29 October 2019

After a breakfast of fresh strawberries, mango and pineapple it was time to drive our guests to Mfuwe airport adjacent to the Luwangwa valley game reserve two hours distant. The adage of give yourself plenty of time paid off as we came up behind a funeral cortège crawling at 20 miles an hour and overtaking is a no no! It was clear when the convoy finally left the main road it was someone important as in the convoy was a police escort –  all funerals here are a full day affair and I feel sorry for the bereaved family as every one who attends gets a meal.

Our meeting with “Happy” in the Deputy Heads office.

On our return it was on the road again to see two of our orphans at boarding school. Happy (yes his name) is our only orphan who has qualified for higher education so far. Chizongwe school has 900 boarding boys and was in being when I lived here in the 50’s. Such an amusing reception. On easing the deputy headmasters door open we found him asleep in an arm chair with his shoes off! Once he had recovered his dignity and us trying to appear as if we hadn’t noticed he gave us a full review of our boy’s performance. The prognosis is excellent and we will probably be financing Happy to university in four years time. What a result for a boy who had been educated in the bush and never been away from home before and is an orphan to boot.

 

Tuck in hand! Note the expert signing. 😉

It was then onto Magwero school for the deaf where our lovely young Yotam boards at this specialist school. I do find it difficult and rather surreal with the silence unlike a rowdy normal school. It’s all signing and hand movements with the odd grunt or squeal of delight. Nora, the headmistress is so welcoming and reports our boy is doing very well. On both the visits Stephen spirits in a big bag of “tuck” – he really does act as their father or parent. An easy day so we will be at full throttle again tomorrow.

Discussing Yotam’s progress with the head teacher.

30 OCTOBER 2019.
After visiting the build site at Makhasa I was well pleased with progress but was starting to recognise the extreme difficulty in positioning materials. For example we need a huge amount of crushed stone and river sand to make concrete. We have to source small stone from whatever source we can find as our villagers breaking boulders into pebbles using hammers and metal pipes can’t keep up with demand. It means hiring lorries of questionable road worthiness and transporting materials cross country – a real logistic challenge.

Then onto to Kalembe school to present a full team football strip. Without hesitation the Head had the school team don the strip for a photo shoot. The exact response at Manukwa school a little later in our travels. In between schools we called on two of the orphan stable and one orphan girl at school in grade 12. If she passes her exams starting on the 17th of November it’s off to boarding college elsewhere.

It became simply too hot to continue so back to base for a breather then we had some errands in town plus the life invigorating ice cream – thank goodness they are still operating. I want to close with just an overview on what breaking stone is all about. The quarry area in the picture is a free for all site where a person can simply start working rock by hand and people like me go and barter the price of a pile of rocks. It’s almost medieval, no safety, no goggles, no gloves and survival of the fittest. There’s a new curry place opened close to where we live so Ed is having a night off- how lucky we are.

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