News from Zambia

Missionary Newsletter November 2011

First let me say I hope you have a happy Christmas and that 2012 will be full of good surprises. For me, these past few months have been quite full, we are nearing the end of building our little office and store for the play4all project in Kamatipa, and I have been teaching a couple of modules to the Pan African students now that the term has finished at the theological college. Sadly it looks as if we will not have any social work student intake next year and I will be back to teaching just the deacons, and whatever I am called upon to do at MEF and my little projects.

Since I last wrote we have had visits from Dr Olubunmi Olayisade from Methodist world church and the Archbishop of Canterbury. We said goodbye to Adrian who has now ended his chaplaincy for MEF, Rae Clark who had been here for a 12 week student ministerial placement, Molly and Ryan who after a year working for TEEZ are now back in the States, and we have also had a change of Government. Our new President, Michael Sata, has come in on an anti corruption and anti poverty ticket, and has made some changes aimed at a more free press and appointed the first democratically elected white Vice President in Africa, Guy Scott, a naturalised Zambian who has had previous experience as Minister of agriculture.

Nyau or traditional dancer
Nyau or traditional dancer

I have been spending a lot of time in Kamatipa with the project. A couple of times we have come across the man pictured here, he is a traditional dancer who’s role is to take 11 / 12 year old boys into the bush (with the agreement of their parents) for adult initiation ceremonies. He is very fierce and the children are both mesmerised and terrified at his appearance. (… as was I) My main reason for going to Kamatipa was to help with the project build, and that has had its learning curves! As with all build projects, we have spent much more than we anticipated, partly due to the fact that my little truck, which was down to do a lot of fetching and carrying, had to have a major engine overhaul and was off the road for most of the time. This meant we had to hire a lorry for the sand / bricks etc. and it was also much more difficult for me to get there when there was a dispute. I am just very thankful to have had Ernest Sakala on board as project manager. He was able to smooth the wheels considerably and has been a great liaison with the builders and the volunteers. Ernest is hoping to do a degree in project management or something similar in September, but would like to study out of Africa as it is a shorter time and better quality. If anyone can recommend a good course or knows of a bursary I am sure he would be interested.

Josephine with Rebecca & Joyce
Josephine with Rebecca & Joyce

I continue to get various people knocking on my door asking for help. I (only half jokingly) said the other day I think someone is selling my phone number! I had a text from someone I did not know saying she had been evicted so was coming to stay with me … or I could give her bus fare to Lusaka instead! Of course not everyone is trying to squeeze you; the prayerful road is to know who really needs help. The lady in this picture came to see me from about 40 miles away with her twin daughters Rebecca and Joyce, as she had a problem with creditors. Sadly about a month later the twins contracted malaria and Rebecca (sitting on the settee) died. One in 5 children die under the age of 5 years in Zambia, and we are not going to achieve the Millenium development goal of reducing this significantly by 2015. Frustratingly a lot of deaths are preventable through simple things like proper nutrition, mosquito nets and giving plenty of fluids with tummy problems.

My visits to Ipusukilo tailed off in October because of the lack of transport but Joyce and Agnes finish their tailoring course in two weeks and will be able to teach others in the group from then on. My car is back on the road as from today (21st November) and I hope to restart visiting Ipusukilo next week.

Eta's great grandfather King of Barotseland in the 1900’s
Eta's great grandfather King of Barotseland in the 1900’s

On a lighter note I was invited to a royal wedding this year. (Not the royal wedding but the granddaughter of the king of Basrotseland in Western Zambia.)

I work with her auntie, Etamboyu, and we spent 4 -5 days enjoying Mongu and the wedding. On the way back we took a detour via Mwandi (where Keith and Ida Waddle are stationed) and Mosi –o-Tunya (Victoria falls).

Eta had never seen the falls before and was so overwhelmed with its grandeur and beauty that she broke into a spontaneous song of praise, - an unforgettable moment, see picture below.

Eta & her son at Mosi-o-Tunya (the smoke that thunders)
Eta & her son at Mosi-o-Tunya (the smoke that thunders)

Items for praise:

  • That my car is back on the road again.
  • That all the travelers returned to their homes safely

Items for Prayer:

  • The Elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo (next door to Zambia) have already seen violent episodes, please pray for the elections next week to be free and fair and the results graciously accepted.
  • That the Kamatipa community embraces the Play 4 All project, and the new volunteers are trained in time for us to be up and running before Christmas.
  • For Ernest to realize his ambition to get a degree.
  • The DOWIZA group of HIV+ widows at Ipusukilo, for community and prosperity.
  • For the Social Work students who finished this year, that they may all get job

With very best wishes to you all,