News from Zambia

Missionary Newsletter August 2010

Dear Church friends,

On August 1st, I saw my first swallow of the season. I think he was a bit enthusiastic as I seem to remember that swallows do not start lining up on the telephone wires for the long haul from the UK until the end of this month; however he will be able to monopolise the mosquitoes for a few weeks to come. I too can also be thankful for Zambia's bounty. My garden is producing tomatoes by the kilo; lots given away and still enough for tomato soup, tomato ketchup and tomato jam (yes tomato jam!).

In the compounds, both the groups in Kamatipa and Ipusukilo have made good use of the money they raised from selling their greetings cards when I was in the UK. They have started small projects individually or in small groups, selling charcoal, cooking oil, buns etc and are making a little profit, although business is slow in some cases.

Chatting to some of the kids from Kamatipa
Chatting to some of the kids from Kamatipa

I have recently held a couple of workshops with them to get people more interested in using soya, as it is cheap and nutritious. A bag of soya pieces costs about 25p and will easily provide enough protein for a family of 5; Thobwa (a thick soya and maize drink) works out at around 10p a 250ml glass and has 1,000 calories, so is good both for kids and adults who need energy.

I am happy to report that I have been given a site for a playground project in Kamatipa. The Afrieagles local football team have said I can use a 25 x 75 meter strip of land behind their goal post and I am just waiting for the paperwork to be finalised with the council then we can begin clearing the land and building a shed. I have been thinking of this for some time. Kamatipa is full of vulnerable children, about half of whom cannot afford the uniforms and books needed to go to school. They are a sad sight as they wander unsupervised round the streets all day. I am hoping to make a safe area for them to play, perhaps with a play worker and volunteers who can teach board games like drafts and coach team games as well as read to the young ones or do some creative crafts. When things are well established, I would also like to involve the local clinic and start a regular nutrition programme using something like Thobwa (as mentioned above). A 500 calorie drink x 3 a week would cost less than 50p per child and provided on a regular basis would do a lot to compensate for their poor nutrition.

Watching Afrieagles play from the sidelines
Watching Afrieagles play from the sidelines

Last month, I visited the farm orphans who live about an hour away, with the Rev Judith Nkondo a UCZ minister from Luanshwa. She has been very successful in getting vulnerable groups to raise chickens for an income and she came with me to look at an income generating plan for Gladys and the 20+ orphans on the farm. We decided that egg production would be their best option and together, they are making plans to build a hen house for 50 chickens. This should produce enough for a stable income for them of around £50 a week if Gladys can find a market for all the eggs. Many thanks are due to Rev Judith for fitting us into her very busy schedule.

On a more sombre note, the financial problems still continue at MEF and workers are being laid off nearly every month as their contracts come to an end. Some have been here for many years, and with unemployment now nearing 50% many of our unskilled workers will have little opportunity for jobs. Our director for the past 3 years, Rev Daka left at the end of last month too, and MEF is in limbo awaiting the appointment of another director. Meanwhile, there is talk of selling of the prime farming land MEF owns at Kalalushi in order to service the debts and to contribute towards the remaining workers wages.

Items for praise

  • For Rev. Nkondo & her church as they give their time, advice and support to the farm orphans
  • For the effort the compound groups are putting into their small scale income generation projects
  • For a good prospective site for playground, and for the commitment from Ernest Salaka to manage the project from September.

Items for Prayer

  • For Rev Daka, and all the other workers who have lost their jobs, as they face the challenges of life away from Mindolo
  • That the board will find a director with suitable skills to effect a recovery at Mindolo<
  • For enthusiasm and success for the egg laying project on the farm near Luanshwa.
  • For the paperwork for the playground to go smoothly, and for the project to have good community support from the localpeople.
  • For all the families who cannot afford to send their children to school.

With every good wish to you all,

Assistance from Bennochy Parish Church

In response to Jennys requests we have been able to assist in a number of way. These are:

  • PRAYER - the Prayer Group regularly hold the work on the ground in prayer and the health and energies of Jenny herself. We, as a congregation, can do likewise in our hearts.
  • FINANCE - in a general way, such as a retiral collection on a special occasion. This money can be sent direct to Jenny‟s Fund to be used at her discretion in cases of dire need.
  • In a Particular Way - such as a practical suggestion from Jenny, as we have done in the past, with wool, embroidery threads for craft stalls, and the purchase of sewing machines and payment of seamstress courses, now, apparently, trickling down to other volunteers.

Here is a a splendid example of this during the month of August:- During her visit here in May, Jenny mentioned the local youth football teams, all very enthusiastic and keenly practising - as here. The 17 year olds play in shoes but not so the 14 year olds, and one team shares 2 football strips for whoever is in a photo …

So, thanks to John Methven, who retrieved football strips and shorts of old times, also acquiring brand new ones, thanks to Dianne Waddell who washed and mended where necessary and with Rhona Trail worked towards funding the hefty postage. Margaret Simpson was able to deliver the 3 parcels to 121 George Street, Edinburgh and hand over the large bag with contents:-

  • 7 blue and white vertical striped tops 1 kilo 120 gms.
  • 10 red/white vertical striped tops 1 kilo 500 gms.
  • 1 black Celtic goalie top 200 gms.
  • 5 pairs of shorts, used, 14 pairs new 2 kilos 180 gms.

Margaret Simpson then met with Mrs Chinembiri, World Rep for Africa, fairly new in the job, and happy to travel 'light' on her first visit to Zambia, and will take the bag and entire load as separate luggage. A blessing indeed!

The kits were well received and very happily so with the girls' football team modelling the tops and shorts! Jenny has asked the coach to price football boots and is prepared to take action.

November Update

The football shirts have now arrived and we've been sent some pictures of their arrival. They were sent by Jennie Chinembiri who says "We were unable to see the whole team to get a picture but I was able to get some pictures of the coach receiving the strips and one of the players in the top.  They were thrilled to receive the strips and very proud.  The girls didn't want to take them off.  They loved the colours and felt that this would make them really professional".

Arrival of St. Johns Football Shirts
Arrival of St. Johns Football Shirts
Arrival of St. Johns Football Shirts
Arrival of St. Johns Football Shirts
Arrival of St. Johns Football Shirts
Arrival of St. Johns Football Shirts
Arrival of St. Johns Football Shirts
Arrival of St. Johns Football Shirts