zambia; however, I will have to finish this once I am home.
It was emotional saying goodbye to Jenny and all the staff in Chodort as it had been a difficult last few days for them. I had said we were to be having a grand opening ceremony for the new Chodort classrooms on the13th October. All the staff had worked extremely hard to get the classrooms ready, curtains put up, chairs refurbished, and all this with the continuing challenge of power cuts for 8 hours daily. Very sadly one of the representatives from the German church coming to Zambia for the opening was showing his wife around the Mosi ao Tunya falls at Livingstone when he collapsed and died. A decision was made that the opening ceremony should be cancelled in respect. What should have been a celebration turned to a time of mourning and all our thoughts went to his widow visiting Zambia for the first time and away from her own family. Thankfully the authorities acted quickly to repatriate them without delay and I have been told since I left that the coffin stopped in Choma to allow prayers for a safe journey back to Germany.

I also have to pay tribute to all the staff for the hugs and prayers for safe travel for me. You are wonderful people.

In other things we just ran out of time for me to get to Masuku clinic for the screening session with the donated blood pressure machines and urine dip sticks to screen for diabetes mostly. There is no form of bus service to there and with the planning for the opening, there was just too much to do. Jenny will take the 2 BP machines to the clinic herself along with the dip sticks and thermometers when she Days for Girls sample packnext visits with her load of Days for Girls hygiene packs made in the tailoring workshop. (In my last letter I reported that I gave the other 2 BP machines, sticks and thermometers to Keith and Ida at Mwandi Mission in Western province)
I did have my teaching session on non-communicable diseases though. I hope it went well and I had to do a little clinic of BP checks with the girls straight after. Having noticed the previous week that the carpenters who were all boys chuckled their way through the session I allocated everyone to a group. Through the group work and them feeding back to each other I was able to establish what they did know about ‘non communicable diseases’. In Africa generally, diabetes, cancer, especially of the cervix for women, stroke, heart disease, and depression are all increasing and these are the ones I focused on for the session. Often these diseases are more advanced before diagnosis is made as health education is poor, communicating that education across the population when it is available is challenging, especially among the most vulnerable in the society. Word of mouth, one to one, is the most effective way because of poor reading skills and / or access to any written information or TV that we know here. In recent years understandably AIDS and HIV have been the main focus. They are still up there at the top with malaria and malnutrition. I learnt during the session that women ‘dry out’ their vagina with whatever they have at hand to make sex better for the man! Example of why education for girls and the Days for Girls http://www.daysforgirls.org/ project is so vital to stop these practices and help young women refuse to do these things and for men to not demand it. I was nearly crying when I heard what they told me. Pregnancy in young teenagers remains very high, with marriage seen as a ‘must do’ for girls. There is a push to encourage young women first into education, then a career; however, this takes years to change /alter behaviours and what is seen as traditional ways. I did find that where some of the students knew about the diseases, when it came to symptoms and prevention they had little awareness, so we had a discussion on checking breasts for girls and testicles for the boys. I hope that my short session with them will make a difference in due course, either for them or a family member.
Almost half way through the flight now and over the Black Sea, having crossed Turkey. Beginning to get dark so won’t see much more than lights from now on and going to stop here till I get home.
Back with you on Tuesday the 20th. Since returning home have had some lower back pain which has been troublesome, probably the sitting around on flights.

Volunteer with group matching pairs

All hands to make the floor puzzle

To Play 4 All for a bit. Some of the donation money was used for replacing the cement surface on the porch area of the building which was not done till after I left Kitwe, though Jane has told me she will post pictures of the improvements as soon as she can on the Play 4 All Facebook page. I Also bought extra locks for security for them and a new pump for the balls. If you go to the Facebook page now https://www.facebook.com/ZambiaPlay4All?fref=ts you will see the difference with the ground from the photos taken at the birthday celebrations in January during the wet season and when I was there during the hot season, when there has been no rain for several months. Jane is also going to be starting a project to raise and sell chicks to provide funds for Play 4 All. Let’s encourage Jane and pray for this venture as choices for sustainable income are limited in a poor area like Kamatipa. There is so much more that could be done at Play 4 All, but this always relies on donations so far and the aim is for it to be self-sustaining, and as new schools do get built Play 4 All would no longer be necessary. Wow! That would be great news one day.

While I was in Zambia the value of the Zambian Kwacha was plummeting. It was about K12 to the pound when I arrived, but dropped to 18 + by the time I left. Where it helped me in that it gave me more Kwacha to spend with the money donated (items sponsored were priced at K10 to the £) it was beginning to bite in Zambia and prices were going up for basics. People were being asked more for rents and those were the ones who could least afford. With Zambia being land locked it costs more to transport overseas things with many items coming from South Africa. The power outages see no end just now and I was constantly amazed about how these challenges are absorbed into daily routine. I don’t know if it is right or wrong to just accept the situation and get on with life or if the Zambian people should be challenging the powers that be more strongly to get a solution? There is an election next year so what happens will be interesting. People were queuing to register for the vote while I was there. Methods used to inform people of things like registering or vaccinations available for things like elephantitis is for a car and loudspeaker to go around the area speaking the message and/or through the local churches.
Before I finish I must commend Caroline and Kabutu to you. Caroline just Carolinekeeps accepting more street orphans into her 1-bedroom rental home. (29 at last count) At present she is building a new home for to accomodate everyone; however, this can only be as funds allow and will still only be very basic. She and her husband Crispin are not well off, and have three children of their own, but through perseverance they have started on building the walls for their new home. As soon as they get a roof they will move in as this will stop the need for paying rent. Her dedication Kabutu and meto others is amazing.

As with Kabutu, he does not know how NOT to share what he has with elderly group he cares for through Grace of God services. He has visited the local mine companies and other businesses to support the group and raise awareness of their need within Kitwe and works tirelessly.

In Dubai I met up with the lovely Susan McKeever from too many years ago at Kingseat for those of my readers who remember ‘Kingseat days’. Thank you for a lovely day Susan. Dubai is very different to Zambia and the UK and I cannot make up my mind about it.

Being back home for over a week now I still feel a little ‘unsettled’ is the best way I can find to describe it. Zambia knocks into touch what you think is necessary for your daily life; however, I am not about to give up on my computer to do things like this. Is that contradictory? Many Zambians demonstrate daily what being humble and joyful for what they have looks like.
I pray that one day ALL in Zambia will get that education they want; That girls will have easy access to menstruation packs and not miss that schooling and that spending the day hungry is no longer part of the daily routine. That poverty and the reasons for it is eradicated; or should that read like a recent article I read, that having less people with great wealth would better share out our resources amongst all people?
To Jenny who put up with me I huge thank you. I believe Jet the dog has been moping around a bit since I left so I hope Jenny is not doing the same! Jenny lives for Chodort and its success and for Play 4 All. AP1040878t times she needs boosts of encouragement so a quick message is always appreciated. We had lots of laughs, especially about what you do when you only have candles to watch when the power is out.
Jenny Is not an easy person to catch on photo so here is one of her as we clambered over the rocks on Chikankaisland in the middle of Lake Kariba. Thankfully she was too far away to stop me!

Please also have browse the links at the side of this to see more of the different people / organisations who are part of who I met or found out about while in Zambia.
God bless.

Just pictures!

Now October!

It is now the 2nd of October and getting very hot during the day now. Cools down to the teens at night though. (Did not finish writing till the 6th though!)
I finished last time saying we were to visit a conservation farming initiative and then head to Livingstone.

Well, Jenny, Bunmi (Jenny’s Methodist church boss) and I went to the farm about 15- 16 kilometres into the bush from Batoka, about ¾ hour drive from Choma. An idyllic spot where Tiens, who is from Zimbabwe and Karin from South Africa originally, have set up a small holding and growing all they need to live by developing a knowledge of the soil to get the best out of it without loads of fertiliser. They have increased yields beyond what is expected here in Zambia. They now want to be able to share this knowledge as there is an expectation here that nothing will grow without bags of fertiliser, which clearly increases costs. As United Church of Zambia has a training farm for youth north of Lusaka, Bunmi, has made contacts to explore if it is possible to work with them in some way. Food sustainability and new methods are desperately needed as is to encourage Zambians back to the land and their villages. Farming is not seen as an attractive thing to be involved in, and this needs to change for the future. I will post pictures separately from this visit.
I also said we would be heading to Livingstone to ‘hand over’ Bunmi to Keith and Ida Waddell, mission partners at Mwandi Mission. http://idaandkeith.blogspot.co.uk/ to see more of their work in health and education. While waiting we did treat ourselves to lunch in the Royal Livingstone Hotel which was superb. Sat on the banks of the Zambezi watching the hippos play in the water, apparently missed the elephants, while seeing the Mosi-oa-Tunya ‘smoke that thunders’ falls. Had to be dragged away once Ida arrived; however to cool off Jenny and I then headed to another hotel to use their swimming pool. Too many crocs in the Zambezi to swim there! To sleep we headed to The Faulty Towers hostel for the night complete with pictures of Basil and family. Eating in the Royal Livingstone is very good value, price for sleeping is scary though! If, on reading this bit and you wonder what I am here to do, I fully appreciate the opportunities and feel blessed at being able to take time out like we did. It is a privilege not afforded to Zambians living below a very low poverty line as it is.
Before Ida left , on hearing of their work, I opted to divide the 4 donated blood pressure machines between the mission at Mwandi and the clinic at Masuku to get best use overall from them. They also got thermometers, urinalysis dip sticks and some reading glasses for which Ida was very grateful, and will ensure the neediest benefit. I was invited to Mwandi to see the mission there, but Masuku clinic was already set up for the Tuesday. However; Jenny’s car was playing up again so the mechanic had lent Jenny his car so that we could get to the farm and to Livingstone, with the hope that it was ready for Tuesday. It was hope, as no, it wasn’t ready, so Masuku postponed for now.
I just want to say how inspiring I found the weekend with meeting Bunmi, Tiens and Karin, their passion for Africa, their passion for what they do and for their faith which sustains them. Bunmi was born in the UK of Nigerian parents, but also spent many years back in Nigeria, before training as a vet. She lives in the UK just now but has plans to return to Nigeria on her retirement. Before we left on the Sunday morning, as it was a special service at St Stephens with visiting choirs and we would have to leave part way through, we opted to study the sermon emailed to me weekly by David Gibson at Trinity church round the kitchen table. 2 Corinthians 2: v 5-11 is just as relevant here in Zambia and promoted lively discussion and left us fed for the journey. Thank you David.
The remainder of this week has found me helping out around Chodort by doing things like taking off old seat covers ready for refurbishment by carpentry and Friday preparing the teaching session next week on non-communicable diseases with the students. I sat in on part of the session on stigma I HIV class this week in preparation for my session.
This weekend we were baking and cooking for freezing in preparation for the grand opening of the classrooms on the 13th. My new Chitenge suit has been made by the lovely Roydah and Abes in the tailoring department of Kulilela crafts, so I hope to wear it at the opening.
As with all the pictures posted from friends in Scotland, we also witnessed the spectacle of a huge ‘blood’ moon here. With the lack of light pollution here, the stars always seem so clear.
Decisions still have to be made for future courses at Chodort. As its ethos is to support the training of vulnerable youths the courses have to be affordable. Though we have sponsors for some students and Kulilela crafts’ profits are to support vulnerable students also, Chodort is not yet self-sustaining, which is its ultimate aim.
I was given a very generous donation of £250 from the Dyce rotary to use in the best way possible in Zambia. My initial thoughts had been to sponsor a student for 1 year here at Chodort; however, for maximum impact and to support the gender inequality where many girls from poor or vulnerable backgrounds do not have sanitary protection, meaning they miss a week’s schooling every month! This is because of having only a strip of cloth or leaves to use, possibly even no undergarments and the embarrassment this causes.
At Chodort, Jenny found out about Days for Girls and Chodort now make the hygiene packs here in the Kulilela crafts tailoring dept. These are distributed through local schools at subsidised price of 30 Kwatcha per pack ( at today’s exchange it is about £1.60) The girls may also be allowed to pay this sum up over some weeks. Having been to some schools on my last visit I know the impact that this will have on gender equality and Zambia in the future. I commend my decision about the use of the £250 to you and pray that Days for Girls will flourish in Zambia. See www.daysforgirls.co.uk for more information. I will post some pictures of the packs made here in Chodort. Also, if all of us women were to use reusable products at home we would save money and reduce landfill. What about it ladies?
Am slowly updating the Chodort website at www.chodort.org and please remember to check up on www.play4all.org as well please.
Please do go to the specific picture pages as these continue the story of my time here in Zambia.
For praise and thanks:
Meeting Bunmi, Tien, Karin, Ida and Keith
David’s sermons crossing continents,
The opportunity and time to watch the hippos in the Zambezi.
For prayer
For Jane the project manager at Play 4 All and decisions about what income generating initiative will enable Play4All to be self-sustaining in the future.
Opening ceremony on 13th; that it runs smoothly and guests from Germany and Ireland travel safely.
Wisdom for Chodort staff in choosing new Courses that best fits it ethos for providing employment skills for vulnerable youths.
Jenny’s car, that it is finally fixed and we can get to Masuku. (No bus service to there, a lorry travels the road once daily if you need transport.)

Love to all.


This Is Africa.

Hi friends
TIA. This is Africa is a saying here for many things, but for me today it is about sitting in a beautiful setting, in the shade of a tree, water in the distance, water lilies on the water, the most colourful birds feeding close by and so quiet we are whispering to not disturb it.

Why am I so privileged? Today is the day of the interviews for a Vice Principal at Chodort, and as Jenny’s boss from the Methodist church in UK is here, Bunmi and I have been dispatched out of the way to the bush for the day to Masuku Lodge which is about 20 Kilometres from Choma. What a sacrifice it has been! http://www.masukulodgezambia.com/index.htm
Back in Choma however it has been a week of seeing more of Choma than ever before as I assisted Mr Mwango to hand deliver the invitations of supporters or board members of Chodort to the opening of the new classrooms on the 13th of October. This meant being invited into the various people’s offices. Nowhere else would it be so easy to get into the bank managers office, the medical directors office, the head teachers office and a seminary. We had to start refusing as it would have been opening day and not all invites delivered! Because ‘This Is Africa’ we have also prepared meals for the applicants as well, never washed so many dishes in ages!
My other activity has been to work on the Chodort website and bring that together. www.chodort.org the profit from the carpentry and tailoring workshop is to provide funding for vulnerable students to complete a Chodort course. These two workshops have been renamed as Kulilea Crafts (independence) and I am working on getting that on the website so that it can be seen what Chodort is about with both courses for vulnerable students, the bespoke products that can be made there and for the sponsors of Chodort.

Saturday we will be heading to Batoka about a half hours drive towards Lusaka to meet with a couple who are doing conservation farming and see how that could link in with Chodort.
Dr Bunmi leaves here on Sunday and we take her to Livingstone to meet up with Keith and Ida Waddell who are mission partners’ in Mwandi, to hours north of Livingstone, where she will then spend some days with them supporting their work, though they are soon to transfer to Lusaka. I had the pleasure of meeting Keith on Wednesday night and hearing of their work there in education as Keith was a teacher in Scotland; however they have now become Zambian citizens. I will take the opportunity to stay in Livingstone on Sunday night. http://idaandkeith.blogspot.co.uk/

On Tuesday we hope to go to Masuku clinic which is the other side of Choma, about 60 kilometres into the bush. Will keep you posted on that.
Just as I was checking this for posting Saturday morning the internet went down! We have power but clearly the internet provider has not. Power outages are still at 8 hours daily. The rotation though the sequence of being off from 2pm  till 10pm, on again till 6am when you are in bed and off again at 6am till 2pm is the most inconvenient.
Jenny was not able to appoint a vice principal yesterday, so further decisions have to be made on the way forward for Chodort.
Please pray for Chodort training centre, the staff and wisdom for them and Jenny to follow Gods prompting on the way forward.
Give thanks for Bunmi’s visit and her support of Jenny and all the mission partners, both in Zambia and Malawi.

Many thanks to you for reading this.

God bless


A month in Zambia

Saturday the 19th of September

This particular post has been written over a week. There was always more to write and also the power situation to have charge on computer or internet or my energy! So hope it is not too confusing for you. I have placed pictures on separate pages for Play 4 All so as not to clog up this bit too much. Please go and have a look at them.

Greetings from Kitwe. Have had two wonderful mornings at Play 4 All after a long journey from Choma to Kitwe. Left Choma at 4.45 on the 9th by car with Jenny and made good time, arriving in Lusaka at 9am. Watched the sun rise on the horizon, and Zambia coming to life. Though there are cars on the road, most activity comes from the many people walking long distances into the nearest town, in the dark to sell their produce or charcoal. The lucky ones may have a bicycle which is heavy Iaden. Lights on bikes are not very common, making it a bit hazardous to drive in the dark.
We caught up with Mr Mwango and Mr Banda from Chodort for breakfast before Jenny took me to the bus station to book a bus to Kitwe. Booked the 11.30 bus which was only a short wait, and as Lusaka bus station is quite entertaining it passed quickly. In the first half hour I could have purchased a whole load of stuff without leaving my seat. After a good view of Zambia from the roadside and very stiff knees I arrived in Kitwe at 7pm! Got a taxi up to the Lund family who are a mission family living in Mindolo Ecumenical Foundation and who I met on my first trip to Zambia.
After a welcome meal and catch up I slept blissfully. Headed off to meet Jane in Kamatipa market and get to Play 4 All for a lovely welcome from volunteers. Not as many children on my first day, but that gave me time to catch up with Jane and show her the first instalment of puzzles and things I had brought with me and do some planning. The climbing frame is in place but with modifications like not being cemented in so that it could be brought in to the building at night for security and not as large as originally planned so I would fit in. That meant a double swing was also affordable. The Basketball / netball hoops that were sponsored are in place, including the portable posts to also take them into the building. The volunteers plan to organise the children into teams for playing. All morning the new footballs were in use though the ground space is less now as a clinic is being built on part of the land that Play4All use which belongs to the YMCA.
There are some changes / improvements in Kamatipa; however it is still the case that poverty is overriding everything, but their spirit is bright and there is much laughter. The Zambian currency is the Kwacha and is doing very poorly just now, prices are going up for basics and when you did not have the money, or very little for basics before it is even harder now.
After P4A I headed into town to meet with Kabutu who has developed the project called Grace of God services for vulnerable people and he brought me up to date. He has been visiting the management of the local copper mines and some mines are taking an interest in what he is doing and providing some support with a promise of more. We had lunch in KFC=Kitwe Fried Chicken! Made arrangements to visit Kandabwe on Saturday the 12th then I headed back to the Lund’s to meet up with Loveness. Loveness looked after me on my first stay here in Kitwe. She has brought up two daughters on her own, one about to finish training as a nurse, but because of health issues now cannot work as before.
Saturday was a whirlwind of a day as I first went off to meet Caroline in Chemwemwe. Caroline has a young family of her own but 8 years ago her concern for orphans living on the street meant she started taking them in. she now has 29 orphans ranging in age from her own daughter Annie who is now three to the eldest who is 19. She succeeds in getting them through school and at present has funding from a church in UK for schooling. It was humbling to observe the interactions and support they give each other and the respect for Caroline. Did I mention it is a 1 bedroom house? Caroline is desperately trying to build larger accommodation for the orphans, but it is slow progress. She keeps the cement bags in her small sitting room to prevent them being stolen as has happened. Caroline has also been instrumental in supporting the local albino group. (See link at side for more info on albinism). After a dancing session in the yard when this oldie was no match for the youngsters I took my leave. I then headed off to meet Kabutu in town with the help of Matthew who has taxied me around at way less than cost of a bus into town at home. Got to Kandabwe where the elderly group were in full swing. Kabutu’s efforts (at great cost to himself, as he only does piece work as a guard when he needs to pay his own bills so he can concentrate on the group) is beginning to pay off. The group was having a talk on the health problems associated with alcohol abuse. A local mine company has started the process of providing slightly better shelter for them to meet in and some food. Local churches give donations of clothing. The communal weekly meal was ready of fish, beans, nshima and greens. Many of the elderly have grandchildren living with them and Kabutu is now looking at how he can extend the programme to include them. A number of children were present and thankfully I had stopped to buy a huge bag of bananas. The children do not have any schooling and they are not near a health clinic; these are all issues Kabutu would like to address in due course by highlighting the plight of the elderly in Kandabwe to local officials. Some of the very generous donation money I have received will go towards the cost of seed and fertiliser for them to grow their own maize which they can then use themselves and also sell some to provide much needed cash and become more self-sufficient. Kabutu took me round the compound and I was able to see at first hand the poor state of most of the housing. Mr Moongna, with great dignity showed me his home. The compound has approximately 4000 people with 1 water tap. Kabutu’s vision of what could happen in Kandabwe has encouraged other local people to volunteer their time. This is to help with cooking the meal and they also assist those who are too frail to eat and have a wash. A volunteer had also donated some soap for which we prayed together and gave thanks for the donation.
Throughout my visit there was laughter and singing, clapping and prayer.
Kabutu then walked me back into town via the market where I bought some chitenge material to have my chitenge suit made up back in Choma and then into the African curio stalls to buy more bits and pieces to take home (sorry Dave and Morag!) On arriving back at Lund household and after a refreshing cup of tea I assisted the lovely Talitha to make a cheesecake with the recipe and ingredients left by a previous visitor to the family.
Sunday was a day of rest after attending the Anglican Church service in MEF at 8am. The sermon was from the book of Daniel and what is good leadership?
Monday saw me back at Play 4 All and more games. The kids had learnt my name and how old I was to treat hilarity; however to have them tug at you and look up earnestly and say ‘I am hungry’ churns your up, especially as most of them would not have eaten before coming to Play 4 All. Jane continues to explore what options there are for an income generating programme in Kamatipa which would also make Play 4 all self-sustaining. Will keep you posted. On the Friday morning a local primary teacher took her class along to P4A so they could play games and football and in return she took the kids from P4A and gave a class under the trees. Co-operation and awareness like this in the local community will be invaluable. I also met with Beatrice, one of Jenny’s friends in the afternoon and Kabutu again. I left Kitwe on the Tuesday morning and to save my knees I broke the journey in Lusaka overnight, getting back to Choma in late afternoon.
Prior to leaving for Kitwe the challenges of electric power outages now lasting 8 hours at a time to conserve energy continue. The working day at Chodort has been changed to work when power mostly available. I have heard many reasons for the power outages and will only comment that it is complex and multi layered.

Jenny and I did have some down time by heading to Lake Kariba a two hour drive from Choma the previous weekend. We opted to stay on Chikanka Island 30 km into the lake. Taken there in a rubber dingy (with motor), which was an adventure in itself. The island is small, only four guests the first night, then only us two the second night, a small staff, the two owners and some animals. It was so lovely and peaceful. No Wi-Fi, its own generator which only came on in the evening and beautiful views of Lake Kariba.

Now I am back in Choma it is on with some baking ready for the opening ceremony of the new classrooms on the 13th October. Preparation for my session on non-communicable diseases with the students on the 6th October and a trip to Masuku village and clinic, 60 kilometres from Choma. Jenny also has a busy time ahead with interviews planned for the 25th for a new Vice Principal for Chodort. Her boss from the Methodist church in UK also visits at that time. Prior to the opening ceremony Rev. David Nixon, the first principal at Chodort arrives from Ireland and representatives from the Church in Germany along with other guests.
Items for praise:
The way the staff of Chodort are coping with the change in working because of the power outages.
The resilience and faith of the people of Zambia
The sun!
Items for prayer:
That a new Vice principal is appointed at Chodort soon. (interviews on Friday 25th.
For Jane, Kabutu and Caroline in Kitwe, working hard to improve things in their local community.
For a solution to be found to the power situation in Zambia.