Friday, April 16, 2010

Get Well Soon

Wednesday 14th April

As always, as I move towards the end of my trip – only just over two weeks before I leave for the UK - life becomes progressively more hectic.

I will leave a lot of unfinished business, but that is the nature of my visits.

I spent much of Saturday afternoon and evening on the computer recording the details of the past few days for those back home. On Sunday I went to Our Lady of the Wayside for mass and then joined St. Veronica’s Small Christian Community for prayers and reflection in the afternoon. I had brought some pictures taken of the outside and the interior of our church in Cheltenham. It is a building that is 150 years old and full of statues and stained glass – very different from the plain churches here in Monze. Most of the people here were keen to have copies of the photos that were close–ups of the statues of Mary, Jesus and Joseph. I must try to obtain copies. After prayers I was invited back for tea by Angela and we were joined by Simon and Kennedy. As seems to be the tradition here, the milk is already with the tea in the pot. We had some dry bread to accompany it. When I first introduced Jennipher to sandwiches she was amused – the idea of putting something between slices of bread was new to her. (She now enjoys my sandwiches – especially egg mayonnaise.)

Monday I left the house before 10 hrs and didn’t return until after 18.30. I met with Charles at his house and we talked about many things including politics and the future of the world! Like me, Charles is keen to make use of the abundant power of the sun. I think I should send out a challenge for someone to make the first solar-powered wheelchair!

After leaving Charles at about 16 hrs I returned with Reymond who introduced me to some of their project’s clients on the way home. They are mainly elderly and disabled people who receive a little food and second-hand clothes from the PEASSA project. It is always humbling to meet people who really have next to nothing and often are surviving with enormous difficulty. They were all very pleased to meet me and responded with a lot of character and sense of humour. Erica has recently had a stroke but cannot afford a wheelchair so drags herself around he home. Another client could see very little, yet was busy finding bits of grass on the ground around his house, which he removed to keep it looking tidy. Another client who has a wheelchair I was told had lost part of his leg and parts of fingers and toes due to leprosy. Leprosy still exists here in Zambia – though I think it is becoming rarer. I regularly come across people who have disfigurements that I assume to be the result of leprosy. The disease can now be easily treated and so is not the terrible scourge that it once was. Sylvester was one of the people who wrote details of his life which Charles gave to me on my previous visit. One day I hope to publish some of the stories. It was good to see the person and to tell him how much his story was appreciated.

Yesterday I spent a while in the Internet Café and sent Dilys a plant as a get well gesture. She has been ill over the past couple of weeks and her trip to Wales for a holiday was brought to an abrupt halt. My son Paul had to travel to Wales and drive her back because she wasn’t fit to drive. At last she has been given antibiotics – I think that if she had them two weeks ago she might have had a good break and almost certainly wouldn’t have suffered a burst ear-drum.

I spent some time in the afternoon looking at the projects database and realising just how much work I have let myself into.

In the evening I met up with Edward who I have come to know over the years. He was the headmaster of Monze Basic where I had involvement with some projects. He is now retired but has been waiting nearly a year for the bureaucracy to be sorted out before he receives a pension or gratuity. In the meantime he has no income. This seems to be the usual way government pensions are dealt with – before the debt cancellation it could be many years and some died before receiving any benefits.

We went to the local bar which is frequented by the wealthier people in the community and a few white Zambians – it is not my usual choice but it is Edward’s local.

Today I did a bit of work in respect of the Kaliyangile project in Chisamba. This is the main reason for my early trip this year and there are certain things that I want to achieve there before my return to the UK.

This afternoon I went to see Sr. Juunza who is currently trying to run both the Human Resources and Administration Departments at the hospital. It seems that the former Human Resources Manager has returned from study and will resume that role and she will concentrate on the Administration Department. Although not doing much work at the hospital this year, I am keen to make sure people there are aware that I am still willing to become involved and I believe there is a lot I can offer to support the hospital management.

I then spent some time in the Stores with Teddy and we managed to increase the internal memory of their computer. It now opens a little quicker but the memory is still low for a system using Windows XP.

I had some discussions with Ian about the history of Africa and the current wars that are being waged. His contention is that ‘white’ people are not fighting wars with other ‘white’ people but with people of colour – black or Arabic.

I popped to the chapel for an evening mass and returned to supper at which I invited Diven to join me. Teddy was planning to come around or a chat but got caught by a visitor before he left home.

I have a small window now to do a little more on the database before I call it a day and prepare for bed.

So goodnight,


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