Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Keeping in Touch

The days are flying. I will leave Monze in two weeks time and of course there is still much to do.

Monday 20th June

There was good news when we went in force to the bank. The money was located and is now in the correct account, ready to use.

Best rang to say he was on his way, making another very brief trip to Monze to pick up some papers. He has to travel to Malawi for a brief trip – checking on their legislative practice. He also gave me a task to provide my views on whether Zambia, who have adopted most of the British legal system, should continue to use it or develop their own way.

Diven was in dispute with his neighbour over drainage he had apparently built on the neighbour's land. I wanted to see the issue and try to find a solution if possible.

I find myself in all sorts of strange roles here in Zambia (actually its not just in Zambia!). I am asked to decide on building practice, suitability of brides, adoption issues, marital disputes and all manner of things. For the most part I say I am not qualified and I am then usually told the solution and I agree!! In this instance I was able to mediate and Diven is now making a narrower drainage ditch!

The location of Diven's shop is not ideal. In the rainy season the area around has often become a swamp. He is rightly concerned about protecting his property from water getting into the foundations. A new tarmacked road has some drainage which helps a lot, but last year it was overwhelmed and Diven's drainage coped with the excess. The neighbour might also be thankful for this provision.

Monze is interesting at dawn and dusk. During the day the place is full of stalls along the roads and marketplaces. At dusk the guys with their barrows come along and the stalls are packed away for the night. At dusk the process is reversed and the goods delivered to the stalls ready for another day of selling – or sitting. For an hour or so the stallholders carefully unpack their goods and lay them out for display. Some of these displays are very elaborate.

On the edge of the market is Mummy's Bakery.

It struck me when I walked through a part of the market selling mainly clothes – mostly secondhand – just how many stalls there are and how few customers. Many of the children at PIZZ School have guardians who are marketeers trying to sell amidst all the competition. Their return is very small.

Tuesday 21st June

The sun was furthest from us today – though that's not so far! The day was a little over 11hours with 11 hours of sunshine!

Load shedding is a thing of the past – that's tempting fate!! We haven't had a power cut now for three weeks or more. Those who are cynical might say that an election in just over a month might be significant – I won't comment. It will be interesting to see what happens after August 11th!

I had an appointment at Mukandu pre-school. Obert was to collect me at 9 or 10. At about 10.30 I rang to check and he had been diverted and was at a funeral. I thought we would time out, but he picked me up at about 11.30 am. When I visited a week or so back, I managed to delete all my photos. This time there were more children and Jennipher had decided to join us. The place is also the base for one of Jennipher's HIV/AIDS support groups.

Obert's wife Justina appeared with a bit of coaxing. Obert is currently working with a guy who bought two cars. Obert now has the use of one car more or less full time. He is gradually building up a customer base.

I was home in time for my next appointment. Bright wanted me to go to his house to see how his building work was progressing.

I visited last year when he was starting to build. He bought a good sized piece of land – probably 50 – 60 metres square. He has a small house, but is now building a four bedroomed property, making bricks with his wife and children and buying cement whenever he has some cash. The land is on the edge of town beyond PIZZ School. However, there are many properties being built in the area and soon it will be a Monze suburb.

Bright keeps pigeons – he told me that he bought 6 and now has 30! He says that they are for decoration! It is interesting that Soloman also keeps pigeons. He also has a few guinea fowl which produce eggs, and he intends to build a barn for broilers.

He fed me with beef and nshima and I enjoyed spending a while in this very peaceful place.

It was a good half hour's walk back home and I had another visitor waiting. George is a member of St. Veronica's Christian Community and has held various positions in the church. He has been away for a while, but is gradually getting back into the community. He is a builder by trade.

Her told me that he has been asked to do the building work for a little project we have at Our Lady of the Wayside – the installation of a oil pressing machine, for which we had been waiting for the money.. He doesn't think there is any chance of it being ready before I leave! I urged him to try!

Wednesday 22nd June

Good access to the internet (at a price!) allows me to keep abreast of the news back home. The referendum tomorrow seems to be a very close run thing. Dilys has a proxy voting card for me so that my vote can be cast. I worry that we could be entering a time of instability in the world. I fear that a vote to leave the EU would add to that instability. At a time when the world is becoming so much more connected to separate seems very strange. Personally I want to belong to the world in all its wonderful diversity. I am privileged to be able to spend a couple of months each year in Africa. I think we all gain from mixing with other cultures and sharing what riches we have. In this way all our lives are enriched. Isolating ourselves is life destroying and makes us less as people and nations. Let us hope that the vote tomorrow is for a nicer, more caring and understanding world.

I had a very productive meeting with Mr and Mrs Sianga this morning. When I arrived they were burdened by pressure from inspectors who demanded changes by the end of this month and issues with water provision and a list of other issues. We were able to go through everything and I am hopeful that we will be able to make very significant progress.

My data bundle is almost exhausted again!! I have switched off the major updates but still the data gets eaten. I just need to take the hit because regular access is important for me. Reporting what I find in real time is a significant part of my role here. I have also been using Skype for phone calls to keep in touch with those back home.

Tomorrow I will return to Chisamba. I can't say I relish the journeys which generally take about 7 hours each way. I will take a notebook with me so that I can check on the referendum result. I must try not to stay up all night tomorrow!!


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