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 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.