Thursday, 29 March 2007
Wednesday, 28 March 2007
Wednesday - late morning, after final farewells to people on the farm, Tony drove Milt and I to Lusaka. After a late lunch and a final visit to The Lowdown to check e-mail and say farewell to Heather and Mark we checked into a guest house that had been recommended by another traveler that we met. Very spartan but clean and cheap so suited us fine. We went for a walk in the neighborhood to get some exercise and check out somewhere to eat later. Harley and Logan arrived back from Livingstone at 7:00 pm and all walked down to a local mall for supper where they told us all about their exciting trip. We were up quite a late as we spent time afterwards downloading and looking at a bunch of photos and reminiscing about the experience we'd just had in Africa.
One of the highlights of their trip - Logan and Harley got to "meet" a large crocodile at the croc farm in Livingstone !
Monday, 26 March 2007
Harley and Logan saw the Victoria Falls from ground level and from the air :
Sunday, 25 March 2007
Saturday, 24 March 2007
Friday, 23 March 2007
We returned to the farm for a late lunch to find that Milt had gone to the local barber - Mr Chanda one of the school teachers - for a local haircut ! (He uses a small generator to power his electric clippers and the charge is about Can $ 1.00)
Thursday, 22 March 2007
Wednesday, 21 March 2007
Tuesday, 20 March 2007
Next stop was the clinic to drop off a hockey bag full of used clothes - mostly infants and children that we had brought from Canada - for the head nurse to distribute to needy young mothers. (Clothes from two of the other hockey bags were distributed to the workers on the farm - each person receiving one item - and the fourth bag of clothes was given to Pastor Justin to give to the orphans that the church looks out for. )
In the afternoon we went over to the school to await the arrival of the truck that was to deliver the building supplies that we had purchased for the completion of the new teachers houses. It was running late so Logan got an impromptu soccer game going with some of the senior students as they were waiting around anyway to help off-load the truck. It was a blistering hot day - 40C in the open under the sun - so I was glad that I had the excuse of taking photos and video rather than playing ! Great excitement when the truck finally showed up and much activity as it was unloaded and everything stacked away in secure storerooms. Logan, Harley and I then headed into Kabwe for the weekly volleyball game with the missionary group there - as before a lot of fun.
Monday, 19 March 2007
We went to church at the local Pentecostal church whose pastor - Pastor Justin - I had met last year and who had written me a long letter outlining his vision for his ministry and asking for assistance. (We have been interacting with him quite a bit since we have been here and have found that he is a man of great integrity and his church is doing well.) They are still worshipping in a grass and pole structure which they had actually added onto during the week as they expected a larger attendance with people knowing we were going to be there !
Photo of the church with the addition on the right side !
The service lasted over two hours with wonderful African singing - only accompanied by a single drum - and a very powerful message. (It was given in the local language - Bemba - and translated for our benefit by an Elder who speaks excellent English.) After the service we were given a traditional Zambian meal with a wide variety of dishes which we all tried and enjoyed - eating with our fingers as they do !! The dishes included pumpkin leaves cooked up like spinach; deep fried sweet potatoes; boiled pumpkin; fried cabbage; nchema (the stiff porridge that is made from corn meal and which most people eat three times per day); a stewed chicken; roasted peanuts; and rice.)
Following that we had a meeting with their youth group and then their elders council at which we gave them a bible and some bible study books which had been donated to us in Canada to bring to Zambia.
Another beautiful day weather-wise and we were treated to a typical beautiful African sun-set.On Monday morning Harley and I picked up the head nurse from the clinic and drove into Kapiri where we had a meeting with the District Director of Health at the Ministry of Health with whom I had had previous e-mail correspondence. We were able to confirm that our plans to assist the development of the new health centre will be most welcome and that we have the ministry's full support. We also had a good meeting with the environmental officer to discuss the requirements and procedures for testing water from some of the wells in our project area so that we could move forward with that task. In the afternoon Harley, Milt and I went through to Kabwe as we had to do some grocery shopping
Saturday, 17 March 2007
In the afternoon we had a meeting with the Community Health Committee for a few hours to discuss the many issues relative to health care in the area and to visit the site of the new health centre. There is so much that needs to be done - it is going to be a huge part of our overall project.
Below - the community health committee with us in front of the building
Saturday we took it easy in the morning reading and catching up on journals and other paperwork. After lunch we went to Kapiri to do another follow-up on our materials order as there were a couple of minor problems. Later in the afternoon we went for a long walk through an area of the community we had not been in yet and during which we came across another two wells which also have problems.
Thursday, 15 March 2007
In the afternoon I went through to Kabwe to attend a weekly prayer session at Grace Church - about 15 people in attendance and a very powerful time of sharing. After that I spent a couple of hours meeting with Dan to glean some more information from him about the ins and outs of working in Zambia. Extremely useful - he was able to answer a lot of questions which will help us save time and avoid problems in the future. Tony and Debbie-Lynn had left in the morning to do business in Lusaka and then return to Zimbabwe so the four of us were on our own again.
Wednesday, 14 March 2007
At 10:00 a.m. we all attended a meeting with the school PTA to share information and ideas about how we can continue to work together for the future development of the school. At the meeting we were able to tell them that we could provide the necessary funds to complete the staff housing duplex which they had already started and currently 50% complete; so that elicited great excitement.
In the afternoon we went with the Headman again to visit some more wells with problems. At one we found that the rods had sheared off their connection to the pump head and dropped into the well - a problem that will require some specialist attention to fix. At the next one we found that there was nothing happening when the handle was pumped but that there didn't seem to be any "resistance". So we took the head of the pump off and removed all the rods - 14, 3 meter sections - each one having to be unscrewed from the next as they were raised from the well casing. When we removed the last one we found that there was no non-return valve cylinder on the end - the obvious reason why there was no water being pumped up ! - but no idea why it was "missing". Either one was never put on or it was not tightened properly and fell off after being used for a while. (Note : we could have bought a replacement cylinder but did not have the necessary tools to have been able to do the repair job which would have required pulling the whole down pipe as well.)
On the way back from this well we came across this young man who makes charcoal. This is a very common activity in this area. Trees are cut down and the wood stacked in a big pile intermingled with green grass. The pile is then covered with dirt and the grass set alight. Over 7-8 days the whole lot smoulders away turning the wood into charcoal. (Without much air the wood does not catch fully alight.) The charcoal is then packaged into 50kg (100 lb) bags and shipped to the main highway - usually by ox cart - where it is purchased and taken into one of the towns or cities for sale. The local producer receives 15,000 Kwacha (about C $ 4.50) per bag while it will sell for double that in the town.
Monday, 12 March 2007
We also saw a great variety of water sources - small streams, hand-dug wells in the village and drilled wells with hand pumps in a central location for all to use. The latter are spread very far apart so if people want the better quality water from those they have to walk very long distances.
A hand-dug well which requires water to be drawn with a bucket on the end of a rope.
At the end of the tour we were shown one well drilled in October 2006 which (apparently) stopped working with-in a couple of weeks so they had wired up the pump to prevent the kids playing with it. Later in the day we were mulling over that and decided to go back to that well with some tools to see if we could figure out the problem. We took the wire off the handle, started pumping it and out came a good stream of water !! We can only assume that the well was not drilled deep enough so dried up very soon after being done, being that it was the dry season and the water table low. Now that it is the rainy season the water table is up and so it is "working" again; so we'll see how it stands up after a week in operation. (Note : by the time we left the area ten days later this well was having problems again. It would provide a good flow of water from early in the day until mid-afternoon and then dry up. By the next morning it would be okay again. There could be any number of reasons for this - the well, or cyclinder, not deep enough; the well not finished properly thus the recovery rate being hindered; or that the flow rate was not sufficient for the volume being drawn out.)
Tuesday was a bit of a down day. We had to go into Kabwe to get food supplies - unfortunately no decent supermarket in Kapiri which is much closer. Later Logan and I went back to Kabwe for the weekly Tuesday volley ball game at the Moyer's house. Many of the local missionaries and some farmers show up so it is a good opportunity to meet and connect with a bunch of people. There were about 16 players (and a few spectators) that evening so we rotated out and all got to play. Four games in all so it was a good work-out and a lot of fun. Milt and Harley had gone for a ride around the area on the motor bike - just a small 125 CC unit - which they said was a lot of fun.
Sunday, 11 March 2007
After church we were invited for coffee at the Moyer's and we were able to fellowship with several other people that had been at the service. Amongst them were an older farming couple - Pete and Brenda - also originally from Zimbabwe. Turns out that her two brothers were at high school with me. We gave another fellow, Glen, a missionary from South Africa, a lift home on our way out of Kabwe so had a chance to see their operation - a school and skills training centre. Later in the afternoon, back at the farm, we all went for a walk on the bush path from the farm to the school and back again - the route that the kids from the farm village take to get to school every day. Harley has a GPS device with him so is able to track distances - we walked about 7km.
Saturday, 10 March 2007
Saturday Logan and I drove into Kabwe and then on to Mulungushi Dam - a man-made lake about 60 km East of Kabwe. The gravel road was in terrible shape after all the rain so it took us nearly two hours to get there ! Well worth the trip as it was a beautiful spot and we had a couple of hours hiking around the area. The water was pouring over the spillway creating a spectacular waterfall of over 100 feet into the gorge below. Quite an engineering feat went into constructing the dam so it was interesting to explore all of that.
Thursday, 8 March 2007
Back at Manda Hill I met up with the guys and we did the grocery shopping after which we met up with Jerry from California who is involved with Seeds of Hope - an American missionary group which has been working in Zambia for a few years particularly in the area of water and sanitation. Harley had been communicating with SOH before we left and he was aware that Jerry was on the same flight as them from London so made the plan to connect for a quick chat. They are based in Ndola which is about an hour and a half drive North from the farm so we are hoping to visit them for a day as they have offered to help in any way they can. After that we hit the road for the drive back to the farm and the trip went well - fortunately no rain along the way so the luggage in the back of the truck didn't get wet.
Milt had had a good day going around the farm with the manager and learning more about the farming in this part of the world. He was pleased to see us back and to catch up with Logan and Harley over a late supper.
Wednesday, 7 March 2007
Below - some of the kids who gathered around us after the service.
Note the ball of string and rags which serves as their soccer ball !
Monday March 5 - we did our first tour of the area stopping in at the school, clinic and a couple of the churches to touch base with people and let them know that we were around. Everyone very pleased to see us again and we were able to plan some further meetings and activities over the coming weeks. In the late afternoon when we returned to the farm we went for a long walk followed by a refreshing swim. The temperature has been hovering around 27-28C during the day and we have had rain most days in the late afternoon or evening as is typical for this time of year. The work on the farm is hectic with lots of reaping, curing and grading of the tobacco crop so we see all that activity around us as we move about.
Tuesday March 6 - we went into Kabwe as we needed some supplies for the house and farm. We also stopped in at the Dan and Tina's place to see if I could use their internet connection to send and receive e-mails but unfortunately that did not work. However we hung out there for a couple of hours and had some more interesting discussion from which we learned a great deal. When we got back to the farm the manager had to head over to a neighbouring farm to get the exhaust pipe for the generator welded as it was broken so Milt went along with him for the ride. They were back well after it got dark so I had already lit a whole bunch of candles to see my way round the house before the generator started working again.
Wednesday March 7 - We were at the school by 8:00 am to attend the grade 9 English class being taught by the headmaster/principal. 44 students in the class crammed three to a desk and only one text book at each desk. Today's lesson was about adverbs and he did a great job. An interesting experience and amazing what they can accomplish under the conditions. We spent a bit more time at the school talking about issues and touring the grounds. Next was a meeting with the Senior Headman who had been away in Lusaka until yesterday and we had a couple of hours of good discussion with him. After lunch we had to go into Kapiri Mposhi - 20 km North of the farm - to fill up the truck with diesel. Stopped in at their local supermarket to check out supplies and prices - would only go there in a great emergency as the choices are limited and prices high. On the way back we had a meeting with the head nurse at the clinic - who happens to be a Zimbabwean born in Gwanda which is near my former home town ! She is a very dynamic lady and again we had excellent discussions about the issues surrounding health care in the community. Our late afternoon walk had to be cut short due to a big storm which blew in very quickly.