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.

A few snapshots from my first week. the bird was taken with my phone camera so not as clear. It seems to visit most afternoons. Road trip did not go ahead today (Saturday)but we do hope to see a little more of Zambia while  I am here. Means I will bring my visit to Kitwe and Play 4 All forward a bit. xx

My first week back in Zambia.

Greetings from Zambia.

It is now one week since I left sunny Scotland, arriving here in Zambia on Saturday afternoon, with an uneventful flight from Glasgow via Dubai to Lusaka. Jenny’s plan to pick me up on the Sunday in Lusaka fell through as her car needed urgent brake work done. I therefore swung into Zambian life by getting the Mazhandu bus from Lusaka to Choma. The bus station, even at 7.30am was teeming with life that could only be Zambia. The bus was full and took just over four hours with jenny waiting at the Choma drop off for me with the TATA backie from Chodort and both of us heaving the 30 kilos of suitcase into the back together.
As always Zambia gives a warm welcome and I am gladdened by some of the improvements I have seen so far; however, the situation with water and electric supply is dire. Poor rains last year meant the Kariba dam is very low and unable to power the turbines to full capacity. We therefore have ‘shed loading’ which means different areas got shut down for electric supply for 4 to 5 hours at a time in sequence. Midnight to 5 am; 5-10am; 10-3pm; 3pm-8pm and 8pm to midnight. Unfortunately on Thursday we were off from midnight almost continuously to after 11am then went off suddenly about 7.30pm till after midnight. We have cooked dinner with torches and candles twice this week on the gas cooker. While a minor inconvenience to me personally it means that production in Chodort carpentry is interrupted badly and in other businesses that require electricity it is effecting their production and income which is ill afforded. Of course for many Zambians being without electricity is nothing new as they do not have access to it and all the gadgetry I have access to.
There are many things happening in Chodort with plans for how to use the new classrooms top of the list. The classrooms were previously going to be used to replace the present carpentry and tailoring classrooms. However with another training centre now providing carpentry at a lower cost to students than Chodort can because of a grant we are looking at alternatives. One of these is to start a nursing college to provide local state registered nurses. This is at an early stage of being costed. To that end I visited Choma hospital on Thursday afternoon with Jenny to discuss more detail now that we have obtained the guidelines for opening a nursing college. There is a new block built at Choma hospital since I was last here and it was reassuring to see a modern ambulance but probably not equipped to the level of the UK I think it is the first one I have seen. The old hospital wards were old tobacco sheds and after seeing it yesterday I am so glad they have new wards which will go a great way to improving health outcomes in this part of Zambia.
The Beit trust who provided the finance for the classrooms visited in April to see the classrooms and open them, but on 13th October there is an opening ceremony being planned where the partners’ from Ireland and Germany will attend.
Jenny now has two dogs called Jet and Rocky which double up as guard dogs for the new college classrooms and housing estate. They are now one year old and have boundless energy but now also like sleeping on my feet.

We hoped for Jenny’s car to ‘be better’ today and set off on a road trip early tomorrow so that Jenny could take a few days off and both of us see a bit more of Zambia. We were going to be joined by one of Jenny’s friends from Kitwe; however it will mostly likely just be us two. If the car is repaired on Saturday then we will head to Lake Kariba for a couple of days. Will keep you posted on what we eventually do when I can.
What has been the moment that brought me to tears? Sitting with the staff of Chodort around the kitchen table on Thursday morning at 7.30am hearing their prayers’ of thanks for all they have, for what God showers upon them. Will leave you with that for now.
Love Moira

Items for Praise:
That Chodort staff now have the minimum wage;
For the new hospital.
For the hard work and commitment of Chodort staff.
The new climbing frame and goal posts at Play 4 All
Items for Prayer:
Wisdom for Jenny and her team as the plans for the use of new classrooms progress;
For the health and wellbeing of the staff of Chodort;
A safe and happy but shortened road trip for us.

Thank you to some awesome sponsors!

Here is some of the items I have had sponsored so far to take with me to Zambia in only 5 weeks time now.
The pictures don’t include the £400 for the climbing frame which I have already sent to  Jenny for Play 4 All to get started on before I get there.

Thermometers for the clinic

Blood pressure monitors for the clinic

I have reached my limit for carrying any more puzzles but happy to buy some more in Zambia if you prefer to.

I have reached my limit for carrying any more puzzles but happy to buy some more in Zambia if you prefer to.

 Or the £250 from Dyce rotary which I plan to sponsor a student at Chodort with for a year; The sponsored table, building stones, footballs, a weeks worth of buns and peanut butter for the students of Chodort and other donations of money where people have said for me to use where best needed and a lap top!. Thank you everyone. You are wonderful.

I have updated the list of items as there is still plenty to be sponsored.           

Contact me privately if you want to chat about a donation or sponsor an item. 

Selection of reading glasses donated.

Shopping list for organisations in Zambia

Hi, how are you?

Here is the shopping list of items I would love to be able to take out to Zambia with me or purchase once there with the money donated. ALL of the money you donate will go to purchasing the item, either here or in Zambia. You can donate for one specific item if you wish or towards a bigger item. It is up to you. The list reflects the need at this time. If I raise more than the total here then there are plenty other things they need as well! The money will be well spent. I have not included things like fertilizer for Kabutu to sow crops for the Kandabwe group or Caroline with the orphans and Albino community as I have to stop the list somewhere but please contact me if you wish more information on any of the people or organisations.

I do not have a just giving page or alternative. Please contact me via email at  zambia@moiralee.me.uk to give directly either by cheque or cash which I will then bank  for traceability. That way 100% of what is donated goes to the organisations I support. I am happy  to show accounts  of how the money is used and I will post pictures here of what is bought in Zambia.

Play 4 All has a new website at http://play4allzambia.org/  Go have a peak at some wonderful pictures of what they are doing there. 

Thank you in advance for your generosity.  Moira x

The items that are scored through have already been purchased or had the money sponsored for them.

** These items will be bought in Zambia

*** These are approximate prices for now. When I come to purchase I will get the best price possible for the  money donated.

Have a look at the FACEBOOK and new WEBSITE link for Play 4 All and my previous posts to see what it  is they do. They have had two break-ins to there building and desperately need to replace what was stolen and what they have is very well used and needs replacing!

Lego                                                   Any donations of used Lego welcome, even a handful!
Floor puzzle x1                                   190/1452 Argos *  £9.99
Wooden dominoes x 2                        749/3263 Argos * £10.99 each
Puzzles and memory games              194/5669 Argos * £10.99
Netball / basketball hoop x 2                                           £30.00 *** approx for 2
Netball’s  X 6         (2 left to sponsor)                             £12 each **
Footballs x 6              (2 left to sponsor)                         £12 each **
Rush mats for porch X 4                                                  £3 each **
Toys for sand pit various                                                  £32  **
Table X 1                                                                            £20 **
Building repairs                                                                £45 **
Wood climbing frame including labour to build                £400 **
Bags of cement X 5       (3 bags left to sponsor)             £9 each **
Swing – material and labour                                             £45 **
Building stones                                                                £30 **                                               
T shirts for the volunteers with Play 4 All logo.               £5 each (2 sponsored so far.)**


MASUKU CLINIC I will be assisting with some basic health screening there, but they have no equipment. Masuku is in the bush about 60 kilometres from Choma town.

Thermometers X 10                                                          £50

Blood pressure machine x 4 have been purchased  through donations.                                   Urine testing strips x 8  packs of 100 strips have been purchased through donations

For  students -Buns and peanut butter- Sponsor lunch for 15 students for 1 week. £10.00 Have had 1 week sponsored so far. More weeks will be very welcome.


Lap top or similar                                                    Donate one you no longer need
Mobile phones (unlocked to provider in UK)           Donate one you no longer need


Play 4 All in Kitwe




The eagle eyed will have noticed that the pictures below state that the proceeds of sales will go to Days for Girls. Production of the menstruation packs has been halted until a suitable person has been found to provide the education required when the packs are distributed to the girls. Therefore I am giving ALL the proceeds from the sale of the place mats to Play 4 All in Kitwe. They recently had a break in and they had little enough for the children as it is. In order to replace things like footballs, puzzles and games they will need cash.
I will update pictures with the actual place mats as quickly as I can as some of the items below have been sold.

Many thanks on behalf of the children of Kamatipa compound in Kitwe Zambia.


Wall hangings or large cushions? whatever you want.

Wall hangings or large cushions? whatever you want.

Ready made table mats

Ready made table mats

 A different pattern for table mats.

A different pattern for table mats.

Table mats or cushions?

Table mats or cushions?

More for you!

More for you!

More Chitenge material

More Chitenge material

baskets, bowls, spoons and more.

baskets, bowls, spoons and more.

Bags of every description for you.

Bags of every description
for you.

More bags for you.

More bags for you.

Even more bags for you!

Even more bags for you!

And more!

And more!

Chitenge traditional materials for tablecloths, napkins, bags - whatever!

Chitenge traditional materials for tablecloths, napkins, bags – whatever!

Dear Friends,

The items pictured above were all purchased in Zambia by me with the purpose of raising funds here for the Days For Girls project started by Jenny in Chodort Training Centre. In developing countries around the world many girls (and women) have no access to menstruation products that we take for granted. If they are fortunate enough to attend school they then miss valuable days from school every month during their period. Infection is very common because of what they do use i.e. leaves, rags- anything that might absorb the blood flow.

Days For Girls http://www.daysforgirls.org/ is an organisation that aims to improve this through the making of reusable sanitary pads in a bag for individual use. This makes protection affordable for many more, reduce infection, improve educational skills, give dignity- the list is endless of how it helps.

Jenny is using the small tailoring department of two ladies in Chodort to make the packs out of second hand flannelette sheets purchased in the local market. However; many of the local girls still cannot afford the cost of the pack. The pack should last 3 to 4 years and consists of 1 pair of panties, two holders for pads, 8 pads, a flannel and soap, and instruction leaflet all placed in a drawstring bag. Education of how to use the pads is also necessary ie washing the pads and personal hygiene as the girls have never had a chance to to have any help with this.

Money that I raise will be returned to Jenny for either subsidising the cost to the girls or in the purchase of more cloth to make more packs. As always, anything that Jenny does is aimed at being self sustaining in the future. That simple. Of course you can also donate without purchasing anything. For those of you in countries away from UK there are groups making packs to send which you can find on the website or through facebook.

You can leave a message for me here or private message me on facebook or come and see me at home!