Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Joy of Interacting with People in Monze

Tuesday 30th June

It is still a great delight to wake to bright sunshine and clear blue skies.

The temperature is very pleasant – I would imagine just above 20°C for most of the day. The sun of course is still very hot. Back in Cheltenham the minimum temperature tonight is expected to be 21°C and tomorrow 28°C or 29°C is predicted!

I rang my man at Zamtel and was surprised to hear that the SIM cards had indeed arrived! So, after sorting a few things on the computer, I set off for town. I decided to take my time and enjoy the stroll. I walked with my shadow ever present reminding me of my God in whose image I am told I am made. It is great to interact with people and share some friendly banter. I have taken to walking down a road which has shops along it, and the people are beginning to get used to my frequent journeys to and from the crossroads. The children too are becoming used to me and call out their greetings, amid lovely smiles and much laughter.

My new SIM was obtained and installed in my phone – there was even 9 kwacha credit from last year. It is good to back on my familiar number – I expect a few friends will now get in touch.

I wanted to buy a few more mugs and to find some oil to stop the door squeaking. It has been impossible not to disturb the peace as you open and close the door to the corridor and since I tend to turn in later than others, I suspect sleep is being disturbed.

I called at a shop and asked for oil and was directed to another – however a tin of engine oil wasn't quite what I had in mind. I suggested that machine oil for sewing machines might be more appropriate and was told to go “behind”. I noticed that there were narrow alleys between some shops, but wasn't sure if I should use them, so I took a longer way around. I found an area I haven't come across before with a variety of shops and little businesses. I saw a tailor and asked were I could get oil, such as she might use for her sewing machine. She directed me to 'My Prayer Shop' – a shop I am very familiar with. I was told that it was “behind”. Again I took the longer route and was soon accompanied by a guy who had heard me ask and thought I was getting lost. He made sure that I found My Prayer Shop and obtained the oil. It is very typical of the people here to help as much as possible. They are happy to direct me to someone who has a product they don't sell, or will often go and buy it for me. I have even had people close their shop to accompany me to buy something.

After buying the oil the guy walked back a little way with me, then said he made pulpits and would I like to see. I walked to his little business were he was working with another guy, using metal and glass to make church lecterns, shop display cabinets, windows, door frames etc.

On the way home I called in at Homecraft which was my home in Monze for several years. Unfortunately my small flat is being turned into an office. I chatted for a while with Sr. Barbara about a variety of topics relating to the work done by Monze Projects and the world in general. A guy I had not met before came into the office. Patrice has taken over from Vincent and apparently has resurrected a database I produced a few years back for collecting and analysing the assets of the poor communities in Monze Diocese and he is using it. I will call around sometime to find out how it is working and see if there are any improvements I can make.

The rest of the day has been filled with a variety of visitors.

Warren and his wife came around to say goodbye to Martin, who leaves for the UK tomorrow. They brought a shirt made for Martin as a farewell present.

During the afternoon Jennipher called around with a friend. She has returned from Namibia were Sandra went for an operation. It seems that She is staying there for a few days to recover before returning to Livingstone, where she works as a nurse. We chatted for a while and Jennipher and her friend enjoyed some egg mayonnaise sandwiches. Jennipher mentioned that some baby shawls that a friend of mine provided, while Jennipher was in the UK, were very well received and are now keeping the babies nice and warm. A double pushchair again provided through a gift from another friend Jennipher met in the UK is making a big difference to a mother with two children, both of whom have disabilities. She is able to get out and even do a bit of business thanks to the pushchair.

Raymond popped around early evening with a note from Charles. The moon was getting brighter, the bright orange glow of sunset dimming and two bright stars appeared close in the sky – I suspect they are Mars and Venus. I took Raymond to observe the sky and he said he had intended to ask me about the stars which he noticed have been getting closer each night. (He knows that in the past I have taken an interest in the sky – I particularly enjoy seeing the Southern Cross.)

Later Charles, his wife, Precious and eventually her two brothers Andrew and Mike came to say goodbye.

So ends another day blessed by the people I meet here in Zambia.

With my love and prayers,


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