Please feel free to visit www.chodort.org a new website for Chodort Training Centre, Choma, Zambia. Below is the video from the Graduation Ceremony of December 2013 which you will also find on the website.
I am now home in Scotland and getting used to the lack of sunshine! Had some time to reflect on my time in Zambia. Life in Zambia challenges your senses and your own beliefs of what you think you need to live. I have included some more pictures of my final days in Zambia; however pictures can only tell you parts of the story. I hope I have shared with you the hope of Zambia, the joy of Zambia and Zambians, the hard work of Zambians, the challenges of Zambia and the future for Zambia. I have spoken throughout my blog of the faith and trust that the people of Zambia have in our God, of how they give thanks for the small things. Whatever your faith or beliefs or non, I believe it is why they are such a happy joyful people they are to be around, how peaceful they are with themselves, feel blessed to be in Zambia and so very proud of their country.
I have written about the Days for Girls project to provide affordable sanitary protection which will allow girls to attend school without breaks. Play for All is also very close to my heart and I will continue to support them as well as Kabutu in Kandabwe and Caroline with the albino people group and the orphans she cares for.
I have taken home some items made in Zambia like woven baskets, wooden bowls and materials, some already made into things like bags and table mats. My hope is that maybe you will purchase an item and I will then send the profits back to Jenny in Chodort Training Centre to allow her to subsidise the cost of the Days for Girls sanitary packs for the most vulnerable they are now making . www.daysforgirls.org for more information.
Thank you so much for your support and encouragement..
Last week in Zambia- I do not believe it!!!!
Greetings again, since my last post I can’t believe that over two weeks have flown past. Dave has returned home after we had a very hectic weekend to Kitwe and the graduation for the 2013 Chodort students has passed. Has been nonstop, especially for Jenny and she seems to sail through it all. She drove us to Kitwe and back, met with loads of people while there and still managed to write speeches for the graduation. Phew!
We left on the 4th at 5am to go to Kitwe with a stop off in Lusaka for Jenny to get her work permit renewed which turned out to be a bit of a saga, finally getting to Kitwe at 7pm. Fed by the wonderful Lund family before heading to bed in the United Church of Zambia guest house.
Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday till 2pm was spent in a whirlwind of visiting people and shopping for things for Chodort that is difficult to get in Choma as it is a small town. Two things among other bits were 40 litres of paint and ring binders! For the trip I had prepared the new clerical shirts made at Chodort for display to the Reverends over the weekend so poor Dave had to endure my anxiety about not crushing them during a 10 hour drive in total!
I will post pictures from Play 4 All. With thanks to new Project Manager Jane for her hard work in developing Play 4 All. It is now available 5 mornings per week and apart from Jane is totally run by volunteers. Jane’s wage is paid by the Methodist church and is vital to the success of play 4 all. I made little tartan purses for the volunteers to reflect the Scottish connection and we put a small monetary gift in them to reward their commitment, but also motivate them for the future. With the money raised through the Bring and Buy Jane has purchased drums which have been brilliant for the kids. Some new footballs are on the list as well as they do love their football. She has made repairs to the dry toilet, but sadly bricks are being removed from the toilet, so she is to speak to the council for help in preventing this. From the pictures I hope you can see how much the kids enjoy Play 4 All and though simple in its concept it is providing much needed structure and personal attention and FUN to the children. There is a big push to get schooling for everyone in Zambia; however these kids need it now and we have only scratched the surface of the huge amount of children in Kamatipa. Jenny’s prayer is to open more Play 4 all schemes in the very poor compounds.
We also held a meeting of the Board of Play 4 All (which I am a member of) over the weekend to plan the next steps. Clearly I won’t be attending the meetings regularly though Skype is possible!
I also met with Caroline who looks after a group of orphans and supports the Albino people in Kitwe along with Wendy Lund. The sun glasses, ladies blouses and sun hats I was given have been duly passed on and very much appreciated. The council have also advised Caroline on what she needs to provide for the orphans so we did give her a donation from the Bring and Buy donation’s to support her in this.
I visited Kandabwe again with Kabutu and took Dave along to meet the group. Heart of Care is now called Grace of God services. Kabutu has now been gifted a plot of land in which to sow maize. I have therefor given him some money towards the cost of seed to do this. The aim is for them to become more self-sustainable through the selling of the maize and in having their own supply of food. Please pray for this venture along with Play 4 All.
I briefly met the Ipusukilo ladies who are a group of widows of different ages, all with HIV and left to fend for themselves. After the death of one of the group, Agnes last year, they had 100 Kwatcha left from her funeral. (About £12). From this they bought charcoal to sell and have now been able to increase their income through their hard work and are very pleased that they did not go and just buy some food which would have fed them for the week. Instead they can eat more regularly now for more than a week. As with my last visit the ladies were an inspiration and a very joyful group to be around, if only briefly.
The church service on the Sunday was for the licensing of the Theological students graduating as reverends and deaconesses from the UCZ College in Kitwe. It started at 9am and finished at 2pm. The United Church of Zambia church beside the college is building a new Church, a bit at a time. So the service was held in the church with three completed walls and a roof over part of it! Many different choirs providing the worship songs. The sermon was 1hour long and given by the Rev. Esther Mundemba who was the first Zambian women to be ordained into UCZ and is just about to retire from her church, St Stephen’s, here in Choma where Chodort training centre is situated in the grounds. Her sermon was on being able to discern the truth of the bible and not worshipping false idols. While Dave was here we were invited to her home with Jenny for a meal which was delightful as she and her husband Billings have a whole host of stories to tell. Jenny and I provided the homemade apple crumble and ice cream for pudding which they had never eaten before.
Chodort exists because of a partnership set up between UCZ and the Methodist church in Dortmund, Germany. UCZ also have an agricultural training centre and the theological college. Dortmund have been a major funder for the building of houses for rental by Chodort and from the rentals the training centre aims to become self-sufficient in time. In the meantime Jenny applied to the BEIT trust ( http://www.beittrust.org.uk/) a charity in the UK who has now agreed to fund the building of two new classrooms on a new site beside the houses for rental. This is a major boost for Chodort in its desire to provide more vocational training to vulnerable youths.
The graduation ceremony for students on the 13th was a lot of hard work in its preparation for students and staff alike. All the students were successful in their exams and despite heavy rain had a great day. In Zambia graduation ceremonies tend to be lively affairs. By the time the student has got to the front to pick up their certificate family and friends are there with gifts and hugs; therefore it can get a bit chaotic, but this is Zambia! There is lots of singing and some dancing and many thanks and praise given to God for the gifts and talents He has bestowed upon us.
With the schools closing for the summer break DAYS 4 GIRLS has been quieter, but making contacts with other groups and plans for education with the girls on their use is ongoing.
The rainy season has finally come to the Southern region. We have had heavy rain every day since the 12th and the grass is suddenly growing tall. Has finally lowered the temperatures a bit. A cool 25 today with cloud and sunny periods.
Will now stop as I need to get to bed! Hope you have enjoyed my posts of my time here in Zambia. Jenny is to drive me to Livingstone on Friday afternoon where we will stay overnight before I head to the airport for my flight home.
Please continue to hold the People of Zambia and all countries where people struggle with poverty and hunger on a daily basis in your prayers, but also to give thanks for the humbleness and dignity that they display daily.
This gallery contains 23 photos.
Have just had the biggest downpour ever experienced I think- and I was caught in it! We are now heading into the rainy season. There have been some showers but not a deluge until today. I decided to walk into town and got caught on way back. Got back to the house looking as if I had fallen into the water I was so wet. The thunder and lightning with it was over the top I think. What was a sandy road when I left was a river on return.
It is now three weeks I have been in Zambia and pretty well settled in. the presentation on HIV that was meant to be last Tuesday the 29th was delayed till this Tuesday the 6th.
I have been helping cut and make the packs for DAYS 4 GIRLS. http://daysforgirlsuk.wordpress.com/ To keep costs as low as possible in making the packs and therefore sell them at an affordable price we bought second hand flannelette sheets in the market, but have probably already got the best sheets that is available. I am pondering using some of the money donated by everyone to purchase the flannelette for them. The project will provide income to the training centre to support vulnerable students as well as provide low cost sanitary protection for girls and prevent them missing a week of school or work each month.
Last Sunday the 27th I was taken by Jenny to Gwembe, a small town 1 ½ hours’ drive towards Lusaka for the inauguration of its new minister. These occasions last for hours. This one started at 8am (though we arrived nearer 9am). We left at 2pm to return to Choma. Bit different to what I have seen in Scotland. Whole congregations from around get together to give gifts to support the minster. That includes furniture, animals’, bottles of oil; whatever the person or village can afford and they dance and sing in long queues present the gifts. There was then food for everyone (several hundred people) consisting of bits of chicken, beef and fish, with Nshima and cabbage, all then eaten with one hand. Saves on the cutlery! I will post pictures of the service and videos when I get that bit worked out!
There is a new volunteer arriving at Chodort today from England. Jenny has gone to pick him up in Lusaka. He will be working on the building plot to manage it for now. As yet I have not been laying bricks but have been to the plot several times. Funnily enough the men here tend to think a woman my age won’t be strong enough to lift things. Not sure whether to take umbrage or happily let them get on with it. The comment was I could have done so a few years ago when I was younger! The house plots once all are built and rented should hopefully make the training centre self-sufficient. That is probably still a few years away though. Most of the work is done by hand with no fancy machinery and with the heat it is slow work. They were rushing on Friday to finish the foundations of two houses before the rainy season really gets under way.
Electric supply still tends to be a bit erratic. Has gone off several times this week. Ok for us during the day. The elderly sewing machines at Chodort have motors on them, but if electric stops they just switch back to the treadle or hand.
Now dark outside and the different insects are having a ball out there now the rain has stopped. When I went to put jenny’s chickens in there wee house for the night there was frogs jumping around the garden with the rain (Jenny found one on her bed one morning!) the tiny bats also come out. She previously had a frog in her toilet that was loath to come out.
The service this morning at St Stephens’s church was titled the ‘Lord Of Nations’
With the readings from Isaiah 40:12-26, Ephesians 1:13-23 and Mark 12:13-17.
Very lively. Most of the service is spoken/ sung in English with some in Tonga language. We sang ‘Give me oil in my lamp’ at the beginning then ‘trust and obey’ at the end. The choir sings during the service.
Now well into the evening so will stop and upload this to blog along with some pictures I hope.
Discussions below on Days For Girls
Greetings from Zambia
I have written this piece over the last week as my efforts on to post have been thwarted several times. I also lost a bit I wrote on word and I bet it was the best I have ever written! Will condense things a bit so as not to make it boring!
I am coming to the end of my first full day in Zambia. It is good to be back! The colour and noise could only be in Zambia. From the birds that woke me from my slumber and the jacaranda trees to the trucks and the music of the town centre of Choma.
It has been hot hot hot! Shade and lots of water is the priorities.
Had a warm welcome back from several people at Chodort College from my last flying trip with Jenny in 2012.
Was up by 6.30 am after a restful sleep then a short service at 8am in St Stephens’s church where Chodort is situated. The service is weekly on a Tuesday. The three college classes all have to sing in their respective classes. The sermon was based on Paul and on knowing what your identity is in Christ. Mostly using verses from the book of Acts.
I then joined two staff meetings at Chodort. This took up the morning. Will be doing some office work for Jenny to allow her to catch up with the amount of work her role demands of her. She has been at Chodort for a year now but this also includes her three month trip back to the UK this year.
The pictures in the previous post show two of the ladies producing crafts for income to the college to then subsidise students. The Days For Girls is a new initiative by the college. Many African girls miss a week off schooling every month because they have no sanitary protection available to them that they can afford when they menstruate. The reusable pads made into packs changes that. The extra schooling they will have will make a difference as well as the dignity they will be afforded and yet so simple. Go to http://daysforgirlsuk.wordpress.com/ for more information. Olipah usually works with Tizah tied on her back with her chitenge to allow Olipah to work to support the family. The pictures were taken just after lunch break which is why she is just holding her.
I first met Kabutu in Kitwe last year. His organisation was Called Heart of Care then. He has since got it registered as Grace of God services for vulnerable people. It is in Kandabwe compound in Kitwe and though I visited several compounds last year, Kandabwe was the one that hit me most because of the poverty and lack of any service. Many of the people are elderly, with health problems taking over, yet in the last year Kabutu has managed to motivate them to become involved in initiatives. They have a community meal weekly with activities. He is also planning micro loans to generate income for them. He also gets donations from local businesses’ and churches in Kitwe. He visited here in Choma for the weekend as he plans to apply to other charities for assistance with a community centre. Their housing is dire with some of them homeless, though the difference in having a home or not is minuscule. He hopes to get land for a veggie garden to sell veg as well as provide food to eat. If that happens and is viable some of the money raised will go to this.
Most days it has been mid-thirties for the temperature. At 06.30 it is about 21 degrees. Water is precious as coming to the end of dry season. Jenny has a well in garden, but it needs to be dug deeper. Today the 22nd we have just had a thunder storm with the first rains of season. Hot and humid all morning. Rain has cleared and sunny again and fresher. Only 29 degrees at 5pm.
This morning I became a student again and joined the classes for the HIV education. The students range in age from teens through twenties mostly. I passed the age barrier today. HIV remains a huge problem though infection rates and mother to baby infection is reducing it will take generations before the effect of it disappears, because of the lost generations to families and amount of orphans because of it. Today it was positive living. The last class is next week and yours truly has been roped into presenting that one on palliative care. They did have a nurse from the local hospice but it is now closed because of lack of funding and Jenny kindly volunteered me! By the end of the course they hope the students will have taken on board how to stop further HIV infections through education. . The speakers’ today will give me some more info as care in Zambia is different to Scotland though the principles are the same. The class will obviously have its fair share of jokers going by today’s class.
I have now been here for 8 days and thoroughly enjoying the challenge.
It is Independence Day here in Zambia this Thursday the 24th and a holiday for all. Jenny keen to go to Livingstone and swim in the pools of water at the top of the Mosi O Tunya (Victoria Falls) that is only safe to do so in the dry season. That may not happen as her other house guest from Sweden has a touch of malaria. Don’t worry; Jenny will do that on her own if we get there!
I see the internet is on again. Now 9.15pm so will try and post this now. thunder still rumbling around with lightning in distance. Bye for now.