News from Zambia

Missionary Newsletter November 2007

Greetings from Mindolo,

I expect everybody back home is well aware Christmas is just around the corner. In Zambia, things are a lot lower key, cards and wrapping paper have just appeared in the shops, but there are no other signs of the impending celebrations.

The students graduated at the end of October after 9 months of hard work. They had come from all over Africa, and beyond, to train at Mindolo. Within a few days of graduation, the campus was a ghost town as the students went back to Myanmar, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Ghana and so on to put their learning into practice. Although we will have a few short-term workshops and courses, the campus will be very quiet until the next intake in 2008. This year’s intake will be missed, but there is still plenty to do here in the way of preparations for next year’s modules and the evaluation of the new applicants.

Graduates in Kitwe
Graduates in Kitwe

I am also working with HIV positive widows in one of the poorer districts of Kitwe, called Ipusukilo, which means “place of last resort”, or “place of salvation”. I have been visiting every other Monday trying to see if there is any way I can help. All of these women have “dependants” – a catch all phrase for their own children or grandchildren, and those of various relatives or friends who have died of AIDS.

Clean water can be bought in the compound at a number of standpipes for about 50p for a week. This however, is beyond the means of most the women in the group. Thinking of a virtually no cost way of making cleaner water has been a matter of trial and error, and I am grateful for the input of other volunteers in this matter. At the moment we are using heat and the ultra-violet rays from the sun to purify the water. The 2 litre plastic milk bottles are painted black (to attract the sun) and put in a tin foil case – large crisp packets works well- (to reflect the rays into the bottle) and placed in a hole in the ground (to reduce the wind chill). We have achieved a temperature of 70º centigrade, but are running into problems with the rainy season, which started this month. I would of course welcome any suggestions from you about how to overcome these problems, as the ready-made water purifiers are too expensive.

Another way I am involved is to try and help meet basic nutritional needs. We have looked at how to sun dry tomatoes, mangos and pineapples, and preserve lemons in salt. I also try to provide a nutritious meal on as little as they would spend – which is about 6p a head. Move over Jamie Oliver – I believe he was trying to get school dinners for less than 25p each! I have not managed 6p, but I have whittled it down to 1,000 kwacha, which is about 12p.

Thank you for your prayers. God continues to answer them. My crate arrived with everything intact a few weeks ago.

Remarkably, I have not shown any signs of malaria yet either, - despite being by far the most popular person on campus with the mosquitoes!

Zambian Widows
Zambia widows sharing a meal

Please continue to pray that the work I do with those who are disadvantaged will be effective, and make a difference in their lives. If you wish to know a bit more about the work in Ipusukilo, you can contact me via email.

I thank you for your interest in the church’s work in Zambia, and pray that you all receive Gods best for you over the Christmas season,

Very best wishes,