Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Livingstone & Victoria Falls

13th September 2011

At last I think that I am on the mend! Yesterday we had a trustees meeting for Hands Around the World and I am beginning to realise how much work I need to do! My involvement in Zambia and wider issues in connection with HATW do not finish when I leave Zambia. In fact I am almost as busy back here in the UK. I am aware that I need to get back in touch with a number of people - I missed some calls from Jennipher yesterday and need to follow that up.

So lets complete my 2011 Zambia blog by filling in the final few days.

The days during the final week or so were characterised by the customary bright sun and clear skies welcoming the day. The early mornings being pleasantly cool (perhaps 14°C or 15°C) and the temperatures then quickly rising to the upper twenties and low thirties. In fact very pleasant and uplifting weather.

We decided to go to mass at the chapel on the Sunday, despite Fr. Kenan having to say a later mass at the Cathedral. We had already told the parishioners at Our Lady of the Wayside that we wouldn't be around. We didn't want to be rushing and, to be honest, a service of an hour in English was a more comfortable prospect than a two hour Chitonga mass.

The original intention was to leave at about 10 hours and get to Livingstone at lunchtime – in the event we left after lunch and it was nearly 14hrs before we got underway.

Fr. Kenan's car had a few few problems and he therefore arranged that we swapped his car with his sister's 4x4 when we got to Choma. At Pemba we picked up Jennipher, who was waiting on the main road.

Somehow I had forgotten to bring my driving licence, but I did share some of the driving. We had arranged to stay at a lodge suggested by Judy's brother. On arrival we sorted out rooms and had a chance to freshen up. It was a change to have rooms with en-suite facilities (and televisions – even if the channel choice was a bit limited!!)

I thought we should enjoy something of Livingstone in the evening, so Fr. Kenan suggested we had a take-away, before heading to the “Waterfront”. It immediately struck me that we had entered a different world where most of the people had light skins and were tourists. One guy, who probably had too much to drink, made monkey noises as we arrived. It was only afterwards that I realised that this was a racist gesture – presumably directed at my friends. It is sad that such ignorant behaviour is still present, especially when it is directed at the local people.

Ignoring this, we settled on some stools at the edge of the Zambezi and enjoyed a drink looking out at the boats and very different scenery to that which we had been accustomed. It was a pleasure to have Fr. Kenan and Jennipher with us – people who we have come to know over the years and who have become a very important part of our life and our worldwide family.

We relaxed for an hour or more before returning to the lodge. Fr. Kenan and myself chatted for some time while Dilys, Jennipher and Amy settled into their new surroundings. Fr. Kenan was not feeling on top form but felt he had things under control.

We had agreed to meet for breakfast at 8 hrs. We had planned a very full day and wanted an early start. In the event it was nearly 10 hrs when we arrived at the 'Game Park'. Somehow I knew that it would be a special day – the later than intended start didn't worry me. While I sorted out the entrance processes with Fr. Kenan, Jennipher joined Amy and Dilys watching hippos in the Zambezi! The vehicle we had proved ideal for the conditions we found. The roads were not too bad, but a four wheel drive with a high wheel base was a distinct advantage. The open roof was also a great benefit – allowing Amy and me to get a very good view from the top of the vehicle. Amy and Jennipher seemed to have exceptional eyesight spotting animals that took us a long time to see. Very quickly we saw herds of impala and had some good views, Fr. Kenan spotted a herd of buffalo not far away. On several trips to Lochinvar and previous visits to Livingstone I have failed to spot buffalo, so for me this was a particular delight. Jennipher was an expert at spotting Giraffes, which blended so well with the trees that it was only with patience that she enabled us to observe what she saw so clearly. At one time she told us that there were two giraffes – one a baby lying down. I couldn't see either, but eventually Fr. Kenan managed to manoeuvre the car to enable us to get a clear view. It's the first time I have seen a giraffe seated! The delights continued. I spotted some elephants, we passed some warthogs and came across a small herd of wilderbeest. We expected to meet some zebra but so far they had proved elusive. Fr. Kenan was debating which way to go and then decided to take a particular route, which felt right to him. I also felt we were going the right way and, sure enough, before long a small group of zebra were spotted not far from us. We continued for a while and then Fr. Kenan decided to turn around and try to find the wardens who would know where the white rhino would be. It had been a remarkable visit and I couldn't help recall the walks I used to do on the Cotswold Way. I had been used to doing circular walks – but this was not practical when following this long trail. I therefore got used to walking for 5- 10 miles, then turning around and returning along the same path. I grew to like this type of walk. In many ways the return walk was where the real benefit was. Though a bit weary, I would start back having left a lot of the cares and tensions with which I started. The journey became a bit familiar and comforting, but the perspective very different and it seemed that in many ways the walk mirrored my inner journey at that time. Turning around at the park again gave me hope – though I hardly thought that we could improve on our experience so far.

We were immediately rewarded with a herd of zebra very close to the car – we stopped for a while as they moved around us, crossing the road a few metres from the car. Eventually we found the park officers close to the Zambezi at one end of the park. One guy jumped aboard our vehicle with his gun and he directed Fr. Kenan. He told us to stop the car and asked if we could see the rhino. We saw nothing! He invited us to get out of the car and gave us some instructions about how to follow him towards the animals. Soon we spotted the rhinos in the distance. I had this experience in 2003 on my first visit and was not surprised when we gradually made our way to a place within about 20 metres of this huge animals. The warden called to them as we arrived and they raised there heads in acknowledgement.
It was a little difficult to realise that these were very powerful wild animals so close to us. Obviously the wardens know them very well and have even built up some sort of relationship with them. One of the rhinos was pregnant and the warden said they were increasing in numbers. He told me that they didn't attack cars. Though he then added that Gumboot – one of the animals I met last time – had died. Gumboot had taken to attacking cars and I think he had written off 49 when I met him!!

When returning with the warden we came across a herd of buffalo – some of us got out of the car to get a better look, but unfortunately they ran off before we could get close.

We said goodbye and headed out of the park, but not before we saw many more hippos – some on the island in the middle of the Zambezi and a small herd of elephants that were heading our way!

It was an unexpected delight for Amy to go 'on safari' – she was keen to let them know back home that she was experiencing something that friends had longed to have the opportunity to do.

On our way to Victoria Falls we met more elephants on side of the road. Fr. Kenan dropped us off and headed back to the lodge for an hour's rest. It was the first time for Amy to see the falls and Jennipher's first time to see them close – neither were disappointed by the spectacle. At this time of the year the amount of water can be disappointing, but perhaps because of the cooler weather and heavier late rains the falls were looking good. As Amy reminded her mother, these are the 'big' falls - beating Niagara in all aspects! There was enough water to produce the impressive rainbows for which Victoria falls are famous. There was also a pleasant spray which blessed us with precious water, which was refreshing and cooling in the hot sun. I couldn't help but look at very small sections of the waterfall and think how we would wax lyrical if we had something like that in our garden – here there were many thousands of such beautiful sections. In case we doubted that God was there offering his covenant, there was even a double rainbow at the end of our walk.

I was delighted to be able to share the experience with Jennipher, Amy and Dilys – it was a pity that Fr. Kenan wasn't up to joining us on this occasion.

The experience for Dilys was very different to that in 2006, when there was little water at the falls and we saw very few animals. The one animal that was absent from the Falls this time was the baboon. These had become a bit of a menace and I wonder whether steps had been taken to remove them.

We knew that we were cutting it fine when Fr. Kenan picked us up a little after 16hrs. He told us that he met a herd of elephants crossing the road on his way to the lodge – after waiting a while he followed the car in front which drove between them! We headed to the river to pick up a sunset cruise. There was not a lot of activity by the boat we had chosen. The site was pleasant with a small pool – which Amy looked at wishing she had come prepared for a swim – and tables overlooking the Zambezi. We were told that they did not intend to have a cruise that evening and we should have been in touch earlier. The staff rang a nearby cruise which was full and had left anyway. It appeared that we had missed out by ½ hour or so. I was a bit surprised that it appeared that the day would end in disappointment. Then we were told that it we waited a few minutes they would prepare the boat just for our small party! In the event a lady from Barcelona joined us to make a party of six people and three crew!

We were treated to views of hippos, elephants, giraffes, baboons and crocodiles as well as a variety of birds. The crew were very knowledgeable about the wildlife and we had their personal attention and traversed the river to get a better look at anything of interest. We had a brie (barbecue) of chicken and sausages and were supplied with any drinks we required. Altogether another wonderful and magical experience to complete a very special day.

We returned to the lodge very content. Fr. Kenan turned in early, while the rest of us enjoyed a game of cards.

We had intended visiting the museum and craft park on Tuesday morning, but unfortunately Dilys slipped on a mat and chipped a couple of teeth and Fr. Kenan was still suffering. I also had some things to do back in Monze, so we decided to go briefly into town and then make tracks back home. I was happy to do my fair share of driving and we tried to arrange to see Sr Christeta in Choma.

Sr. Christeta used to be in charge of the project for orphaned children at Monze Mission Hospital – Buntolo. Dilys met her in 2006 and they got on very well. She has since moved not far from Choma. Attempts to call her en-route to say we would be early failed. However, the Lord had everything in hand and, as we entered Choma, we noticed her walking along the road. She was with her sister and we all joined forces and went to a local café for a small meal.

It gave Dilys and Sr. Christeta a chance to catch up and for Amy to meet another amazing Zambian character. Sr. Christeta is the bubbliest Zambian I have ever met – probably the bubbliest person worldwide come to think of it! She seemed to be empowered by Dilys and her encouragement in the area of child bereavement. As a result of this Sr. Christeta has introduced some of the concepts into the work she does and has passed them on to the people now working at Buntola. Dilys started to realise just how much she was able to offer and with more time what she might be able to do. Maybe another year she will be able to follow up on some of these ideas.

We arrived back in Monze at about 16 hours and I immediately got to work. It was after 19.30 when we headed for the priests' house for supper. By this time I had covered a considerable distance visiting the hospital, District Office, convent and Mrs. Sianga's house (where I delivered a couple of laptops) among other places.

It was good not to have to cook in the evening, because there was still some packing and cleaning still to do.

I was up by 6 hrs on the Wednesday and, after mass, paid a visit to the bank, called around at the priests' house to say goodbye to Prudence and Gertrude who had looked after me so much during my stay, and tried to find Ireen who should have a couple of items ready for me. My activities continued non-stop until we left for the bus stop with Fr. Spencer at just after 9hrs. I found Ireen at the last minute but hadn't time to wait for her to sew on the buttons – I am sure we can cope with that little job!

Despite apparently booking seats on one of the buses we were told they were full and we were directed to another bus company recently established. In the event this turned out fine and before 10 hours we were on our way to Lusaka. A taxi took us to Longacres Lodge. I have a reasonable idea of taxi prices these days and negotiated the price at the top of my limit. The driver tried to get a tip but already had one as far as I was concerned. On the other hand the taxi driver who agreed to take us to the airport gave a very reasonable quote which I was happy to accept. Sometimes people will attempt to extract as much as possible from tourists – and this is understandable, but often they are very reasonable being happy to take a modest profit.

I was happy to help carry bags etc. all the way to our rooms, but having settled I felt only able to collapse and sleep. I suddenly realised that I had developed a nasty cough and cold and all my energy was sapped.

I had arranged to meet with Justina and she joined us for a drink in the afternoon when we discussed the emergence of LIFE Zambia. It was an opportunity for Dilys to meet Justina for the first time. Having eaten at lunchtime we popped across the road for a snack in the evening and I headed for my bed by 8 pm – something virtually unheard of.

We had no great rush in the morning but decided to order the taxi for 9.30 am after our breakfast. When we arrived at the airport we had to wait for an hour before checking in. The lift was out of order so I minded the bags while Dilys and Amy had a drink in the cocktail lounge. I swapped with Dilys for a short while and played a game of pool with Amy.

Unlike my experience last year, we checked in very quickly and passed our time in the departure lounge before getting ready to board. We had not been able to check in on line from Lusaka – though it was now possible to check in for the onward flight from Johannesburg. We took advantage of the Internet Café in the departure lounge. This was fine except they had run out of paper! So often the experience in Zambia is that there is something missing! Like lack of lights in the hotel bathrooms! Fortunately a friend of Amy's had given her some paper. This we straightened and used to print our boarding cards!

I suspect that they have been influence by the British obsession with targets, so at the appointed time we passed the gate ready to board. For the next 40 minutes we waited – many of us sat on the floor - before progressing to another security check, another waiting area and finally being allowed to board the plane.

We had a good flight to Johannesburg, but the hour's queue at the transit desk was not what I wanted and I needed a long sit down to recover. Fortunately there was a small band with African xylophones and drums that entertained us during our wait. We finally moved to some very comfortable seats looking out at the planes, where we enjoyed a final drink in Africa before our flight home.

The flight home overnight was long but uneventful and we arrived to find Baby already at the airport.

It was good to be back, but I was feeling a bit sorry for myself and the tiredness didn't help.

It is only now that I am ready to start accessing the trip. I think in many ways it will mark a new phase – you will have to wait a little for more thoughts.

Best wishes


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Final Days in Monze

Sunday 11th September

Since retuning to the UK both Dilys and myself have been suffering from a very heavy cold and lack of energy. However, I think that it is time to try and describe the final week in Zambia.

On the Tuesday I had agreed to meet up with some of the students we are supporting through St. Gregory's church – Education Fund. Dilys wasn't well enough to join us, but Amy and myself made our way to the church at Manungu. We were late setting off and I was aware of the amount of walking etc. over the past few days – so we picked up a taxi for the couple of kilometres. In the event we still waited an hour before anyone arrived. Eventually three lads arrived – two were twins. It was a shame more hadn't made it, but it was good to talk to the guys who did arrive. Amy was able to describe some of the differences between schooling in the different countries – but perhaps what struck her most was the fact that students in Zambia seem to have high aspirations and a determination to do well at school which no longer seems present in the UK. It is so important that people have the chance of education in Zambia. The children we are supporting are unlikely to finish their education without our help. For some this could be the one opportunity they get to escape from a life defined by the poverty in which they find themselves. I am hoping that this is an area that we can expand when I return to the UK. Getting to know the students individually is important – it was as a result of such a meeting that we got to know Best, who is now working in Lusaka as a Legal Clerk.

Before we left the church Obert came up to us to say thanks for helping him get a new leg – which he proudly showed us. He was obviously coping with it very well. During the next few days both of his parents visited us to show their gratitude. Obert is obviously a very determined young man and I hope that he is very successful. With his new legs he is hardly disabled at all. However, there will be many who are not so lucky and without support they will not receive the artificial limbs they require. We walked back home after our meeting.

On Wednesday Amy wasn't feeling too good and decided not to join me for the trip to Lukamantano. This is the village on the banks of the lake formed by the Hichanga Dam. About twenty years ago a nun was supporting some people with physical disabilities and suggested that they set up this village to provide mutual support and to enable others to concentrate their efforts. Although I have visited before, I haven't properly met the community. I was therefore looking forward to the meeting and the opportunity to find out more about the place and the people.

Over the years many of the residents had established families and decided to start a community school, with the help of the Catholic Church. This has now become a focus for the community and also takes children from nearby villages. Some progress has been made to obtain government support – though they rely on the church to pay some of the staff costs. They are currently building a staff house, which they hope will enable them to obtain another government teacher – as always, funds are very difficult to obtain.

A number of the people in the village are starting gardens to provide vegetables – boreholes have been provided through the church and, with a solar pump, water is available throughout the village.

The people also make baskets and hats to produce a little income from the occasional visitors. There are of course many needs – including wheelchairs and other mobility aids. I am very glad to have had a chance to meet this community and hope to maintain the connection on future trips. It would be good to try to link the community, and perhaps the school, with groups in the UK.

Neither Amy and Dilys were on top form so I used the opportunity to catch up on the many little projects where I had more work to complete.

By Friday Dilys and Amy had to be better, because we had an appointment at Pemba. Jennipher was also just getting over a bout of malaria. In the morning we went to the children's ward where they had a group of children with HIV/AIDS coming for support and social activities. I left Dilys and Amy, and called to a few places in the hospital and convent where I had a few things to tidy up.

We were a little late setting out and, for the first time I can remember, there were no buses waiting to go Pemba. We waited ½ hour or so and still no progress. There are always buses outside Tooters going in the direction of Lusaka or Livingstone. On this Friday all the buses were heading towards Lusaka. I discovered that there had been riots in Lusaka that had held up all the buses , so I enquired about the cost of a taxi and agreed a realistic price. I think we might have waited another couple of hours, but for the taxi.

We were dropped at the 'lion' and contacted Jennipher. A couple of minutes later the taxi driver returned to say he had met Jennipher and would take us to her. We were met with singing, dancing and obvious joy! It was good for Amy to experience a proper Zambian welcome. I have already described our meeting with Jennipher and her groups. We returned to Monze on a Rosa bus. It seemed appropriate for Amy to experience the usual mode of transport. Though full the bus was not overfull for once!

Fr. Kenan decided to take us up on the pool session tentatively agreed earlier. So Amy and myself joined him for a couple of hours in the evening. Amy has hardly played before and turned in a very creditable performance. It is clear she is a girl of many talents – given the opportunity she will go far.

On Saturday afternoon I took Amy for a walk to the local dam and we sat down for a while in the quiet and peace of this little oasis. Unfortunately the elections meant that a car with loudspeakers brought us abruptly from our meditations! It was however good to introduce Amy to another aspect of my life in Monze. We saw a snake eagle overhead and for once the local children left us in peace – I think they were a bit intimidated by Amy and weren't sure how to react.

Saturday marked my last full day in Monze so for the rest of Saturday I tried to tidy up the very many bits and pieces still unfinished – with some success.

Our visit to Zambia was almost over, but a trip to Livingstone and Victoria Falls was important to conclude Amy's visit – so we made preparations for the trip as well as preparing to leave our accommodation in Monze.

The final episode of the trip will follow soon!


Friday, September 9, 2011

Wednesday 7th September

Jumping between different worlds can be difficult. Thinking back a couple of weeks to Monday 22nd August seems a little unreal. We had been very busy for a couple of days and took a chance to have an easy morning. In view of the likely schedule ahead, Amy asked Saki to call around for a while in the morning. It seemed that Saki had come to Monze specially to spend time with Amy. Her mother lives in Lusaka and we understand that she would usually have spent her holiday there. I was able to catch up on a few jobs for which I was very grateful.

Fr. Raphael had offered to take us to Chikuni – a town abut 30 km from Monze, where the first Christian missionary priests settled just over 100 years ago. The Jesuit priests are still very prominent in Chikuni. They have become very active in the fight against HIV/AIDS and have an impressive centre from where their activities are planned. As well as testing and counselling they have a large number of volunteers spread throughout their parish – their area extends 30 – 40 km from the centre. In general the Catholic Church in Zambia is very active in respect of voluntary services – in respect of HIV/AIDS support it provides a lot of very useful services. However, the set-up in Chikuni seems quite exceptional. I remember visiting some years previous and being similarly impressed.

One of the activities being undertaken is the drying of fruit and vegetables using solar driers. There are several at the centre and others being taken to the communities to provide a way of preserving food and generating some income. They are also providing boreholes and solar pumps and teaching conservation farming methods.

Our main reason for visiting Chikuni, however, was to visit the museum and cultural centre. The centre shows some of the cultural history of the Tonga people. I think it is a shame that so often the wisdom of our forefathers is lost. In the UK most of us have lost our connection with the natural world, it's moods and rhythms. At Chikuni they are trying to ensure that at least some of the history and way of life is recorded and preserved. They are trying also to collect and preserve some of the folk tales. It is interesting that in history so many people around the world came to similar conclusions – that we are custodians of a world where we should live in harmony with it's other inhabitants; there are forces much more powerful than ourselves which provide us with sun and rain, and ultimately on which our existence depends; there is also a belief that our life on earth is only a part of our existence and that in some way our ancestors can influence a greater power in our support. I believe in a God who was revealed through Jesus Christ, but also a God who has been revealed through many people and their religions throughout the ages. I think it is important to respect the many beliefs of the peoples throughout the world – we have a lot to learn. The ancient Tonga people and the Jesuit priests have a lot in common and both have something to teach us about how we should live today.

I enjoyed the opportunity to get out of town and travel for a while in the bush – the longer trip in the back of the pick-up was another highlight for Amy. On the way back we visited Fr. Raphael's parents at their farm. Apparently wild animals were common when he grew up, but, as it is not in a protected area, you are less likely to see anything these days. We were unlucky and had to make do with a few birds.

By the end of our trip Dilys was feeling weary – she thought she might be a bit dehydrated. In fact it was to become clear that she was suffering from dysentery or something very similar. For the next couple of days she was virtually confined to the house, thus making considerable inroads into her visit.


Monday, September 5, 2011


Monday 5th SeptemberI suppose that I should take up the story two weeks ago and fill in the final 10 days or so in Zambia. However, now that I am once more in the UK, I think it likely that I will follow themes rather than present a strict chronological diary.I returned home feeling weary and suffering from a heavy cold – very much accentuated my my habitual cough. As usual life became very hectic at the end of my visit and I think the frantic activity at the end took its toll.

I am coming around now, but only slowly am I able to assess my visit. Of course the first question I am asked is “was it a successful visit?” This is always difficult to answer – and, feeling ill and worn out, my responses are bound to be biased to the negative.Today I will concentrate on Jennipher. In 2006 I wrote Jennipher's story – which you can read on the HATW website www.hatw.org.uk. A lot has happened since then and an update is well overdue – something I will rectify soon.

Since Jennipher's family has, in many ways, become my family in Zambia, it seemed appropriate for Jennipher to spend some time with my Dilys and Amy when they arrived. It was not initially intended that Jennipher would meet them at the Airport. It seemed sensible to give her a lift to Lusaka to get the bicycle ambulance and, having made that decision, I knew that she should accompany us to the airport. The fact that the equipment fitted in the vehicle was a bonus, which gave her time to re-establish the friendship with Dilys and to get to know Amy.Over recent years Jennipher has developed an expertise in setting up AIDS support groups. She seems to understand the way to encourage people to become interested. She is good at getting the headmen involved and is becoming better at finding addition support locally and from NGOs.

This year HATW paid a formal visit to see what she is doing. An early result of which has been the provision of the bicycle ambulance. The bicycle ambulance has created a lot of interest. I have been keen to inform people in the Catholic Church as well local government, and people are eager to monitor how it works. A week last Friday, Dilys, Amy and myself were invited to Pemba. There we were guests of honour at a meeting where Jennipher had several support groups represented. (One group claimed to be based more than 100 kilometres away and yet was set up by Jennipher!) The bicycle ambulance took pride of place and was demonstrated by Soloman. The headman representing the chief headman said proudly that the bicycle ambulance was not Jennipher's nor was it for Lyaabe Support group, in fact it was not even for all the AIDS support groups, but it was for the whole community. Anyone who needed transport to a clinic or hospital could use it. He also thought it should be used to help transport coffins to the graveyard for burial, because this was also a problem they had. He believed that it would prove to be a valuable asset.In recent years when I have visited Jennipher, she has often brought together people from her support groups so that they can talk directly to me and I can can respond. I believe that this has helped to prevent misunderstandings and to reduce suspicions that Jennipher is involving me purely for her own personal benefit.

At the meeting on Friday there were many requests for support. The group from Hatontila said they had resources but they hadn't the manpower. They had water and the headman was willing to provide land for a garden, but they needed a treadle pump to pump the water from the lake. Other groups said they needed a few goats in order to start income generating schemes. Jennipher responded by saying that if they registered the groups, they would be able to gain access to funds to finance the sort of income generating projects they needed. For me this too showed great progress because Jennipher was seeing ways of spreading the burden of support.The meeting was at least a very different experience for Amy! When we arrived we were greeted by a group who welcomed us in song and led us in a musical procession to Jennipher's house where others took up the welcome with more songs and hymns that spoke of their delight that we had joined them. Amy was too shy to say too much, but reacted with courtesy and respect. She sat next to Dilys and myself on the three piece suite under the shade of a tall tree! Dilys and myself said a few words of introduction and I was asked for comments about what was discussed. I stressed the importance of registration and the value of working together in partnership. I said that if the groups could raise part of the registration fee, that I would agree to find the rest. Dilys finished by saying a little about child bereavement – the topic she had covered in more depth in 2006.

In the final week or so I had a chance to speak again with the manager from DATF. I was able to say a little more about the bicycle ambulance and Jennipher's plans. She agreed to help Jennipher with the process of registration – together with her colleague.Since arriving back home Jennipher has told me that her groups have already raised their portion of the registration fee, so I was able to forward the balance today via Western Union. Hopefully this should move the groups forward another step.It was important that Amy had a chance to visit Livingstone – and Victoria Falls – before she left Zambia. It was also right for her to have a little relaxation, to see the beauty and potential of this country and to have a little time to reflect on what she had seen in Monze. I was offered transport by Fr. Kenan and decided to use the opportunity to give Jennipher a 'different' experience. So on the last Sunday we picked Jennipher from Pemba on our way to Livingstone. I think that it proved to be a wonderful experience for all of us, but perhaps because it was new to both Amy and Jennipher I suspect they had a particularly memorable time.

You will have to wait for the details of the Livingstone trip – and some more photos!I feel that certainly with Jennipher's projects we have made good progress. I was delighted this year that Dilys and particularly Amy was able to join me.

Somehow Amy's presence made a lot of difference. Perhaps it is because she is of a different generation, perhaps the family made everything more friendly an less formal, in any case I was very proud to have my granddaughter share a very special part of my life. It has also strengthened the ties between our families.

Best wishes


Friday, September 2, 2011

Watch this Space

Friday 2nd September I have just returned to Cheltenham. So much happened during the past couple of weeks that I couldn't start to do justice to it now. So please be a little patient and over the next few days and weeks I will bring you up to date with the adventures of the Barrell family in Zambia. Take Care Chris