Thursday 29th October
During the past week or so I have noticed the European swallows being more obvious. Perhaps this year they left home a little later than usual and have just arrived. Here they mark the start of the rainy season as they join the resident swallows and swifts enjoying the plentiful supply of insects that come with the rain.
I expected to do a lot of walking this morning, however after a couple of kilometres to Moonlite Guest House to meet with Mrs. Chiiya, I was treated to car rides for a site visit with Mrs. Sianga and then dropped back home.
I was asked today whether I considered my visit this year to be successful. I wasn't sure how to reply at the time, but having thought about it for a while, I think that I have learnt a lot this year. I have always believed that whatever happens here should be a two way process. Very often there is a tendency to think about what we have done to make changes here, however it is also very important to look at how we are changed by the experience ourselves. The fact that I have learnt a lot means that I am more likely to be able to guide changes here in a more appropriate way.
Today I arranged to meet up with Jennipher to explore what we could do to sort out her well. She had established a good contact at LADA – an NGO operating in and around Monze. Unfortunately the contact was not in, but another lady listened to the issues surrounding the well. She then rang Ainutu who spoke to both Jennipher and myself. Jennipher had obviously made an impression because Ainutu is very keen to help. She is going to be away until December but is keen to work with me to ensure that the well is renovated then – if it is possible at that time. She said she would mail me and I agreed to tell her what advice we get from DAPP who have specialists in well building.
Our next trip then was to DAPP (another NGO). The usual entry to the building was partially blocked and eventually we found out that DAPP had moved and this was now a private house that we were trying to enter! So we now had a bit further to walk. The new DAPP offices were by the maize silos to the North of the town. The maize silos still dominate the skyline in Monze though they haven't been used for more than 15 years now. I still remember being taken to top of the silos in 2004 by Reagan for a wonderful panoramic view of Monze. Unfortunately the DAPP guy who deals with wells is at the office at Water Affairs - probably 4 or 5 kilometres to the West of town! I agreed with Jennipher this was a bit far for today, so I will see if I can manage by phone.
I am hopeful that we will be able to come to a good solution with support from each of us. I am particularly pleased to see that Jennipher is beginning to receive support from local NGOs for her groups. She tells me she is now properly registered and expects her support groups to receive some food, seed, fertilizer etc. soon.
Jennipher also has had some income generating ideas from her group members. There is an idea to make school uniforms – one member has a sewing machine, another idea is to sell goods from a shop that has been left to another member after her father died. As usual the issue is getting some starting capital to begin the process.
Jennipher has recently been asked to plant a tree in the District grounds because she was one of the first people to be put on ARVs (and the only one of the initial group still surviving). I don't know whether they will put a plaque by it. Anyway Jennipher wants to plant it before I go and to have plenty of photos! - if I get the facility back on the blog I will certainly post a couple. (It was a mistake to boast how I had cracked the issue of placing photos within my blog!)
For the past hour or so the power has been off. Fortunately I got my cooking in early this evening. I have a few minutes of battery life left so I will probably see if I can beat the computer at Hearts.