Met with Emmanuel and Stephen and then went to Spar to pick up tribute gifts for the Chief of cooking oil, flour and rice. This is a kind of protocol for such visits.
We drove approx 25km out of Chipata down a dirt road to the Chief’s tribal area at Mnukwa. We were met by his messenger, who is a sort of herald, and introduced to 3 members of his Tribal Council. The Chief arrived and was greeted by Emmanuel and Stephen on their knees as “your Royal Highness”.
We all sat under the shade of a large tree. And Chief Mnukwa listened as John explained our vision to work with orphans and children. He is an intelligent articulate man and he explained his strategic plan for his Chiefdom. He knew exactly how many children, orphans, old people, disabled people etc that were his subjects and with his Council, set out their needs, which are basically rural development but with help for orphans, education and vocational training for young people as their highest priorities.
He introduced us to his family and we went to visit the village medical centre. They lack resources to provide anything more than basic first aid and midwifery – but they do have a placenta pit..
We then drove approx 6km down a track road to Chiponde village and saw the Mwanzyangulou school of which takes its name from the hill above it and means Spirits Scatter. The village has about 11 families living as subsistence farmers using farming techniques including oxen drawn ploughs.
The village struggles to support their own Community Basic School and we met the Headmaster. He and two other teachers are teaching 204 children from the local area, and none of the staff are salaried – they are all volunteers. The school building is little more than a shed.
We sat with the whole village under the shade of the mango trees for three hours, and we heard from the men then the women, and their highest priority being education, ie support for their school.
One of their recently orphaned children was asked what she wanted and she said money for school fees (to attend secondary school). Her mother is bringing up 5 children alone.
The village headman gave us a meal in his grass hut and we had Nshima – like mashed potato but made from corn flour, with chicken and soya. Very nice.
As we said goodbye, Chris had 40,000 kwachas in his handshake for the orphaned girl’s mother, so we have helped our first orphaned family 🙂
We both have a very positive feeling about this place and we have asked the Chief for a grant of land for our project. We will see what he says. His Nduna (Headman) said afterwards to John they desperately need us here.