Friday, April 9, 2010

Back To Work

Thursday 8th April

We had a storm last night so this morning we have no power.

On Tuesday I started to do the rounds to start to see a few people and made some appointments, but first I called into the Internet Café to send a few mails and try to update my antivirus software.

I went to the hospital and arranged to meet with Dr. Mvula. He said that last year was very difficult because some grants needed to pay everything in the hospital didn’t come in at all. Now the grants they are receiving are less than last year and they have debts as a result of the problems last year. This has inevitably led to shortages – for instance if someone has a break or fracture they have to buy the plaster themselves.

I visited the Pharmacy and Teddy in the Information Office. His computer – running Windows 98 is still working and he told me the patients register now has about 30,000 names. Otherwise the computers seem to be in much the same state as I usually find them – suffering from viruses and lost data.

I met with Sr. Barbara in the afternoon to discuss the projects database. It is clear that a database is needed if the large quantity of data is to be properly analysed. The project is larger and complicated, but I hope to be able to sort something in the time available.

In the evening Chris – who used to be an accountant at the hospital – came around with a friend.

Yesterday I started by having another trip to the Internet Café because my antivirus software failed to update on Tuesday. I decided to try to reinstall – the initial installation download only took a few minutes, but when the subsequent download was predicted to take a further 3 or 4 hours I decided to abandon the idea. Fortunately on another attempt to update the original software I succeeded.

I arranged to meet with Sr. Rachael and Bridget who are looking after the hospital project for Orphaned and otherwise vulnerable children. I had brought some material from Winston’s Wish – the UK charity supporting bereaved children. I brought a few samples with me and agreed to bring the remainder around soon. A girl who came in 2008 on VSO was also with them and five of us piled into a taxi and went to Buntolo to check out the baskets that I think I am bringing back to the UK.

After lunch it was time to meet Sr. Lontia at St. Vincent’s School and talk about the slowly developing link with Christ College in Cheltenham. Both here and in Cheltenham people are keen to develop the link. Communication had been lost for a while with the Cheltenham end – my fault! – but hopefully we can now move forward again.

I was having difficulty contacting some people so I took the opportunity in the afternoon to go to the market and buy some chitenge material. There was a nice piece of material with traditional African scenes on it that I was attracted to. I asked where it was made and was told India! Apparently many of the chitenges are now made in India. Some are made in Tanzania but it is very difficult to find any manufactured in Zambia. I chose a few throughout the market and asked Ireen to choose one for a blouse for Dilys and another for a shirt for me. Ireen first made a shirt for me in 2004 and has made me one every year since. She lost her husband some years ago and works hard at her sewing machine to provide for her children and send them to school. She tells me that this year she is struggling. One of her sons has damaged his arm and she can only work in the afternoons since she is looking after him.

After making a meal in the evening I settled down for a couple of hours to revise the projects database.

Best wishes


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