Thursday, March 23, 2017

Preparing for Monze 2017

21st March 2017

Preparing for my Next Visit

I have my tickets for my next adventure in Zambia. This year we have a new volunteer – Ben - who will be coming out with me for the first month.

David and Lynda have themselves spent the last couple of months in Monze to see just how things have changed in the 25 years or so since they last had a prolonged visit in the country.

The Oil Press installed

People have struggled because of the poor harvests in recent years, however there is some light on the horizon because the rains this year have been good. For the next month or so however things will be very tough for many.

Jennipher's health has been up and down, but at the moment she seems to be OK. A student who Jennipher was supporting had been ill for a while - various treatments have been tried, but unfortunately last week she died. This was particular hard for Selina to whom she was a good friend at Pemba Secondary School. Bereavement is always hard and because deaths are many in Zambia it doesn't reduce the pain. I have come to know many people in Zambia who have died – when they die so young (and often from conditions that wouldn't be fatal in the UK) it is very difficult.

Diven's problems continue. Yesterday he was in court for a final hearing. Since August hearings have been adjourned for one reason or another. At one point he decided not to attend court and when they found him they decided to remand him in custody. He has been locked up now for about two months and, accordingh to various reports, has had a rather tough time. At last it looks possible that issues have been settled and I hope he will be allowed to continue with his business and his life.

Best had problems with one of his papers and needs to resit an exam. I hope all goes well and he finally gets his licence to practice law.

The oil press has been installed in the new building at Our Lady of the Wayside church. Fr. Clement gave out sunflower seeds to his parisioners who are expected to bring back a bag to be converted into oil. St. Gregory's Church in Cheltenham has raised some funds to enable some of the poorest at the church in Monze to be given food to help during this difficult period.

29 children passed their grade 9 exams at PIZZ School and I persuaded Hands Around the World to fund their school fees - making a total of 79 children being funded in secondary school this year. My daughter Helen is running an Ultramarathon (53 miles) to help this fund – you can find ourt more at

We are planning to work with the school staff and children to install solar lighting this year. It will cost about £7.50 to light each desk - Ben has set up a site at Light up PIZZ School .

I am looking forward to returning to Zambia soon and catching up with my many friends. I hope that you will enjoy my journey with me.

With love and prayers,