Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Bleak prospects ahead

Sunday 26th July

It's sad when you are addicted to tea and the morning provides no electricity. I don't seem to function properly until after a couple of brews! Today the power came on briefly at lunchtime, but didn't boil the water befor it went again. It was this evening before I received my first dose!

Yesterday I was reasonably free. I thought it about time to do a bit of cleaning – so I brushed the floors. It's amazing how much dust accumulates here. Now that the tarmac road is nearing completion that might reduce the dust, but I am not banking on it! I popped into town to make sure Jane wouldn't freeze at night. According to the BBC the temperature in Livingstone is expected to drop to 5°C during the week!

Luke was due at 14 hrs so I settled down preparing some presentation material for the Hands Around the World 21st Birthday Party on 8th August. I am sure that they'll find you a place if you want to come – contact details if you want to book are on the website: Hands Around the World I hope to see you there – I arrive back in the UK on 7th August!!

In the event Luke didn't make it in the afternoon, but Jennipher called. It has been discovered that Sandra's condition was worse than at first thought and Jennipher is very worried. After all the trauma she has suffered during the past year, Jennipher can do without another. She came around at about 17 hrs when I had agreed to pick up Diven and Delia. She needed to tell me the latest. She intends returning yet again to Livingstone for a few days, to be with Sandra who is now in hospital there - being cared for largely by her nursing friends in their time off.

I caught up with Diven a bit after I had intended and we headed for Tooters. Diven's leg is causing problems and he is limping badly. We settled down to chat over a meal and a few drinks – though I am the only one who drinks beer! Delia was happy to listen, but is not sure enough of her English to join in a lot. As usual we covered a range of topics and Diven is always fascinated to try to understand the behaviour of the English – though sometimes it is difficult to explain fully. For instance I am reading Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome written in 1889! This lead to me trying to explain some of my exploits in boats – such as hiring a yacht, getting stuck on a sandbank in one of the Norfolk Broads and the fun and games that ensued before being pulled free. For someone not familiar with boats, the Broads or England in 1889 there is much room for confusion!!

We returned by taxi – me because a long walk in the dark is probably not a great idea and Diven – who lives enroute – because his leg needed a rest.

I picked up a couple of e-mails Jane had sent earlier saying there were problems with her ticket and she might no longer have a valid one. Since it was only hours before her departure this looked serious, however David was on the case and I wasn't going to do a lot of good from here, so I just sat tight.

I arose this morning and checked to see if there was any communication. I checked Emirates flights and there were still seats available – but only in business class. I hoped they would recognise their mistake and, if they had sold her seat, they could give her an upgrade!! There being other information I continued to church and decided an extra prayer or two might help.

After mass I made my way back home - I have just about sorted a short route.. Before arriving I received a text from David saying all had been sorted with Jane's flight. I had about ½ before it was time to set of again – this time for St Veronica's Christian Community. I find it useful to reflect on a short Gospel passage. This week was about belief in Jesus – The Bread of Life. As Christians we all like to think we have this belief, yet so often we fail to recognise him at work in our lives. I have been reading a booklet with words of Mother Teresa of Calcutta – now recognised by my church as a saint. She says that the sisters have no income, no work, yet they feed thousands of people everyday – including 70,000 lepers. She recounts a day when a sister told her that there was nothing so they would be able to give nothing to the people for the next couple of days. Then by lunchtime all the schools were closed by the government and all their bread given to the sisters. I am sure she has many similar tales to tell. She says they people say they don't know where the food comes from – but she knows. It is amazing what God will do if you are working with Him. I know from my experience how He works – often in very small ways. Yet more often I don't notice him in my life.

Luke had been back in touch. I let him know I was again home and he came around with his daughter Charmaine.

We talked a lot about the situation in Zambia. He said that climate change was causing big problems – the changing weather patterns making it hard to grow the crops most Zambians rely on. The maize yield in Monze District this year is estimated at about 50% of that received last year – and that was not a good harvest. Luke says there will be a lot of hunger this year. Electricity shortages and no doubt water shortages in a few months, will cause hardship and further damage the economy. The government has borrowed a lot and spent it on local roads in towns such as Monze. The roads go nowhere and cost a fortune – yet the roads between small towns are still dirt tracks. Luke's assessment is that things here are getting worse and are set to become even more difficult for the vast majority of Zambians. Unfortunately I have to agree.


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