Thursday, 29 March 2007

Lusaka to London

Our taxis were on time at 7:00 am to take us to the airport and the check-in was smooth although laborious. The flight left on time at 9:00 am and the ten hours to London went by quite quickly. Unfortunately none of us had window seats to take advantage of flying over Africa during daylight hours but by walking around the cabin we were able to get glimpses out. Most spectacular were the red sand dunes as we flew over the Sahara Desert. It was sad to go our separate ways once we landed at Heathrow, as we were all taking different flights home after the free stop-over in England, but looking forward to getting back to our families and sharing all our experiences in person.

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Last Two Days in Zambia

Tuesday - Milt and I spent our final day in the project area tying up loose ends and saying farewells with final visits to pastor, headman, clinic and school. Late in the afternoon we saw the first sheets of corrugated iron being put up for the roof of the new houses so it was again good to see progress there. On Tony's insistence we ended our stay the same way as we had begun it with a delicious dinner of Zambian steak and vegetables. Alberta produces good beef but Zambian beef is as good !

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

Lusaka and Livingstone

Harley, Logan and I left the farm at 5:30 am and had a good trip into Lusaka. They caught a bus to Livingstone in the South West of Zambia to be tourists for a couple of days at the home of Victoria Falls. I went off to find the laboratory to deliver the water samples, which turned out to be a failure. Despite having a letter from the Ministry of Health in Kapiri to authorize the tests the lab director refused to accept them because I was delivering them and not the ministry officials ! She stated that if I wanted the tests done then I would have to pay the fees myself. Apart from the fees being exorbitant I had no cash with me and it would have taken a couple of hours to get to the bank and then back again. Very frustrating as we were needing the test results in order to move forward with the pumps that have been donated to SPF for the community - I had no choice but to abandon the process. My bad mood cleared over lunch with Jennifer Moumane. She worked with KidZCan in Zimbabwe and we had met her there in 2005. Her husband was transferred to Zambia in mid-2006 with the Catholic Relief Commission and she is currently on a contract with the Children's AIDS Fund out of Washington, DC organizing their Zambian operation. She has a soft spot for SPF so was keen to hear how things are going for us and is interested in helping as much as possible in Zambia as the project moves forward. Much later in the afternoon Tony arrived on a flight from Zimbabwe and we drove back to the farm for a late supper.

Harley and Logan saw the Victoria Falls from ground level and from the air :

Sunday, 25 March 2007

Coffin for a Baby

Today we woke up to the sound of hammering and sawing going on in the back yard. Investigations lead us to find the farm carpenter in the process of making a coffin for a two-year old who had died on Saturday, apparently from malaria, in a village near the school; so the funeral was to be this afternoon.

Harley and Milt went to church at Kakulu Pentecostal while Logan and I went for a 9 km walk. A circular route which took in the school where we checked on further progress on the building project. (The builder is a Seventh Day Adventist so had taken Saturday off to go to church and was back on the job on Sunday.)

On our way from there we met people going home from another church so we chatted to them as we walked and before going our separate way. It was a very hot day so good to have a swim in the pool when we got back to the house. Late in the afternoon Harley and I went to collect water samples from three wells so that we could take them through to Lusaka on Monday morning for testing.

Saturday, 24 March 2007

Visit to a Farm and Soccer

In the morning we all went into Kapiri. Harley and I went to a short meeting with some officials regarding the water wells while Milt and Logan went to have coffee and a chat with Khalil. We all then went out to Khalil's farm just east of Kapiri as he wanted to show it to us. With cattle, sheep and goats around it reminded me very much of the place I grew up on in Zimbabwe although a very much smaller scale and we had a pleasant couple of hours walking around seeing everything. He has a good selection of bulls and so does well at breeding his own stock. There is obviously a lot of potential for farming in the area if set up and managed properly. Later in the afternoon we went to Sungula school for a community league soccer game. As usual a lot of excitement at Logan playing on one of the teams (which won the match !) while the rest of us were supporters on the side lines. The game was disrupted by a heavy rain storm during which everyone took shelter in the classrooms but it soon passed and the game resumed and was completed.

Friday, 23 March 2007

Visit to the Chief; Milt has a Haircut

Harley and I were up very early this morning, picked up the Senior Headman (Jackson) at 6:45 am and headed into Kabwe. The mission for the morning was to go and meet Chief Chipepo who is the traditional leader of all the people in the area and to whom the headman reports. The chief lives in what is called a "palace" about an hour's drive again from Kabwe so we were looking forward to seeing the place, although not to the drive on what would, undoubtedly, be a very rough, potholed gravel road. As it turned out the chief was at his Kabwe home as he had a sore leg and was waiting to see the doctor; so that it where we went to visit him. As per the tradition the headman had to go into the house ahead of us, bearing our gifts of money and food to "announce" us and our business. We were then invited in, having to go onto our knees in front of the chief for the initial greeting, as a mark of respect. Thereafter we sat comfortably in his living room and spent an hour chatting - telling him about our plans for the Sungula/Kakulu area and learning more about him and his role in the process. Again our intentions were given official approval and we were thanked for any assistance that we may be able to provide to his people. Next stop was the Ministry of Water Development regional office in Kabwe where Harley had some productive discussions with officials there about the wells in our area and the information that we are looking for.

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)

In the afternoon we went over to the school to find that a builder had made a start on the housing project - with a couple of roof trusses up. Very exciting to see some progress with that.

Thursday, 22 March 2007

Connecting with Seeds of Hope in Ndola

We were moving early and after a stop in Kapiri we drove North to Ndola to connect with Jerry at Seeds of Hope. It is about 150 km and took nearly two hours - although the two-lane highway is in good shape there is a lot of traffic on it - particularly trucks and busses - as this is the main access route to the Zambian copper mines and on into the Congo. Ndola is one of several copper mining centers and is in fact the second largest city in Zambia after Lusaka. We managed to find our way okay and connect with Jerry and their Zambian manager, Francis Feruka, who took us to their base - a house in one of the suburbs. They started off by showing us their bio-sand filter manufacturing operation and demonstrated one of the filters in operation - an amazingly simple and highly effective piece of technology. We then had a very lengthy and informative discussion about wells and all the related issues and problems that we had been encountering, gleaning a lot from their experiences in that area. Unfortunately their drilling rig - built and donated by a Canadian from Victoria Island - was away in the field (near Lusaka) drilling a well so we were not able to see it; although there were photos of it. They also shared with us about their work in hygiene training, drip irrigation, HIV/AIDS counseling and general evangelism so it was good to connect on many of the same aspects that we will be dealing with in our project area; and likely that we can continue to work closely with them as we get fully operational. After a late lunch we headed back to the farm having had a great day's experience. (On the way up, and going back, we saw locals standing on the side of the road holding up 3-4ft sticks with a long piece of string attached to one end and on the other end of the string a rodent tied to the string by it's back feet - still alive and wriggling ! The rodents were moles which are a delicacy for eating - and a pest in the crops anyway - so the people catch them to sell to passers-by !!)

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Khalil Kapdi

The morning was spent in Kapiri : one meeting which didn't happen because the person we were to meet with didn't show up (!) but the other one with Khalil Kapdi - our building material supplier - to wrap-up the final accounting and paperwork. He is an (East) Indian - born and raised in Zambia, did his accounting degree in India and was in public practice in Lusaka for a few years before his father died and he had to move to Kapiri to take over the running of his father's business. He is involved in a lot of different things - a bakery and grocery wholesale, building materials, fuel station and transport as well as a small farm where he raises cattle, sheep and goats. So he had wealth of knowledge to share with us and enjoyed sitting chatting with us. (We figured that in Kapiri he doesn't get to talk to many people at the same intellectual level as him so took every opportunity to do so with us !) In the afternoon Harley, Logan and I spent a few hours meeting with Pastor Justin and the church Deacon, Mr Chanda, to discuss more of the church's vision and plans for their work in the community so that I could record some of it on video. While we were meeting there was a big downpour of rain - the first in nearly two weeks. The session ended with them giving us some food - delicious fried sweet potatoes, roasted corn and roasted peanuts !

Tuesday, 20 March 2007

Pastor Justin's Fields; Building Materials Delivered

After an early breakfast we went to meet Pastor Justin for a tour of his fields where he showed off his bumper crops of maize (corn), sweet potatoes and ground-nuts (peanuts). Everything is done by hand by he and his wife - no mechanization - not even oxen to plough - and everything growing only on the rainfall that comes - no irrigation. They were very grateful because they had been able to use some of the money, that we (Poultney Family) have been sending them, to buy fertilizer which has greatly improved the yields. They will harvest enough food to feed themselves and their five children as well as other less fortunate people in the community until the harvest this time next year. We left there with a big sack of fresh produce from their fields which we ate over the next few days.

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

Gordon's Birthday - Church and Traditional Lunch

Sunday - my 49th birthday ! Nice to have a couple of cards and a gift from my family which Harley had carried over with him.

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.)

The dishes of the traditional meal

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

Community Health Committee Meeting

Hard to believe that Milt and I have been here two weeks and Logan and Harley just one week - seems like several weeks to all of us ! One thing to mention is that we have had no rain now for a week. It gets very hot during the day - probably 32-35C - and the clouds build up but then they just move on without any rainfall. This morning we went back to Kapiri to check on our material order - all under control and going well.

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.

The new health post under construction. It has taken two years to get to this stage !
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

Kapiri - Market and Kabwe

This morning we went into Kapiri to meet with some Ministry of Education officials to update them on our activities. Then to a local hardware merchant to order all the materials that will be required for the completion of the houses. Milt did an excellent job of negotiating with him to find us all the product, of highest quality and with-in our budget, delivered to the school. And to boot he gave us an excellent exchange rate on our dollars. It is a win, win for both of us as he will get the benefit of future business from us if he delivers as required and we will be able to support a local business knowing that we will be given a good deal. Milt, Logan and Harley spent an hour wandering through the Kapiri Market while I stayed with the vehicle.

The main "street" of the market (above) and the part where they sell fish (below)

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

School, Wells and Charcoal

This morning we were up early and went over to the school in time for Harley and Logan to attend Mr Mutale's Grade 9 English class at 8:00 a.m. This time the subject was Tenses, specifically the Past Tense, and they enjoyed the experience.

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

Community Walkabout

Monday was a public holiday - Youth Day - but we went to meet with the Senior Headman who represents the traditional tribal chief in this area. He took us for a walking tour through several villages (4-5 houses in each one) under his jurisdiction. In each one we sat and met with the owner of the village and heard about their problems and concerns in the community. Most common was the poor infrastructure in relation to schooling, health care and water supplies. Also the number of orphans resulting from the AIDS pandemic that these families are looking after and which are putting a strain on their households. As we moved from village to village we saw their fields of crops growing - maize (corn), sweet potatoes, cassava, green beans and ground nuts (peanuts) - some in good condition and some not; the problem in the latter being a lack of money to buy fertilizers.

One of several villages we visited

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.)

Much later that evening Tony and his wife, Debbie-Lynn, arrived after driving through from Zimbabwe. Good to see them both and we sat up quite late chatting and catching up.

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

Kabwe Church and Community Walk

We were up early and went into Kabwe for the church service at Grace Church. Dan had asked me to give a testimony as part of the service which I did and which went over well. (It was about our background, the Foundation and why I was standing in front of the congregation that day.) After I had spoken Carl and Dan came forward an prayed for me.

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

Orientation for Harley & Logan - Mulungushi Dam

Friday (March 9) I had a quiet morning at the house catching up on some paperwork and reading while Milt took Harley and Logan on a tour of the area. At the school Milt and Logan got involved in a couple of games of soccer with the kids as it was sports day. They got back just before the rain started - a very heavy downpour for most of the afternoon so we didn't do much more except chat and make plans for the next few days.

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.

Another bone-jarring journey on the way back and quite a relief to hit the smooth hard-top back in Kabwe. Half-way back to the farm we were stopped at the permanent police check-stop on the main road - usually they just wave us through but this time they wanted to see my driver's license. That was not problem but they had pulled over the vehicle in front of us and were asking all sorts of questions. As we started driving past that vehicle I recognized Jenny's niece, Sherry, sitting in the passenger seat so also pulled over ! She and her boyfriend were heading North to a birthday party in Makushi but didn't have time to stop in at the farm so we had a quick chat on the side of the road before heading on our way ! We got back to the farm to find that Milt and Harley had had a good day doing a couple of long walks through the local area.

Thursday, 8 March 2007

Harley and Logan Arrive

I was up at 3:30 a.m. and on the road by 4:00 a.m. The trip to Lusaka went very well as the road was relatively clear of traffic at that time of day and the road repair crews had not started yet. I was at the airport by 7:00 a.m. and the BA flight landed 15 minutes late at 7:05. It took Harley and Logan quite a while to clear formalities and they only came through just before 8:00 a.m. Good to see them both and we headed into town. I left them at Manda Hill to browse for a couple of hours while I went over to see Heather at The Lowdown to send and receive e-mail and check on some logistics with her. She said that I was lucky to have found them at work and proceeded to relate the saga of the public holiday that was supposed to happen that day. Apparently on Tuesday there had been an announcement that Thursday would be a public holiday - Women's Day - just like that. Of course there was much out-cry from businesses and organizations about the short notice for this so late on Wednesday there was another announcement saying that there had been a mistake and that this new holiday would only take effect in 2008. But many people would not have heard this news simply because they don't have immediate access to radio or TV so they would have just gone ahead and taken the holiday anyway. (Back in our area the school was closed for the day as they had not heard of the change in time to let all the kids know to come to school after all !)

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

March 3 to 7

Saturday March 3 - we were a little tired after our long trip to Lusaka and back and probably feeling the effects of our big trip over starting to catch up so it was a slow morning. We had to go into Kabwe - 50km each way from the farm - as we needed diesel for the vehicle and propane for the stove in the kitchen. (Couldn't get the latter as the only place in town was closed for the day.) While in town we contacted Dan and Tina Moyer who have been in Kabwe as missionaries for about ten years. One of their personal outreaches has been to the local farmers and so Tony and Debbie-Lynn had got to know them well and Tony suggested that we connect. They were just on their way out towards the farm to visit another farming family so they stopped by here later in the afternoon when we were back and on their way back to Kabwe. They are in their late thirties and work for Grace Ministries International based out of USA. They are involved in a variety of projects in Zambia and Malawi so have a lot of experience and are very happy to help us in any way they can. We had a very short visit as they had to get back to town but on Sunday we went back to Kabwe to attend the English language service that they have each week at their downtown facility. Very similar service to what we are used to at the Alliance church - great worship to start, a couple of personal testimonies and then a sermon. The message was given by Dan's father - Carl - who has been on the mission field in Africa all his life as his father before him was also a missionary ! (We later learnt that Carl did his missionary training at Prairie Bible College in Three Hills so was familiar with our neck of the woods !) After that service we went with Dan to one of the Grace churches in a suburb of Kabwe to experience a local African service, which was really amazing. Beautiful singing by a couple of their choirs in the local language and then a very fiery sermon - given in the local language but translated into English for the benefit of those who preferred that. After the service the entire congregation filed out in a single line with the first person out forming a "receiving" line to shake hands with the next person in line who then joined the line and so it continued. We were about half way so had to shake about 50 hands before joining the end of the line and waiting to shake the hands of about 50 people behind us - what an experience and a wonderful way to greet each other in the name of the Lord. (We need to try that at our churches sometime !!!) We were then invited to the senior Moyer's house for a late lunch - it was 1:00 pm by this time. Quite a crowd there as they live next door to Dan and Tina who were there with their three kids and then several others on their mission team whom we had met at the earlier service. Lots of interesting discussion about the whole area of foreign aid/assistance in Zambia and we garnered a lot of useful information from several people. Delicious lunch of chicken stew, rice and vegetables around a large table seating 12 people. There was a huge thunder storm right after the meal so we stayed a bit longer until that had passed before returning to the farm.

Above - Grace Church which we attended
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 !

Gordon and Carl Moyer chat in the back yard before lunch

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.