Thursday 25th May
Today is a holiday – African Freedom Day. There was little evidence of great celebrations, but offices and schools were shut. Mrs. Sianga told us that since Thursday was a holiday, they would close at midday on Wednesday!
I spent most of the day at home and let my visitors visit me. Bright has built his house and just remains to complete the roofing. He moved in just before the rains came. This was just as well because the other house he built of mud bricks collapsed. Bright chatted for a while, we caught up on family, friends, the hospital etc. and we watched birds through my binoculars. Today a bird of prey perched on an electicity pole near the house. We didn't see it in flight so were uncertain of the species. I think it might have been a young Bateleur.
Hannah eventually found our place after getting rather lost – probably because of following my directions! She is Head Girl at Monze Boarding School and is in grade 12 – the final year of secondary school. She enjoys science subjects – chemistry, biology and physics, but really wants to become a lawyer. Her mother thinks she should be a doctor. I promised to pass on a John Grisham novel when I finish with it. (John Grisham was a lawyer in the US before becoming an author – many of his books are novels about lawyers. These are his best books in my opinion) Hannah joined us for some sandwiches. Despite my best intentions I have ended up with some Cross and Blackwell mayonnaise. I returned to the shop yesterday but the other jar of non C & B (Nestle) mayonnaise was also off. Rather than insist on a refund I took the C & B jar.
The cucumber and tomato sandwiches (with mayonnaise) were good!
Best was going to see me, but said he would contact me tomorrow instead because time was now short. Teddy had a meeting that left him exhausted, so he also said he would make other arrangements.
Fr. Clement came around as agreed and took us to the parish farm. It is a little way along the Livingstone Road, because of the railway is between the farm and the road, it is easier to wind along some small dirt tracks. The farm is split between the Sacred Heart (Cathedral) parish and Our Lady of the Wayside. This year some maize and cowpeas have been planted, but Our Lady's parish has concentrated on sunflower seeds to feed the oil press which was installed last year.
I enjoyed wandering in the fields for a while. We then called at Our Lady of the Wayside church where the sunflower seeds are being stored after harvesting. While there, the English choir was practising and the sun sunk in the sky. I find this time particularly special – in a real sense a holy time. The transition from day to night here comes with a glorious golden glow and a stillness that makes me want to stop in wonder. As I reflect it makes me think of the precious time at the end of a person's life when our God is preparing to welcome them home. Of course not all deaths are gentle or peaceful, but I have been privileged to have been with a number of people during their last days and it can be a profound experience.
We returned home and have just enjoyed a quick supper.
I am very fortunate to be able to spend part of my life in Zambia. There are times when I have to pinch myself as I enjoy the glorious sun, clear blue skies, amazing birds and lovely people. Maybe some of you reading this blog might like to experience it for yourself one day.
With my love and prayers,