A very good start for the day meeting Dr Lingambe the Provincial Education Officer.
For the first time in the 7 years I have been dealing with the bureaucracy of a new nation, well one of 55 years old, I feel we have finally got serious government support in court. Recognition of our efforts with the orphan programme and Zoe’s involvement in trying to improve education facilities is, I believe, being recognised at the right levels.
Having delivered stores to the Makhasa school building site a visit to the main school in the kingdom, Manukwa, my euphoria of the business visit was somewhat shattered. A school of 540 primary children grade 1 to 7 were being taught by only 3 trained government teachers and 2 untrained volunteers. The secondary section were marginally better off but oh what a desperate state the education system is in. There are simply no government funds to recruit more teaching staff and hence the progression of children to higher education is bleak. I do hope we will not suffer accordingly when Makhasa is built!
Two of our well farm visits were reassuringly positive and our final call was Myzangulu school the last of our schools in the kingdom supporting some of our children, a community school the church helped build and get gazetted by the government last year. Mrs Phiri the head is an amazing bubbly lady who has really transformed a very ordinary community school into well run primary.
Our journey home followed the route of what was a very good dirt road 18 months ago which has deteriorated to an extraordinary driving challenge in many places. Again a lack of funds for maintenance is clearly the reason.
ZAMBIA INDEPENDENCE DAY. 24 October 2019.
An ideal day for our visit programme to catch up with the orphan families and we weren’t disappointed. Nine villages visited and the well-being of sixteen children checked out. In desperately hot conditions it always amazes me how climatically it has little effect on the local folk. They are all tilling their fields in expectation of the rains as this is a crucial time to be ready and the sun is beating down at 100 degrees Fahrenheit. I suppose I’m blasé about life here but Ed who is with me on his first visit to Africa keeps noticing how very hard life is. Families have nothing but the clothes they stand up in, a few pots and pans, the important “cooking stick” used to stir their basic staple maize meal when cooking and plastic drums for storing water all housed in a one or two room grass and mud hut. He has also been taken by how friendly everyone is with much hand shaking and “Muli Bwanji” the traditional greeting. Tomorrow is more of the same as the President only two days ago declared the day as an additional holiday- at least it will give many who have over indulged today time to recover and there are plenty will need it. Good night.