Off to Mwazyangulu School first thing to take a whole load of simple teaching aids e.g. laminated a – z cards that I had put on a long string so they could hang them across the wall. You wouldn’t think it would be very much would you but it SO obviously was: thank you Wildmoor Heath School for all your generosity. Janet, young Mrs Banda and the Headmaster, Mr Mulilo were absolutely delighted. Two of the children (one of whom was Stanley) who’ve only been at the school for 4 months, were able to say their alphabet with very little prompting – remember this is a second language for them all and their teachers all volunteers. Brilliant! We also left them cement so they can finish off the brick pillars not yet holding up the verandah roof!
On with Philemon and Mrs Banda (married to his brother, Joseph) to look at where the
well may be sited which would water their proposed community garden. Obviously word had got out as there were about 20 young people awaiting our arrival, including one young man who had been on the initial team in 2013 with Philemon. He, Philemon and Joseph (who is also Chairman of the School Works Committee) are very go-ahead young men who can clearly see how the well and the gardens are going to benefit them all and the surrounding villages. Stephen translated for John as we all stood/sat under the trees so we hope that with all having had their say, the new team that was about to sign up will understand that it’ll be over to them once the well is in situ. We have high hopes, especially as they were anxious to have all the details of the pit compost so the whole new team could start making it – and the water diviner hasn’t even got there yet!! We’ll contact Mr Dyer who drills our wells tomorrow and get the whole process under way. Printing the instructions for the compost and then getting them laminated is another matter altogether!
Now when we say ‘on to Manukwa School after that’ what I mean is another trip in the 4 x 4 down the hair raising ‘roads’! Think more of a very undulating dry valley river bed filled with ruts, and in places huge stones and hidden tree stumps, and you’re getting there. I have no idea how Stephen knows where we’re going but happily we pass through enough little grass-roofed villages and see enough people to know we’d never be lost – we hope!!
In sympathy with a fellow science teacher, Claire Taylor had been on a major buying spree prior to our departure so we had the great joy of delivering almost a suitcase full of science equipment. I don’t think Mr Mwuwo could quite believe his eyes! We also passed on more basic English teaching aids from Wildmoor Heath School but with 660 pupils and only 6 govt teachers + 2 on teaching practice (who finish at the end of this term and will not be replaced) ‘a drop in the ocean’ comes strongly to mind. For the teachers such meagre fare is classed as ‘a blessing’. One class has 100 children in it. They’re not all there at the same time as different children come in for different two hour sessions each day (however that one teacher is responsible for assessing all their class). TIA. This is Africa.
Back home for a quick bite to eat then on into town with a very small list of things to do – which took over 3 hrs to complete! The first hour was spent trying to find out where John could get the blood test he needs so his warfarin intake can be monitored, but with only 2 places to visit and only one set of forms to fill out we thought we’d done rather well on that front. Then the material challenge – this could be a TV game!! Plastic table cloth for our newly acquired kitchen table AND curtain material for the kitchen. Another success! Yippeee. I think I’ll do a blog on shopping in Chipata – and another on crossing the road!!
Today the team has divided with half at home making kitchen curtains and the other half off on a mass of missions (only one guess at which way round!):
1. The blood test (trusting God for clean needles etc)
2. Taking our letter pleading for a govt. teacher for Mercer’s School to the District Commissioner (we’ll give them a week or so before pleading for Mwazyangulu School as well)
3. Getting instructions for the pit-compost laminated
4. Visiting a different drilling company to the one we have used in the past as it just happened to pop up in conversation after church on Sunday. They have a very good reputation and can sink the well with a saving of about £1000 which can be spent on extra pipes to carry water to the fields
5. Visiting Mr Jere, He has a very large vegetable farm some way from Chipata which in exchange for our investment, is meant to provide food for Stephen and his family, the orphans when there is a glut, and Zoe Zambia funds. The exchange rate hasn’t been great, however, what would YOU say to this hard-working, broken-hearted man whose hard-working wife has recently died, leaving him to manage everything on his own? Add to that thieves knocking a hole in his chicken shed and stealing 100 birds whilst he was out in the field meant our answer was to give him enough money to pay a couple of labourers to help him catch up with all there is to be done in fields. He has a cracking crop of all sorts of veggies.
6. Checking possible sources for honey and honey comb sales as 7 of Mr Kunga’s hives are occupied.
And so to bed!!