Saturday, May 14, 2016

My mission in Monze

                                                            Paul, Grand and Delia

Saturday 14th May – 14hrs

I will try to quickly catch up on events. Power went again after about an hour this afternoon but has now returned.

Yesterday I arose at about 8 am and met Mrs. Sianga at the Finance Bank. My copy letter was too faint to scan and send to Lusaka, so we needed to find an internet cafe which operated without mains power! Fortunately in one of the back roads we found a 'Solar powered cafe'. To which Mrs. Sianga remarked – we can run the computers using solar!! The money hasn't arrived but the bank is at least chasing it. We will check on Monday. At least there are few queues at Finance Bank and Mrs. Sianga has access to the manager so you don't have to waste half a day per visit as can happen.

I picked up a few items and was pleased to get money out of the ATM. Last year they didn't give me money during power cuts!!

Time to settle in! There was plenty to do catching up with e-mails. I made my self some guacamole sandwiches for lunch. It is nice to have fresh produce – I haven't seen avocados growing in Cheltenham!. I was surprised to pay 8 kwacha for an avocado (about 60p) but it is worth it. I couldn't find a lime or lemon and didn't risk the oil I found in the house, but it still tasted good.

Diven had taken his wife to the clinic and he popped around afterwards. He enjoyed guacamole sandwiches for the first time.

Mrs Sianga called around to help me with a report I needed to send for Global Giving with regard to the school meals. I took the opportunity to lighten a case and gave her some footballs and some knitted blankets.

Its amazing how time flies! I made myself some scrambled eggs with rice, onions and tomatoes – a quick standby – did some work on the internet and it was time for bed!!

No early morning calls or appointments this morning. I have spent my time writing the blog and reading when my laptop battery has gone flat. I have managed to book accommodation in Lusaka for David and myself when he arrives at the beginning of June. I am also charging my solar devices – the phone charger, security light, two smaller lights – one with a radio and a separate radio. I spent a little while sitting outside reading – it is particularly good to have this option. The house is quite dull inside because of all the surrounding trees, but in the garden it is bright and airy and I feel my spirit rise. (Very appropriate with Pentecost Sunday tomorrow.)

Obert rang earlier. Some years back I was walking down the road from Our Lady of the Wayside and a teenager came to me and said “I have a problem”. This is not as unusual approach. I try not to ignore people, but listen to their stories. He told me that his problem was that one of his legs had grown but the other, being artificial, had not. He needed another leg or his current one extending. It is difficult when you are constantly approached by people with real needs. I couldn't help, but promised to spread the word. Back in the UK, I mentioned the issue to a friend and he gave me the money for a new leg. I only knew his name was Obert and it took me a couple of years to find him! Obert got his new leg and the other extended, he finished his education, took lessons and obtained a driving licence. I know his family and he has become another friend – he will probably join me for supper tonight.

I will continue – it is now 19.20

I can easily forget so much about my life in Zambia. This afternoon helped me to remember!

This afternoon I had agreed to visit Diven and see his wife Delia and young son Paul. Not unusually I couldn't reach him on his phone – I think he needs a new one! I decided to set off, calling into the market en-route. My main target was the lady with the spices who refers to me as her other husband. I was passing into the market when I was called to a shop. The lady seemed to know me and I thought I knew her! I think I confused her with someone else because she didn't respond when I talked about the church. Anyway she told me she was struggling and couldn't afford school fees for her children. I bought a few items I needed and told her that unfortunately I cannot support everyone in Monze. Everyday I will be asked several times to sponsor someone as well as getting many demands for money for food. It is difficult, though necessary, to say no.

I was disappointed that my “wife” was not around. I have known her for years and bought tomatoes and onions as well as spices from her. I wanted to get my tailor Ireen to make Dilys a dress but I only picked up a single chitenge and needed another matching piece. Having described the chitenge material she helped me locate the stall in the market to get a second piece. She is very useful if I am not sure where I can buy something- and we always share a good bit of banter.

                                                                                                                     A local stall

When it appeared that the stallholder wasn't going to appear another lady came and supplied me with spices, garlic and ginger from my friend's stall.

I decided to take a short cut from the market – not always a good move for me!! I was soon greeted by someone I wanted to meet last year but failed to contact. I knew her and her husband well, through the church. A few years back the husband beat his daughter so badly that she died from the injuries. He was charged and his wife and another daughter (who witnessed the incident) attended court. He was convicted of manslaughter and was given a prison sentence of several years. Despite everything the wife didn't desert her husband and visited him in jail. (a couple of years ago I visited him along with her at Mazabuka prison). Last year he was given an early release. I met him on a few occasions both at the church and near the house where I was staying. He is currently living separate from his wife.

We stood and talked for a half hour or more. I was mainly listening. She told me she has forgiven him a long time ago and hopes one day they will be together again. It is a very difficult situation with some people blaming her for his conviction. I pray that one day all will be made good and that the spirit of love prevails. I will continue to try to be a friend to both husband and wife.

I was pleased to have taken what turned out to be a very long short cut – the Lord works in mysterious ways.

Eventually I found my way to Diven's house where I found Delia and Paul sitting on the ground. Delia looked much healthier than I had expected and Paul looked like a bundle of fun. Diven also introduced me to his father who was staying in Diven's second room. Apparently in Zambia your father's brother is also your father!! This is the case in this instance. I have always had some difficulty with the relationships in Zambia. Brothers and sisters are often what we call cousins and anyone from the same tribe is a cousin!

                       Delia and Paul

I chatted to Diven and Delia and played with Paul. Paul even took a picture with my camera – a budding photographer, see what you think!! I was not only impressed with the bond between Delia and Paul, but also Paul's relationship with his grandfather – or great uncle! 



                                                                                                                Paul takes his first photo

Diven had some work done to prevent water from the roof of the shop next door from flooding his shop and house. It is an impressive bit of construction which he tells me works very well. We discussed Diven's plans for securing his property before I made my way. I was already being paged by Raymond who was waiting at home for me.

                                                             The house with drainage system
A few yards along the road a guy shouted greetings to me. I didn't recognise him even when he talked about music and DVDs. It turned out to be Boniface. I met Boniface last year, though I had heard of him before and he will have known me, because he was a student at PIZZ School. Boniface didn't complete his studies, but he is a talented musician and decided to earn his money through music. Last year he made a video and wrote a song celebrating PIZZ School. You can see and hear it on YouTube 

Boniface is keen to get his music recognised. I am sure he has talent and would encourage anyone to listen to his music and if you can do anything to promote him, please let me know. We exchanged phone numbers and agreed to meet.

I arrived at Homecraft to be told that their was a man and woman waiting for me. Raymond was with a lady. Obert rang and found us, but Raymond wanted a few moments of privacy. I was wondering about the young lady and was ashamed eventually to realise that it was his fiancée, who he had said he would bring around after I asked him to introduce her to me. It must be old age!!

Raymond doesn't miss anything and quickly homed in on the various solar devices on show – telling me he would have one of the lights. (Raymond has never been subtle). They chatted for a while over some squash – I was aware of Obert outside and so didn't boil the kettle (well at the moment it is still a pan!). Obert eventually said he would return tomorrow – he isn't keen on cycling long after dark. I promised him an undisturbed slot!


Raymond collected the battery charger and mouse he and Charles had asked for and departed with his fiancée. He rang later to ask me if I approved of his fiancée! Charles is the director of the PEASSA project. He had a stroke some years back and needs to use a wheelchair. Charles and I discuss everything from politics (worldwide and local) to the running of his project and the meaning of life! I look forward to these discussions. Charles is currently away on a course despite having another stroke and being quite ill during the past year.
                                                                                                 Local Children

I received a call from Bright a few minutes ago, word must have spread! Bright is a gentle man who works at the hospital. Last year he was working as a cleaner at the mortuary, he has also been acting as a security guard. He has a son Brian with hearing difficulties. Brian has been at a special school where he has developed very well passing all his exams. Last year Best took me to his house which he has been building. He has a decent sized plot and has ambitions to build himself a big house. A smaller building is already in place for his family. Like many people here Bright does most of the building work himself. He is very resourceful and determined to provide well for his family despite his relatively lowly paid position.

I agreed to be in touch with Bright and meet him early next week.

It is good to have many friends here in Monze, but it does lead to a busy life and since everyone has their challenges, it is also be demanding. You can perhaps see why I need to have my own house and be in the centre of town. However feel very privileged to to be able to share my life with the people here and wouldn't want it any other way.

With my love and prayers especially as we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit this Pentecost,


              The Simungalu family

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