Monday 23rd May
I had an appointment with Diven at 10 hrs. Diven's property would be a rectangle but for a shop that sits immediately in front of his house and next to his shop. This arrangement is not very good and might cause some confusion. He hopes to acquire the other shop and eventually expand his business into it. The owner didn't appear, so the meeting was postponed.
I like to meet students sponsored by Hands Around the World and today some of the Secondary students came to PIZZ School to meet me.
It was a delight to see how the children are developing into young men and women. Most were very confident speaking in English and seemed very happy, having taken the next step in their education. To get to this stage all the children had overcome many challenges – only possible with the support provided by PIZZ school.
They will continue to have challenges. One girl suffers from severe epilepsy and her guardians struggle between traditional and modern medicine to control the symptoms. The old traditional ways are hard to give up, though often for severe diseases the modern medicine is the answer. There is a role for traditional herbal remedies etc. but too often people see the choice is one or other rather than seeing the strengths of each. With diseases such as AIDS however abandoning the Anti-retro-viral drugs usually proves fatal.
One boy is expected to support his family as well as attend school. So he fixes vehicles etc. after he leaves school. Mrs. Sianga says he feels the burden of his responsibilities very much and worries a lot about how he will put food on the table. He asked me if he would be supported to do a mechanics course. I can't promise anything, but I will try to ensure that he gets the training he needs after completing school – he certainly deserves it.
I met a familiar face! At first I didn't recognise her! Janes – our poster girl – has had her hair cut short so that she is almost unrecognisable – until you notice that sparkle in her eyes. We are now old friends and it is good to know that she continues to do well and is happy in her new school.
I saw a total of eight children this afternoon and enjoyed catching up with them. With new subjects some had revised their ideas of a possible career. It seems we have a number of doctors and accountants in the making! I am keen that every student has a chance to reach their potential. Funding the students at secondary school is a challenge – tertiary education or training courses is an even bigger challenge.
Hands Around the World has introduced funds where any donations specifically given for secondary or tertiary education can be held. However a lot more will be needed to meet the aspirations of these children. Having been involved myself in seeing Best grow into the role of a lawyer, I know how rewarding it can be to help someone become who they were born to be. Born in the UK instead of Zambia the chances might be different – although unfortunately being born into a poor family is having an increasingly effect, even in the UK.
Jennipher had been at my house for some time when I returned. She decided to use my broom to sweep around the outside of the house – she had promised to teach me how it should be done!! She has done a wonderful job clearing all the leaves and dust.
Tuesday 24th May
There are a lot of butterflies and other insects in my garden and the surrounding areas. Grasshoppers, crickets and locusts often fly rather than jump. Some don't quite seem to have the art and crash land – or just crash.
This morning I needed to get some documents printed before meeting Mrs. Sianga at 10 hrs. I went to the only internet cafe which works without mains power. All was going well, until I tried to print. The lights went off - as did all the computers. Power returned to the cafe (not the mains!) and I waited as the various computer systems were rebooted. Eventually my screen came to life. At this point I was informed that the laser printer took too much power and the other printer was out of ink!! The outcome was that I wouldn't get my printing here!
I decided to search and eventually gave the NAPSA building a try. A kind young woman allowed me to print from her computer, though the equipment needed restarting and then took further coaxing. I thanked her profusely and rushed to the bank where I was already overdue. This afternoon I found the flash drive seemed to have a virus – I hope it hasn't affected the machine of the Good Samaritan. I suspect that the internet cafe must have given me one of their viruses. Computer viruses are a major issue in Zambia – something I very rarely encounter in the UK.
The issue of the transferred funds continues! We were told the money has been returned because a wrong sort code was used. I am not hopeful that the issue is resolved.
Yesterday Mrs Sianga spent about four hours chasing this problem – it was less than two hours today. You need a lot of patience in Zambia – particular in relation to the banks!!
When I returned I met with Diven and we concluded the business scheduled for yesterday.
I continue to meet friends and people who know me from various connections – some from church say hallo. Children from PIZZ School also greet me.
I had another visit to make to the bank this afternoon. In fact I now know why everyone goes to bank in the morning! The banks shut early afternoon!! By the time I arrived the bank was closed and tomorrow is a holiday!!
I decided to have early supper. My expected visitor hasn't arrived so maybe I will have a restful hour or two before bed.