Friday, July 11, 2014

A very special visit

Friday 11th July

I am very aware that an update to my blog is very much overdue.

Jennipher left the UK last week with over 400 photos – most relating to her 3 ½ week stay in the UK. I therefore have plenty of photos to share with you.

There are far too many photos and much too much to say to do justice in a single post – so I will give a very brief account of her visit and include a few photos now and over the next week or two I will add some photos and expand on some of the events, experiences and insights of this memorable visit.

I as said last time, it was a joy to have Jennipher with us. We had a packed schedule visiting places, meeting people and also trying to find a little time to just relax enjoy each others company and let her take in some of the English culture. Everyday was busy and for Jennipher each brought new amazing revelations. For me it made me focus even more on the differences between life here and in Zambia and how wrong it is that, in this world of plenty, people routinely go hungry and die as a result of poverty.

Jennipher is not one of the more more privileged African people who we generally see in England. Her background and current day to day life is among the poorest. Without support from Dilys and myself, she would regularly go hungry and her children would probably get no education. The contrast with what she experienced in the UK was unbelievable. She told people back home that she was eating like a princess and claimed to have put on 10 Kg (almost 25% of her total weight)
Of course we spoiled her, trying to ensure that she had everything she wanted while she was with us. The Lord played his part – the good weather had been ordered and, as predicted, we had an unusually fine period while she was with us.

At the end of her stay we helped her fill her cases to within an ounce or two of their maximum permitted weight and drove her to the airport. I failed to check her in online from Heathrow – though the exercise was completed and boarding passes were printed for Addis Abbaba. At the airport I was a little concerned that Jennipher seemed to be having long discussions at the check-in desk. I wondered what was wrong. Eventually she emerged and told me that the guy on the Ethiopian Airlines check in desk was a fellow Zambian and they were having a good chat in Bemba (one of the local languages). Once again I realised that I should have more faith – the Lord had everything in hand. She was assured that everything would be fine. Her luggage would be take all the way to Lusaka where she would collect it and she would be fine wit her hand luggage.

On the day before she left Jennipher was invited to listen to a local choir that Sheila (the artist) attends. They sang a number of African songs for her and Jennipher sang some for them – including one which she said they would sing when she returned. On her return many people would gather to greet her and they would sing this welcoming song. It is based upon the idea that when Jesus returned to heaven his father would have given him a special welcome and when anyone goes on a special journey they too deserve to be welcomed in the same way! It is wonderful to know that Jennipher was greeted back home last week with this song.