As I sit in the departure lounge at Heathrow Terminal 5, awaiting my British Airways flight, I wonder what I have forgotten this time! I am aware that I have forgotten to leave my plastic cards and I am wishing that I had changed into my sandals for the flight – but otherwise I am blissfully unaware of what wont hit me when I arrive in Zambia.
The security seems to be more of a pain each time. We were instructed – rather roughly, to take off belts, high heeled shoes and boots, jackets and to put everything in baskets – laptops in separate baskets etc. etc. We then had to grab the baskets before they disappeared down a hole. At the end of the process I felt rather annoyed and slightly abused.
Anyway I have now dressed again and sorted myself out with a pot of Earl Grey tea.
I arrived at Heathrow by bus because it seemed that Dilys would have difficulty taking me. As it happened changes would have allowed her to give me a lift. Having bought the coach ticket we kept to plan A.
As usual the last couple of days have been manic, trying to buy last minute items and contact people I should have been in touch with weeks ago. I have failed in my quest for a digital photo frame that runs on AA batteries! If anyone knows of one please let me know. It dawned on me that a number of my friends now have digital cameras with rechargeable batteries and solar powered chargers. So they have no problem taking pictures. However, they cannot afford to print them so they cannot currently see the photos they take – until my visit after next! Without mains power it is difficult – hence the AA powered photo frame.
Yesterday I visited Winston's Wish who specialise in supporting bereaved children. Dilys did wonderful work in this area in 2006 and it has made a significant impact in the way child bereavement is now dealt with. (As you will imagine this is a massive issue in Zambia.) I had a very positive discussion with one of the staff who handed over a box full of pamphlets – lucky my baggage allowance is so generous! - and asked to be kept informed about progress. I also managed to see the Volunteer Co-ordinator at Leonard Cheshire Disability on a separate matter. Of course conversation moved to Zambia and he was also very interested. If I get an opportunity I will try to visit Leonard Cheshire in Zambia. He would like me to give the residents in Cheltenham a talk when I get back anyway.
My other visit yesterday was to see my friend Mary who has typed up the reflections of three elderly Zambians on their lives. I hope we will be able to produce a booklet sometime with these and other reflections and stories.
It won't be long now before I have to go to the boarding gate so I will leave it there for now.
With my love and prayers – please also pray for me,