Monday 3rd August
Jane joined me on Saturday morning for a trip to visit Jennipher in Pemba. I gave in to pressure and jumped into a half empty bus and was surprised when it left Monze in the right direction – and even more surprised when it continued to Pemba.
We met Solomon at the lion and Jennipher joined us before we turned off towards their house. Selina, Maggie, Jennipher and Obadia met us and we spent some time with the family. Jennipher's herd of goats is increasing – she would have shown us the latest additions, but they were wandering somewhere in the bush!
I was able to deliver a replacement mobile phone charger for Jennipher and a solar light to go to one of the clinics which has no power. I hope that it will make a difference. The light is bright and should make it easier to deliver babies at night. An investment of £20-£25 might well result in a life saved! If it is successful I will consider trying to bring more in future – or see whether good solar lights can be purchased in Zambia.
We had agreed to watch birds at the small lake and dam in the afternoon. When we arrived there was a baptism service taking place and Deana sat down to watch. I showed some lads my binoculars, and as usual they were passed among them. We saw a large bird of prey – possibly a snake eagle. This circled the dam for a while and another bird of prey also turned up. The dam was busy with human activity but the bird life was less pronounced, however the African Jacanas, Great White Storks and a heron were around.
I rearranged my meeting with Fr. Clement to see him in town in order to have a chance to pick up some cash – unfortunately both Finance and Barclays banks refused. I chatted for a while with Fr. Clement and he then offered me a cup of tea – which I gratefully accepted. We went into the lounge where I met Fr. Fred, who is the parish priest. I was pleased that at last we had a chance to talk. Last year the volunteers stayed at the priest's house with Fr. Fred. After tea it was supper time and it would have been rude to have left at that point – even though I knew there was a curry waiting for me back home. Supper comprised nshima and goat offal, plus some vegetables. It is interesting that often the parts of the animal we find least appetising are often most prized here. (Fish heads – including the eyes! are also much valued.)
I am in danger of putting on weight!! It would again have been rude not to have taken a full helping of curry!! I noticed that my phone was no longer in my pocket when I was in the house, but hoped it would eventually turn up. A phone call suggested that at least it was still in service, though no one answered.
On Sunday Jane and Deana went to PIZZ School where children were receiving supplementary food. Mrs. Sianga has been trying to help as many orphaned children as possible. In the past, in addition to the school, she provided food for about 250 children with support from an organisation in Italy. This has been cut to just over 70 children recently. The children are given large bags – probably weighing nearly 30lb – which they carry home. Hopefully they benefit as well as other family members.
First thing – about 7hrs I rang my phone and Fr. Clement answered – so all was well!
I took the opportunity to brush and wash the floor while the others were out. I then picked Jane on the way to Our Lady of the Wayside. There were 24 baptisms of babies and young children, which provided a focus for the mass. The singing, drumming and dancing was good. I was asked to say a few words at the end of mass since I was about to leave.
Fr. Raphael produced my phone after mass and I spoke to some of the students that are supported through donations from St. Gregory's and St Thomas More's churches in Cheltenham.
I was due at St. Veronica's by 14 hrs which gave me 10 minutes after leaving Our Lady's. I decided to go home and have a cup of tea first. I showed Jane a short cut back, though she was very sceptical! I have to confess I didn't expect to see the main road after about 10 minutes!! We did get back on track eventually, but by the time I set out for St. Veronica's I knew I was unlikely to catch Queen – my guide – before she left. I decided to go anyway and wandered aimlessly around the compound. A guy asked me what I was doing and I told him. He had no idea where they were meeting, but knew someone who might know. A girl eventually showed me to where they were meeting. The session was just finishing, but I had a chance to say goodbye and say a final prayer with the community.
I was determined to make somosas for supper, but was delayed by trying to copy videos from CDs to a flash drive for Stella. ( a five minute job turned out to be a lot longer and eventually proved unsuccessful)
Raymond joined me as I was preparing supper and when the samosas were ready he helped me to ensure none were left over!
It is time to tidy my laptop as it will not be making the journey back to the UK. As usual it has been my main computer for the past year, so I need to be a little careful before deleting too much. The flash drive will be a lot easier to carry on the way back! I didn't believe that it would take 8 hours to copy the files – in the event this wasn't far wrong. I left it running when I went to bed.
I called on Diven this morning. Delia cooked some rice for me which I had with milk. I chatted to Diven about his shop and house.
For the rest of the day I have had visitors – or expected them!! By now a number have spent time with me chatting generally and saying goodbye. In between I have been tidying my laptop.
Tomorrow my laptop will be left with PIZZ School so this is likely to be the last post until I return back home.
Deana and Jane have taken me to Food Royal to 'celebrate' my departure. There were no chips so it was chicken nshima tonight.