Our Home in Monze
Saturday 20th May
It is already Saturday evening and I am aware that my posts are well behind.
I will therefore summarise the past few days and maybe fill in the gaps later.
I am doing my best to introduce Ben to Monze in a gentle but reasonably comprehensive way. This has been helped by spending two nights at the priest's house. Monze Cathedral, where it is sited is in the centre of town. Outside the gate are stalls that soon become the market. The other entrance is on what can be regarded as Monze High Street.
So everywhere you look there are stalls selling groceries, food – including very fresh chickens (the type that cluck and spread their wings!) and other goods. Items are moved around on a variety of wheelbarrows and peoples heads – much like Lusaka, but less frantic and possibly with a few more smiles.
I am in my element and friends greet me as I move along. So we meet Rasta Brian, a long time friend who sells a few socks, a comb and miscellaneous odds and ends. Like many, Brian is bright, but hadn't the money to complete his education. Along the High Street I bump into Captain who was in charge of the block making team when we started building the ICU at Monze Mission Hospital in 2003. It doesn't take long for Jennipher to appear and greet me emotionally. Many regular readers will know about Jennipher who I met in 2004 when she started taking Anti-retroviral drugs for AIDS. She has since been doing amazing work helping others with the disease and trying to remove the stigma. She has been very ill during the past couple of months and wasn't sure she would be around to see this day.
OUR VERANDA AND GARDEN
Ben had some fun and games getting a SIM card for his mobile phone. Well of course it was getting it to work that caused the problems. He came to know where the MTN shop was situated and this enabled him to venture out alone. During one such occasion when he was at MTN, I bumped into Sichone. I worked closely with Sichone for several years developing a stock control system for the hospital – he was the stores manager at the time. He is currently on leave – for about 4 months! Government workers accumulate a special type of leave at the rate of 1 day per month, if I remember rightly. After perhaps 5, 10 years or more they can decide to take it all in one go!!
It was good to get to know a few new priests at the priest's house as we shared meals - and to renew my acquaitance with some old friends. There was a lot of good natured banter and plenty of laughter as we shared stories. It seems that Fr. Vincent – the new parish priest – is a Liverpool supporter. He dreams of seeing Anfield stadium some day. I happened to have a few photos taken outside the ground and gave him copies.
We moved into our current accommodation yesterday afternoon. It is behind the Curia (Bishop's offices). David and Lynda stayed here for three months – I had imagined that it was quite a walk from town, but we popped into town to buy food and groceries and it was no distance – I can't imagine why David thought it was a problem walking from PIZZ School from here!! (Since he never reads my blog he won't see this comment!!)
It is very peaceful here, right on the edge of town. Ben took a stroll on his own down the road yesterday and met Robert who said he knew me. Robert was a general worker at Monze Hospital. He tells me he has seven children an his wife has health problems. I am sure I will meet Robert myself before long. - especially now that he is aware that I am about.
Having stocked up with fish, both fresh and dried, a chicken, soya, vegetables including impwa and lusala, fruit including guava, a full range of spices and other necessities, we went for a stroll this afternoon in the bush. We spotted a few birds on our trek including a small flock of blue waxwings, a black breasted snake eagle and open-billed stork. Everything is looking lush after the excellent rains. There is still some water about in pools along the roadside and the fields are a mass of meadow flowers.
Fr. Vincent popped around to say hallo and stayed for a coffee. We talked a bit about our lives and the difficulties faced by many – including his family.
I am familiar with the situation here in Zambia, but unless you meet the people and hear their stories first hand, it is difficult to take in the reality of the lives of so many.
I am happy to be back among the people again. It is easy for me to feel at home, everything is familiar, much is comforting, but there will be plenty of challenges ahead. I look forward to the next few weeks and you can follow me here on my African adventure – not so much a safari, more a pilgrimage!