Talking to friends during the past month many have asked when I was travelling back to Zambia and at least one suggested that he knew I was about to leave!
The only way to stop the speculation seemed to be to book some flights!!
In just under 3 weeks I will once again head back to my second home. This year in particular I find myself getting excited by the prospect.
I need to start to prepare! The 'travel nurse' had a vacancy about three days before I travel – a little bit tight!! Fortunately further research meant that on Monday I went through the list of necessary vaccines with the nurse and, to my surprise, I find that I am up to date and need no extra jabs this year.
My 'new' camera arrived this morning thanks to e-bay. I have settled for Kodak cameras (6 megapixels+) running on aa batteries with a proper viewfinder. (You cannot see screens in the Zambian sunlight!) These cameras have always been adequate for my needs and are suitable to leave with friends with a stock of rechargeable batteries and, (if I can find one) a solar powered battery charger.
My favourite flat in Monze currently has tenants, so I had a word with Teddy who is on the case to find me somewhere to stay.
In Chisamba I might be lucky enough to stay in the old storeroom next to the chicken house and the cattle drinking trough. It was at Easter a couple of years back that this was fitted out for me with a bed and desk! It is wonderfully peaceful and though basic caters for my needs.
Last week I attended a training session in London designed to help with applying for UK visas. It was geared towards business visitor visas, but there was some information that might help me with another application for Jennipher. I spoke to one of the senior lawyers after the session who said he was willing to look at Jennipher's case and provide some advice. This could prove very useful.
We have at last had some beautiful sunny weather here in England. It was good to get into the garden over the weekend and see the world waking up after the winter sleep. The pond has a large healthy clump of frogspawn and the forsythia is in bloom.
When our son Paul was married 3 years ago, we used some small daffodils as part of the table decoration. These, now planted in the garden, were the first to bloom in the garden. I like to work with God and nature in my garden – so I delight in plants many regard as weeds! The profusion of celandine in the back garden always marks the beginning of Spring for me. The acer's bare branches are beginning to transformation as leaf buds develop day by day.
In Zambia the rain has been falling for the past four months and will have turned the barren landscape into luscious tropical beauty. I will arrive at the end of the rainy season and should be still around as the crops start being harvested.
For the second time I will spend Easter in Zambia. I look forward to sharing this the holiest of Christian celebrations with my Zambian friends.
I will have plenty to keep me busy on this trip.
PIZZ school is doing well, but there are always plenty of challenges. Mawini passed her grade 12 exams with the highest marks of all students at Namwala High School. She is a credit to PIZZ school and hopes to gain a place to study medicine.
There is all sorts of activity at Kaliyangile from bees to pigs, guinea fowl to fish farming! Just getting to grips with the programme will be a challenge.
Best is currently in Solwezi were he is on his final placement at the High Court before his final exams in May.
Diven is still busy selling Boom! He moved to a new shop in the market – I can't wait to see how his business is progressing.
Jennipher rang me today to say she wasn't very well and had been referred to UTH for treatment. She thinks it is a recurrence of a previous problem – which hopefully will respond to the correct medication. A few prayers wouldn't go amiss.
Obert is doing well with his driving lessons and wants to pick me up from the airport! I will be interested to know how he is managing to drive with his artificial leg!
There is a new bishop elect for Monze - Moses Hamungole – he will be installed in May while I will still be in the country. He was born in Kafue - between Monze and Lusaka. The current bishop Emilio Patriarca is from Italy and the diocese has benefitted from the support of the Italian community. I hope this support will continue with the new bishop.
Well, I better look for some anti-malarial tablets and begin to collect the usual goodies I am expected to bring out – such as numerous bars of Wrights coal tar soap and bottles of oil of cloves.
I have received numerous donations for my suitcases – just as well I can take 2 x 23kg bags.
I will try to update as my departure approaches.