It is Saturday the 19th of May. I will start this update today, but will probably take a few visits to complete. I have now been in Zambia for two weeks. The time is flying past. The sun is setting through the trees. Have done a whole load of things this week and met many people!
Jenny was invited to see a training centre in Choma which is between Lusaka and Livingstone on the map. I went along too and sampled the delights of Zambian roads and numerous police checks. A distance of 1800 km approx. there and back. We left on Monday staying on a lovely working farm called Fringilla that does different types of accommodation. We opted for the campsite chalets at £12 per person with hot showers. Food extra! No air miles for with the food though. Everything is either reared or grown on the farm. Saw the beauty and colour of Zambia on the way, but also the poverty. Traditional thatched houses. Everything to sell by the side of the road. Beautiful fruit and veg; cups; Drums; Chickens; river fish; traditional crafts and charcoal to name a few. Jenny told me no rats were on sale the days we travelled!
Zambia, like Africa as a whole walks. Yes, there are cars on the roads, but many people walk huge distances to get to school, buy food etc. long roads empty of cars had people walking at the side. There was always someone popping out of the bush at the side of the road. Music tends to play everywhere.
Will stop for now. There is and American girl here, Rev Rebecca Jones, whose parents have arrived from USA to visit. Rebecca teaches how to do bible study in small home groups with the college here. A number of the ‘Mazungos’ on site here are having a pot luck supper to meet them. So off to put on some fresh clothes. Feet only washed twice today.
Back again. Monday morning now. 8.17 am. Up well before 7 very day to get hot water to bathe with. Service yesterday morning in church on campus. So many young people here. English speaking service first. People just arrive throughout the service. When English one ends around 10.00 the Bemba speaking one starts. Sermon was from acts chapter 1 and Ephesians chapter 1. Relevant to all nationalities who were there. Truly a worldwide church.
In the afternoon I went with jenny and a wonderful Zambian lady called Caroline (who carried here two and a half year old on her back in her Chitenge as we walked) to meet a group of Albino people. There is quite a large contingent of albino people in Zambia. They have many challenges to get over like beliefs about what albinism is and is not in this culture. The strength of the sun is a problem for them. There is no sunscreen to buy in Kitwe. In can be got in Lusaka at a far greater price than we pay. Many of them cannot afford the bus to Lusaka and have money to buy there. Jenny has been trying to provide sun screen through Caroline to them every time she goes home or has a visitor. I took out some for them and will leave at the end. They are hoping to form themselves into a group to support each other better. Caroline is a very busy lady for her community and also looks after orphaned children. There was also a very colourfully dressed local councillor at the meeting! Aberdeen city council would not be the same if he turned up there.
The Play4All group that your fundraising went to is planning the wooden climbing frame. It will be built with local wood and labour. It would be great if it was finished before I leave. There will be swings for the younger children as well. Because many of the children have no schooling at all they have little concept of basic thing like shapes. They struggle to do things like floor puzzles meant for 2-4 year olds. The work at Play 4all will make a huge difference. It is hoped to build on that work by the community itself running it and becoming self-sustaining.
We were going Maize picking again today but with Jenny’s car still being unwell it is postponed. The group of HIV ladies that we also fundraised for planted a field of maize in December. This will provide food as well as income to provide for their families. With good nutrition someone can now live for far longer with HIV and if they continue to take the ARV medication.
On Saturday morning I met with the volunteer home carers to talk about depression. There are still many myths here about depression. It is a problem here, especially after diagnosis of HIV. Queen (they love there unusual names here like Queen, Memory, Charity, Precious) (the struggle with the R in my name) while most can speak English here, I spoke to them and queen translated into Bemba. An experience to have my words translated! Was hard work in the heat of the small classroom. Air conditioning not present.
Will try to get this posted this morning in the library.