29 November 2017

Hello again! It’s still raining here and was so cold last night that I actually had to put a sheet over me to sleep. Must have been below 20 degrees C.
It felt very strange this morning when, after meeting to read the Bible and pray together at 8am as usual with Stephen, we then didn’t go off in the truck to search for orphans – because we’ve found them all !!

Instead the men got their heads down doing accounts and paperwork, so it was my opportunity to do some girly shopping! Stephen bravely agreed to let me drive the truck into town so I went to explore Chipata’s famous market. I was fortunate to be able to take two of Stephen’s children with me, who showed me round and were lovely. It was good to be with people who knew the good places to park and the back roads to avoid the traffic! We went to two markets, the food market and the clothes. However, it started raining heavily and the muddy paths in the market became very slippery so we retreated. I did manage to find a few things and came home satisfied with them.

Once the accounts were done there was much rejoicing! and we went out to inspect possible sanitary hardware for the ‘Gap year house’. (Oh yes we know how to have a good time!) It was more fun than it sounds. The well established hardware shop in the old town (the bit that used to be Fort Jameson in the colonial days) is a place we have shopped before for paint, roofing materials, cement and so on for previous building needs. The owner passed on his best wishes to John H and after a friendly conversation we admired a large stainless steel wash handbasin, mesh for building mosquito proof screens, and possible materials for building a screened outdoor bucket shower. We also discussed creating snakeproof barriers under the doors. We are trying to look after these potential gap year visitors!! They recommended a carpenter they have used frequently who was summoned by telephone and came straightaway to meet us and talk about our requirements. We were able to show him our photos and videos of the ‘Gap house’ on my phone, so he could see what we were talking about. Phone numbers were exchanged and that all felt like good progress. The young men at the skills centre are constructing beds for the Gap house, it’s all coming along well.

Stephen then took us to a place we have seen as we drove past it most days: a corner shop/ bar called ‘Chris’ Corner’, the name displayed in large friendly letters. We have been joking every time we go past, that if Chris goes in there and shows his passport to prove he is called Chris, he might get a free drink. We were all quite excited to try it out having built it up in our minds for a week. Obviously the owner hadn’t had much time to get used to the idea, but was very genial and shook hands and laughed along. We had to pay for our drinks though. But they did have ginger beer, which is the first time we have seen that here. A local brand called ‘ting ling’ ginger beer; pronounced good.

Then it was home to try out the cassava for tea, which I have been soaking for 3 days to remove the cyanide! Chicken, cassava and fresh carrots from the market this morning, all tasted delicious and we are feeling fine so I guess the soaking worked.

That’s probably it for today. I can’t believe we will be packing to go home tomorrow. It always goes so fast and I always want to stay longer! As I write there is a cacophony out side of various birds and frogs , it sounds like several car alarms going off at once!

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