Tuesday 16th November
I returned from Lusaka this evening and am writing this blog on a notebook given to me to pass on to someone here in Zambia.
I was feeling very proud of myself yesterday morning. I was very much in charge. The projects data had all been converted into thousands of records in my database Mrs. Sianga was very happy with her new laptop. Then it happened! I had just posted my blog when my ant-virus detected a virus and deleted some files. I then received a few error messages that I ignored, but found irritating. I decided to restart the computer and it went into a loop of starting and closing down before becoming in any way useful. I am told it is no longer necessary to have the installation or recovery disks to recover from a Windows system failure. If anyone out there knows how please could you tell me the secret!
So Monday didn't start well. With hehelp of Ubuntu I did what I should have done and produced a back-up copy of all the changes made since I left the UK and wrote a few letters to be sent by e-mail. Of course the modem does not support Ubuntu so my e-mail facility has also gone.
I remembered that I had an appointment with Charles at 10 hrs. He arrived by 10.30 and we headed for the project site about 15 km East of the town. A little maize has been started in the garden and some vegetables harvested. There have been some problems with insect attacks and insecticides have been used. Charles is learning about Conservation gardening and is gradually trying to introduce it in his projects. Natural remedies for insect problems are part of the plan but not yet being implemented.
We talked a little about Jatropha which Charles ad been encouraged to grow as a hedge, though animals stoped it from developing this year. Apparently he has been told that Jatropha destroys the soil and asked me what I thought. I said I would tend to trust the view of those teaching conservation farming - what did they think? They say it destroys the soil! Jatropha is grown for bio-fuel. I believe that bio-fuels are a means of allowing the 'developed countries' to do some creative accounting with carbon credits instead of reducing the amont of CO2 we throw into the atmosphere. Charles admitted that here in Zambia people are being thrown out of their homes so that Jatropha can be grown. Bio-fuels are no answer to Climate Change and if allowed to continue to develop will cause a lot more hunger in places like Zambia.
The ox-cart I bought for my father's second silver wedding anniversary is still going strong, though it will need new tyres soon and a bolt or too for the gate at the back.
We had a quick trip to the west before the taxi driver dropped me at Homecraft.
I decided to postpone an afternoon meeting till another day and instead did a little shopping, offloaded my last bottle ofoil of cloves and prepared for Lusaka.
I awoke at about 5.30 am and sorted myself out. I was surprised to find that by 6.20 am there were no buses outside Tooters. I don't think I have experienced this phenomenon before - except perhaps late at night. Occasionally things happen here on time - it appears that the 6 am buses leave at 6 am. When I enquired about the buses I gained another friend. Rasta said he worked at Tooters and had seen me sometimes having a meal with Diven and wasn't sure whether I was a doctor or a priest (or as it turns out neither of the above). He advised me against getting on a bus that had just come in because it would be rounding for a long time. (It isn't unusual to spend an hour or two waiting until the conductor had filled the bus - they don't leave until they are full. Under Rasta's guidance I caught a bus that left at about 6.50 am. I was at the CHAZ offices by 10 hrs and had left with all the documentation complete by 11.30 am. Immigration insist on a 'bank certified' cheque. As I haven't a account at a Zambian bank I leave it to CHAZ to sort it. However this process can take up to a week! I am hoping when the cheque arrives the man from CHAZ will beable to present the documents and get my receipt! A receipt here seems to be nearly as good as a permit.
I tried to send my mails but found the files had been corrupted. This did nothing to my general disquiet and anything to do with immigration doesn't help my stress levels.
Only on Saturday I was saying that when things start going wrong I often recognise the Lord at work. I suspect that i6.ts time for me to accept a little lesson in humility.
I met Best at lunchtime and we had a bite together. He has almost completed his course at college for a Diploma in Law. Best was sponsored in the last years at school by our parishioners in Cheltenham and has proved a very able and conscientious student. He has also done his best to contribute to his own costs by working during the holidays. He expects to have the opportunity to go on to University to study for a degree, however I can't see where the sponsorship will come from. He will need at least £2,000 a year for 3 or 4 years. (Although he has said that for £2,000 he could buy a car that afriend would use as a taxi. This would produce enough income to cover the costs of future years. This would only mean additional funding for one year and would save him the embarrassment of begging for funds. I have been struck by recent tales of two people faced with apparently impossible funding problems who have had the faith to say they would leave it to the Lord. I think perhaps I need to be the third! I am already frightened by how easily money is vanishing here!
I was expecting to meet with Justina but it wasn't to be, so Best directed me to the Inter City bus station and I caught Booker's Express which dropped me at The Golden Pillow at 18hrs.
I will try to send this tomorrow somehow.