30th May update

Hiya all.

Cant believe more than a week has gone since i last wrote.
still very hot here during the day. chillier at night so sometimes need a sweatshirt on. locals have their jackets on during the day now though.
Had a busy week with Play 4 All which is the scheme that Jenny the Mission partner with the church of Scotland is setting up in a compound called Kimatapa for the children who for most have no formal schooling at all. it is hoped that the project will be self sustaining by local people and then rolled out over other poor compounds. Newmachar Church gave the start up money towards it and the recent fund-raising before i left home was to put in a climbing frame and swings. the children are bright and eager, but without schooling it is difficult for them to learn in a constructive way.  the play helps them learn basic things like problem solving etc. they love memory games and jigsaw puzzles once they learn they just keep on doing it as they love managing it eventually. it is humbling to see a 7-8 year old struggling. . to put together a puzzle designed for a  3-4 year old as Jenny estimated there is 4000 children in the compound and we only reach a handful of that. Ernest is a local Zambian and he is the project Manager. other than that everyone else that helps is a volunteer from the local community. Have met Rachel a local Zambian girl who has just returned from doing her degree in dublin. she has got a new job here workin gwith a charity to set up schools here in Zambia. She is excited about it and passioante about education in her country. though it will take some time to filter through all children she sees a lot of hope for Zambia.
I have also been back to Kandabwe where I met the group of older people which Kabuto is trying to set up an organisation called heart of care. we distributed the reading glasses that we could find a match for. the glasses were donated at church and by my now EX colleagues so thank you everyone for them. they are very much appreciated. those we could not fit are to be taken to Kabutos church for further distribution from there.
will post some more pictures for you all. don’t laugh though. the older generation really appreciate it when you were your Chitenge which is the material that you were as a skirt mostly but it doubles up as everything else throughout the day. the younger people like dressing up western style. how anyone can walk in 4 inch heals on these roads is amazing! you aint seen potholes yet until you have been here!
Jenny and the other Church of Scotland mission partners form Zambia and Malawi are meeting in Livingstone this weekend for a support time. i therefore am house and cat sitting to Frankie the cat. Rebecca is looking after another dog called Whoolie (i think that might be how you spell it) for another family though Monday and Tuesday as Rebecca away (will have Rebecca’s dog Colby then as well) Whoolie is not yet sure of me and tends to growl when he initially sees me though if wants fed he will realise who is to feed him!
going with some home carers tomorrow morning to local clinic so being kept very busy.
with Jenny’s car still being a bit unwell we have not been able to get back out to the Maize field to pick the Maize for the Ipusikilo group of ladies that are HIV positive.. unfortunately they have had some of the Maize stolen even though it is very far out of town and quite remote. that was to be food for them and income
I am at the half way mark of my time here. walking round the market like a local!

By for now.


update 23rd May, though written on the 19th!

Zambia blog update 19th May Greetings to everyone


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.



Hiya all

Hiya all

Welcome from the library in Mindolo!

Yesterday we  took a small group of the ladies with HIV out to their maize field . They are amazing and do really carry huge weights on tier heads. Got stuck while turning on the badly rutted roads. Had on the all the sun clobber.

Everyone has been so friendly. Was at Play4all this morning. Some of the poverty is horrendous.

Will email Elspeth as the person in the library has very fond memories of a wonderful lady.

Wont stop to upload photos just yet as I think that library closes soon. will try and write updates then upload them

Met Rebecca from New York who is here teaching in the college and there is another partner who is here from C of S who I have not met yet.

Meeting Queen Lutinda tomorrow to see what I do with her. Saw some people waiting for clinic this afternoon in awful states of health.

Jenny cooking tonight

Will end this on now.
all very well here
love All

All Is Well

Have received a text from Moira and all is well having been introduced to several people already. I must congratulate her on setting up a Zambian subscriber identity module in the spare unlocked phone she took with her so quickly

That Is Moira Away

Aberdeen Airport departing the 14:05 for Heathrow then to Lusaka

My cake from wonderful colleagues on my retiral

Cake from collegues

Cake from colleagues

thank you to all my colleagues for the cake and to Ashleigh’s efforts to have a picture of me and Jean printed on the icing, but had to resort to decorating it herself. A job well done.

They also presented me with a kindle for the quiet moments of my trip and a further £140 towards the fund-raising for the work in Kitwe, Zambia of Mission partner, Jenny Featherstone.

It has been such a busy week I have not had any real time to think about being retired. I just haven’t been at work!

Thank you to all who made my final few days in the team and as a CPN so very special and for the donations of nursing books, spectacles, mobiles, calculators, wool and embroidery threads.

Keep up the great work folks.