Tuesday, March 23, 2010

At last a little sun

Today I was able to enjoy a little sun. On my previous trips I have probably experienced as much time without sun (in total) as I have in the past 4 days!It was therefore wonderful to enjoy a little sun this afternoon and see Zambia at it's best – if we ignore the new rivers and lakes surrounding the town.

I was surprised when Davidson told me mass started at 8 hours. In Monze I usually attend Sunday mass at 9.30 or 10 hrs. We arrived just after 8 but were in time. Davidson is in the choir and therefore couldn't afford to be late. Mass was not as lively as I am used to in Monze and no one danced! However the choir sang well. Before mass the visitors – a group of nuns and myself - were introduced to the congregation.

People are very much more sociable than back in the UK. You cannot move around without people greeting you. Davidson seems to know everyone in Chisamba and carries on numerous conversations as he passes by. I now seem to had acquired a number of friends and get greeted regularly as I move around the town. Many people have suffered from the flooding – one man told me that he had a small holding in one part of town and a house in another – both were under water. As I spoke to Moses, the Chief Commissioner for the area introduced herself to me. There are many senior people in Chisamba investigating the flooding and people hope they will also bring solutions.

After mass we returned home and I had a relaxing few hours reading and watching some of the birds. The power lines are good perches and a bee eater joined the sparrows and swallows this afternoon. Another smaller bee eater – probably a 'little bee -eater” took advantage of the leaking water tank to enjoy a shower – it was so good he returned several times. Overhead black storks flew in small flocks.

I decide that it was time to hit the tracks on my own, so I headed for the market. There were a few things I needed to make my home fully functional – like waste bins and containers to thwart the army of ants that seem to have decided it's too wet outside. Enroute I was greeted by many people. I had an apology to make to Moses. As I left in November Moses handed me a note requesting support for a project run by his church the United Church of Zambia (UCZ) for orphaned children and vulnerable adults. I was meant to pass this on to Hands Around the World (HATW) but never checked whether they already had a copy. The church provides some clothes and extra food for these people, but talking to Moses he suggested that if they could buy an oil extractor the people would be able to help themselves by extracting oil from groundnuts and soya to make cooking oil. The cost of this equipment is £3,000 - £3,500. It is not something that HATW is likely to be able to help directly with but maybe a contact might be interested. The UCZ is part of a group of Christians that includes the Methodist church. It's possible that a church might be interested in supporting a project such as this.

With the assistance of some helpful stallholders I managed to find almost everything I was looking for – tea towels still elude me! I called into the Guest House and had a coke. There was a man originally from Zimbabwe and we got talking. He left 7 years ago, though his family is in Zimbabwe at the moment. He left with a white farmer who was employing him. He had nothing good to say about Mugabe who he says has destroyed the country. He works in Zambia in order to pay to educate his children in private schools back in Zimbabwe. He would love to return but not while Mugabe is still around.

On the way back I met a lady and we got talking about cooking. She tested me on the way to cook nshima and kapenta and seemed satisfied with my answers. She said she was pleased to see me because a white pastor came out and taught her a lot about God and I reminded her of him. She said she was keen to hear stories about England even if she could not visit the country. I told her that I was just as interested to here her stories – to which she answered that she had lots!

There is a tremendous richness here in the people and their culture. People have not lost the art of conversation – nor the desire which seems to be so lacking back home in England.

Karen (the tailor) made me some nshima with egg and vegetables this evening which saved me cooking. However time is still running away – so I will say goodnight.


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