Saturday was a day of two parts. The morning was spent on a shopping quest for our new teacher at Myzangulu, Mrs Phiri. A generous donor had been so pleased we had finally been allocated a teacher the wish was to give her a good head start in running the school. Shopping in Chipata is a challenge at the best of times but after three hours visiting various Indian shops we have a load to deliver next week which she had selected as her priority.
The afternoon was a marathon of bumpy rides catching up with our most distant orphan families with greater success than I could have hoped. The visits have been a major eye opener for Max and Nick where they have been able to experience what real poverty is and how our orphans live their lives. We found some of our children catching cicada by applying wild glue to long bamboo poles and then trapping them. The cicadas are then stuffed into empty plastic bottles and taken home to eat. Playing football with balls made of tightly wrapped plastic bags, attending a baby health clinic where mothers have walked many miles to have babies weighed and being invited into a guardians house to see just how little people have are some of the highlights. The evening was spent at Mamarulas, an oasis five miles out of town watching England thrash Australia 😀 while eating huge T Bone steaks washed down with a cold Castle Lager. Another great day in paradise.
SUNDAY 25 November.
A leisurely start sorting the contents of 5 large suitcases of sports kit, football boots and trainers for distribution to the 4 schools in the kingdom. It was then off to church which is always great to catch up with pastor Geoffrey and Martha his wife. Nick found the experience of African harmony singing very moving along with the wonderful welcome visitors receive. The afternoon was spent seeking out our orphan families at the extreme eastern end of the patch but I feared as we were approaching the first home we were going to have fun. Dark clouds were looming and we were not disappointed. In no time at all the roads were running like rivers and while it’s difficult enough driving when you can see the deep ruts and holes but when they are hidden by water all my early driving experience was called for. We only managed to catch up with Chiziwa family before I decided to abandon the area but by this time I thought we might be in trouble. Fortunately 4 wheel drive came to the rescue and then as quickly as the storm had started it cleared and we managed to see further families.
As we then slipped and slithered our way home I believe Nick and Max recognised just how difficult it is for Stephen to keep in touch with the families deep in the bush during the 4 month rainy season and we are only at the start! Our last call was a village called Mawaso where we have two families. Granny Mawaso has five orphans none of whom were in as they were all out catching Cicadas for tea so it gave us an opportunity to discuss her broods terrible school reports. If it wasn’t so serious one wouldn’t mind but page after page of reports registering “fail” had Max and Nick in fits as Stephen berated dear Granny Mawaso. Home after 4 hours with so little achieved – just another day in Chipata.