Before we get into the blog I’d just like to thank all those stalwarts that have been praying, very kindly, that it wouldn’t be too hot for us – OK, me!! It’s working guys!! It’s been positively cold in the evenings and first thing this morning saw us donning jeans instead of shorts, and reaching for our jackets. By mid morning it’s well and truly heated up again so there’s quite a lot of clothes changing going on. Having said that, there would be anyway. As I’ve said before the earth here is bright orange so when we go out pretty much anywhere, our clothes soon become covered in red dust. Thank goodness we are able to pay the lovely Nercia each time we come out to do our laundry (and chores), although that might be a bit difficult tomorrow if the water hasn’t come back on. Yes, our first water cut BUT power is still on so dinner cooking, thanks to Nercia’s initiative to leave a bucket of water half filled in the bathroom. Phew!! No take aways here, and only 2 restaurants, so home cooking is essential.
OK. On to today. We took David and Sylvia to Luangwa International Airport this afternoon (at least 3 or 4 small planes a day coming in!!) in order to catch their flight to Lusaka and on to home, but in the meantime we went out to Magweru School for the Deaf – which USED to be just 30 mins away last year. One word: ROADS! However, after much rally driving we arrived to visit Yotam who is profoundly deaf and on our orphan programme. He must have the biggest smile in the world! He is in a small class of 4 other boys and 1 girl and his teacher, and the Headteacher says he is doing really well. We wished we knew sign language!
The school itself was founded by a S. African lady doctor in 1955 and for quite some time was the only such school in the country. Nowadays, because of its high reputation, children from other provinces do attend but it is primarily for children of the Eastern Province – where we are. If full, the school can take 90 pupils but because of the fees (which are high in comparison to other boarding schools) there are only 75 pupils there at the moment. Ms Nora Banda is the Headteacher, having taken up the post last year when the previous Head retired after 10 years. She has her work cut out for her! The Govt. SHOULD supply 25% of her income, the rest being made up from fees – say no more! She has started up a market garden and a chicken rearing business in order to supplement funds and hopes to add a piggery to that shortly. Needless to say she was thrilled to be at the receiving end of all Stephen’s knowledge in these areas and they plan to meet up soon so she can see one of our gardens in action. “Challenges” but despite that the school is as neat as a pin, there are 16 members of staff (3 of whom are deaf, including one old boy!) and the children appear to be very happy. We are delighted that such a good school exists near Mnukwa and Yotam is able to attend.
P.S. Special offers yesterday at “Waitrose”: as many dried mice as you could eat and huge sacks of dried caterpillars, called mpani worms that John insists are delicious. Hmmmmmmmm?!