Friday 3rd July
On Wednesday I spent the morning talking to some of the older children. Most had in fact left PIZZ School and were studying at local Secondary schools thanks to Hands Around the World funding.
I was struck by the difference from the children I saw a few days back. These were young men and women with confidence and ambition which had grown over the years out of the love and care they received from the school. A few told me how there lives had been changed by attending PIZZ School. Peter described himself as a street kid before he was encouraged by Mrs. Sianga to go back to school. He said that if he hadn't come to PIZZ School he might have been in jail – like others just like him. Last year he went to parliament in Lusaka on a school trip and this made him realise that if he worked hard he too could make something of himself. Emelda said that she would probably also have been a street kid if she didn't go to school – she said she might even have been dead, because the streets are very dangerous.
These children are all aspiring to a better life. Henry wants to be a journalist and he has agreed to write an article about his life. It is clear that there is a lot of potential and I will fight to get the funds needed for them to achieve their dreams - it is to change the lives of children like these that our charity exists. One of the children I met was Janes (pronounced Janice) who I took a photo of a few years back. The photo has been seen on the Hands Around the World website, Facebook pages and literature. Janes is now quite a young lady, still with the beaming smile and brimming full of confidence. When I told her that we were celebrating Hands Around the World's 21st birthday in August she said she wanted to send greetings. We made a short video in which she said a few words.
I returned home for lunch, to reflect on the morning and prepare for the computer session at 16 hrs.
The teachers seemed to have forgotten our appointment, but rallied around and we had a session from 16.30 with three of them. I had promised to talk about the Internet and show them some of its uses. I noticed that Jane was logged on when I opened Facebook, so we exchanged a few messages. Tom, Jane's son, helped run the Holiday Club at PIZZ School last year so it was very appropriate that the teachers were able to send their greetings.
Diven called around in the evening. He was having difficulty contacting me because I had moved to my new phone number and he hadn't picked up my text. I had made too much food as usual and I wasn't sure what time Deana would return after accompanying Martin to the airport. I was therefore glad of someone to share my meal.
Yesterday, after doing a bit of washing, I headed for the new school plot where I was meant to lay the first block for the foundations. There was no one about except for the guy who was delivering a truck load of sand. We chatted while I waited for Mrs. Sianga and the builder – mainly about the state of the economy and multinational companies who pay no taxes here! When they arrived it was decided to postpone the event until the slab was laid – I could then lay the first brick!
I pass Diven's shop on the way from PIZZ School, so I called around. The plot of land on which he has his buildings is shared by a shop. The way it has been split is likely to lead to problems in the long term which it would seem, will only be resolved by acquiring the shop and small strip of land adjoining it! I left Diven heading towards Charles house with more issues to contemplate.
I spent the next few hours with Charles – as usual we tried to sort out the world's problems. It was good to get a chance to catch up. Charles has been away a lot in recent years and I have missed our chats. Unfortunately his projects have all but collapsed and it will be a while before they are generating any significant income. I am not sure how his clients will manage in the meantime.
I called at a couple of banks – the first (Finance Bank) which gave me money last week for the first time since I started coming to Zambia, couldn't complete my transaction. Zanaco ATM outside the bank tried to give me money without asking for my pin number, but decided I asked for too much!! I was concerned that it was trying to charge the previous customer and moved on. Finally I tried another Zanaco ATM outside Food Royal. This time it seemed to want to give me money – started talking to me, but I didn't catch what it said, and eventually gave me my card back but no money. I am always a little concerned when no money emerges and there is no evidence to say that the transaction did not go through. (checking later on the internet it appeared that no money had left my account) I had let my cash drop to 30 – 40 kwacha (£3-£4) – not much to live on for the next few weeks even here! But I still wasn't going to give Barclays any commission – so I returned home hoping that Friday would bring me better luck!! The ATMs here are not terribly reliable. We had power off most of yesterday and I wonder whether that upset the systems.
Today, after sorting out which sponsored children I had seen, and updating my database. I accompanied Deana into town, taking her 'short cut' and emerging close to Food Royal. (I now know why she ends up using the ATM which doesn't give receipts!!)
We called in on Ireen who has made a great job of my shirt and just has the buttons to sew on. Finance Bank was in good form with two ATMs in working order and today it was happy to dispense my cash. This made me feel a lot better!
Finding no one at the priest's house I wandered back to the house – picking up a “moppa” on the way. Precious complained earlier that the house was dusty and needed washing. It is interesting what we see as needing cleaning. Here, a dusty floor or porch is unacceptable – many people will brush the dirt ground outside their house on a daily basis. Windows, ledges,sinks and baths however don't seem to be a priority. The result is that from both cultures we tend to look at each other's cleanliness and find it wanting!!
In the afternoon I went with Deana to Lushomo School. A broken down building last year has been replaced with a new smart three classroom block. We had particularly come to look at the toilets. Two compost toilets have been installed and I will be interested to see if they work as intended. I suspect the concept is not one familiar to many here. Not that many in the UK would have any experience either!
Unicef have dug some pit latrines though the area is low lying and the pits already have some water in the bottom.
I am still no wiser in being able to decide what is most appropriate at PIZZ School. I hope that Mrs. Sianga has a clearer idea.
This evening I offered to make my version of a spanish omelette. Charles, who is working with Deana on her projects, was just in time to sample a bit. It seemed to go down well.
Today has been cloudy, but tonight it was clear enough to see Mars and Venus beginning to move apart once more (thanks Lyn for confirming that indeed these are the early evening 'stars' we have been seeing recently). We could also enjoy the comforting presence of the Southern Cross that seems to me to be a sign of Gods presence and protection in this blessed land.