Omens were not good as we motored to the tribal area when, on briefing Stephen how visits were to be conducted that day, he screeched to a halt and sheepishly announced he had forgotten all the Christmas presents for the children we had arranged to see. Our mission was to see 17 of our orphans in 7 different villages, no mean target knowing what roads and tracks were ahead of us as the temperature climbed rapidly. I’m pleased to report ” mission accomplished”! When you realise not one of these children has ever received a present in their lives you can imagine the confusion,amazement and in most cases stunned silence and astonishment. One little chap did not even understand how to take the wrapping paper off his box. We found at one family where a young girl was not there to discover she and an aunt had gone to buy maize meal. On enquiring where they had gone I have to tell you, on foot,they had gone to a place called Gonda 20 miles away and were expected back by evening and would be carrying the sacks of maize on their heads.
At another village we found a young orphan girl had trodden on a big thorn and she was having difficulty walking with a festering wound on the side of her foot. He ho, I did not realise that Michael not only had his medical pack secreted away in the wagon but immediately, like a professional medic, donned a plastic glove and got to work dealing with and dressing the infected foot. My lasting vision of the day, and there are many, was as we motored out Michael produced a woolly Christmas hat which Stephen quickly snatched and stuck on his head, as the temperature soared with our air conditioning not working. It has been one of the most heart wrenching days I have experienced in the three years I have been coming developing Zoe Zambia and we have two more days of giving to go- oh boy.