Wednesday 22nd June
I was dropped off close to the Cathedral where I am currently staying. After I was welcomed and shown to my room, I decided to look more closely at my bag. I found that it had obviously been opened. When I checked inside, my laptop was missing. As far as I can tell, only the laptop itself has gone –even the bag and the adapter have been left.
I have managed to get access to a computer here at the priests’ house so, unlike yesterday, I can prepare my blog ‘offline’.
Enough of my woes! As always, I have been welcomed back to Zambia with open arms. I am currently being looked after very well by Fr. Kenan and the other priests and seminarians here in Monze. Yesterday I wandered around the town meeting many of my friends. At the hospital I only visited one office – that of the Medical Superintendant (formerly Executive Director). The current Superintendant was not present, but I was warmly greeted by Judy. Ian, Sichone, Mr. Longu, Hichali, Sebia, Teddy, Clara, Beatrice & Sr. Rachel were among the many who came to say hallo when they noticed me passing. Luke appeared with Jennipher and we made our way to the hospital tuck shop and sat down for a chat.
This year I remembered to bring out copies of the photos Jennipher took last time. She has had a digital camera for several years, but the cost of processing the pictures and the difficulties in sorting the pictures when you she hasn’t a computer makes it difficult to print the pictures. So each time I come here I take away a copy of the photos and print them in the UK. I therefore had about 200 pictures to pass onto her. I also brought a photobook containing photos of her family taken over the past 6 years. I caught up with the latest happenings. Emmanuel, who is probably about 2 years old now, has not been well and she is concerned about him, the rest of her family are doing OK. She continues to help establish HIV/AIDS support groups and is keen that I visit the latest one.
My friend Kris, back in England, asked me on Sunday if I would get Ireen to make him a shirt. So I wandered into the market and picked up some chitenge material that I hope is suitable. Jennipher was wearing a skirt and top made by Ireen and gave me some of the same material so that I can have a matching shirt. Ireen gave me a very warm welcome as usual and will start work on her ‘commissions’. She was delighted when I told her that Kris insisted on paying UK prices for the shirt. Irene told me that her son had started Secondary school and she had to borrow some of the money. It costs 760,000 kwacha a term (about £100) at the school he attends. She also has a sister who has diabetes and she is worried about being able to treat it. The sister is currently in Monze Hospital and is apparently getting insulin injections. I doubt whether regular insulin would be affordable and the advice here is very varied! For instance, she was persuaded to buy some coffee (at a very high price) because she was told that it was good medicine for diabetes. (There is an added ingredient in it, but I doubt whether that has any significant beneficial effect.) Ireen tells me if she could help her sister and pay for her son’s education she would have no worries!!
I met Diven and we lunched at Tooters. As usual Diven has had a lot of problems in recent months. He had a lot of items stolen from his house and shop while he was away, including his mattress -which during it’s removal caused the door of his house to be destroyed. It is going to be a hard struggle to get back to the position he was in when I left only last December.
This morning the sun is again shining and it is time I took some fresh air.