Saturday 27th June
I tried to contact the man from Zamtel yesterday morning, but as I received no reply I didn't bother to walk the couple of kilometres to check whether blank SIMs had arrived.
Mrs Sianga rang to say she had made an appointment to see some toilets. We took a taxi and picked up Mr Mweemba on the way to what turned out to be the Modern College of Education and Technology – a private teacher training college.
The first thing that hit me was a building with Ablutions written large on the side. We found the manager and he first described the system and then showed us around the toilet block which had flushing toilets and, on the girls side, also a shower.
I am not sure whether this is the most appropriate solution for PIZZ School, though the government seem to be pressing for such toilets. The manager then showed us a room of arts and crafts were some of the students work was displayed – including charts illustrating the alphabet, board dusters and a range of musical instruments. I was offered a drum – a bit too large to contemplate bringing back on the plane – but gratefully accepted a smaller drum.
I returned to PIZZ school where I met Boniface. Boniface was a student at PIZZ School. He didn't go on to do great things academically, but the school gave him the confidence to set out as a musician and he is now sort after to perform at various shows in the area. He appears every bit the musician! He has a great outgoing personality and is obviously a very confident man. He showed me, on his phone, a video that a friend of his had made of him singing one of his songs and I thought it was very good. (The friend seems to specialise in this sort of work). I suggested that maybe we could put a copy on YouTube and he liked the idea. I will try to sort it so that you can view it. Boniface has said that he will get this friend to make a video of the schoolchildren. I understand he has written, or is writing, a song about the school and how it helps people like him. I am hoping that this will help us promote the school. I also hope we can get some publicity for Boniface, who obviously has a talent.
I had offered some computer training – I had thought that it was for teachers doing training within the school. It appears that it has been offered to teachers, some of whom have no previous computing experience. I continued, but had to adapt my approach somewhat!
Deana and Martin were heading for Livingstone today. I had decided that it was time to wander down to the dam to relax a little. On the way I made a short detour to find a cap. I didn't go as far as the lady who promised the Zambia cap, but bought a plain green one. The guy claimed he could get someone to embroider Zambia on it! Maybe that is what the lady had in mind. If I see her and she has my cap I will of course buy that one too! For the time being I will make do with my plain green cap.
On the way to the dam I met a couple of old friends. Mr Lungu I had already seen in Tooters, but the other young man I couldn't place. It is always embarrassing when someone clearly knows me and I cannot recall who they are. Brian is Queen's son! It was probably 2005 or 2006. I was trying to find where St. Veronica's Small Christian Community were meeting and Brian acted as my guide. At that time he had stopped going to school because he couldn't afford the school fees. Some children from Our Lady of the Wayside were being supported, but not Brian. I met him a couple of times that year but I was sorry not to be able to help. He told me today that he is struggling. He has gone to Lusaka looking for work but they want to see certificates that he doesn't have. In Monze there is very little industry and even getting little bits of piecework is difficult. He does what most do – a little buying and selling. He wants to meet to talk more - so we exchanged phone numbers. I will listen to his story, but told him that I didn't want him to raise his hopes, as it was unlikely that I could help. He would like to return to school to finish his education.
On the way to the dam I met Diven briefly. He was going to listen to a preacher who was holding a 'crusade'. He told me there is a bit of a battle between the Seventh Day Adventists and the other Christians who have their services on a Sunday. It is a shame that which day we celebrate the Eucharist can be so divisive. I think we should all respect each other and the religion they practice. What really matters is how we live our lives, not our interpretation of a few words in the bible. I worry about 'crusades' especially when the preachers claim healing powers and very vulnerable people are encouraged to donate very generously!
At the dam I soon began to recognise some of the birds commonly seen there. Cattle Egrets are almost always present. I saw a couple of smaller birds out of the corner of my eye - the behaviour was so characteristic that I knew they were pied kingfishers. I later had a good view of one of these birds perched nearby. They hover above the lake before diving to catch their prey. African Jacana's were plentiful. The distinctive head pattern and trailing legs give them away as they pop out of the reeds briefly before submerging again beneath them. A gun shot rang out and the birds took to the skies, including a flock of African Openbilled Storks. I don't know the purpose of the gunshot there was no obvious target. A Great White Egret eventually returned to the lakeside.
After a few sandwiches Diven and Deliah arrived. My brother in law Roger had taken an interest in some of the tales about Diven, so I suggested that I introduce them to each other, using Skype. It was a successful session where they were able to see and talk to each other and connect in a way not possible at such a distance by other means. Diven suggested that Roger comes to Monze to paint his house. (I must confess encouraging him with this!) I am sure that Roger would enjoy such an experience – maybe one day it will come to pass.
I showed my guests some pictures taken last year when Jennipher was in England.
After tea I spoke to Dilys via Skype and she reminded me of a concert at the church in support of the Parish Projects – including the link with Our Lady of the Wayside, here in Monze. During their interval, I have just talked to some of my friends organising and attending the concertl – though only using the phone.
I never get a chance to get bored here in Zambia,