25th May 2018
Since I left Monze last July there have been two notable new lives that have come into the world. Delia gave birth to a girl – and I must confess both her Zambian and English names elude me at the moment. The other is birth is a girl to Selina – Jennipher's daughter - named Maria. Selina tried to keep the pregnancy secret and was very concerned about letting me know. Anyway I spoke to her and assured her that she continued to have my love and full support. Jennipher is looking after Maria while Selina continues her education. Both children are doing well.
Teddy suffered a break-in at his home, where it seems he was drugged while they stole his possessions – he is gradually putting things back in place. Best passed his bar exams, but his certificate is being withheld until he finds money claimed to be outstanding! Raymond is still trying to support some elderly and disabled people without any funds! They struggle to find enough food just to survive.
The rains this year started well, but for a month or so, when the rain should have been the heaviest the rain ceased. It then rained heavier than normal. The result is generally a poor harvest. I remember some years back doing work with the Diocesan Projects Office. They wanted to record the assets of poorer households in the diocese. I was surprised to come up with what I thought was an average income of about £100 per month – this was higher than I expected. I then looked more closely - it was £100 per year! Some families received less than £20 per year! However, most people had a spade or a hoe. Some had a few chickens or even a goat or two. It was then that I realised how essential it was to have decent rain and the opportunity to grow enough food for the family. You cannot buy enough food to live on with £20 a year!
Fr Clement finds himself alone in his new parish – Fr Raphael having been moved. Our church in Cheltenham provided funds for some pigs to start the piggery – these are now developing and soon the project will be in full flow. We were also able to help with funds for a toilet block at the church. Fr. Clement has been practising pool in readiness for my visit – I too have had a few games here with Roger, my brother-in-law. Whether it will make any difference I doubt – but I sure that the competition will be intense!!
Luke is trying to start a small poultry business to supplement his income. He still struggles to support his nieces and nephews through school and college and is trying to get additional qualifications himself.
Most people in Zambia live on the edge. For those who have enough food the next aim is to try to send their children to school and perhaps end the cycle of poverty. PIZZ School takes children whose parents/guardians have difficulty in feeding their children and would never be able to fund their education themselves. PIZZ School gives the children the possibility of a different future and while at the school the children have a stable environment and they know that they are really valued.
Ketty is a girl who has developed with the care of PIZZ School. In December she passed her grade 9 exams and this year started at Kaumba Secondary School in Monze. Thanks to Helen's efforts last Saturday £700 has been raised towards Ketty's education. Another £200 will cover her costs until she completes her secondary education. If you would like to help us pay for Ketty's education you can donate at Helen's 50 Miler
In August a number of HATW volunteers will visit PIZZ School to help run a Holiday Club. At the moment there is some doubt as to whether I will be there at that time. I am looking forward to returning to my second home before long. There is a lot to catch up with and I can't wait to enjoy some of the local produce with my friends.