Wednesday 24th May
The garden is great for birds! A couple of Black Herons took up residence in a tree yesterday morning, a Cattle Egret perched on top of another today. Flocks of birds – canaries and other species pass by, alighting on bushes as they go, and Black Breasted Snake Eagles are seen regularly in the sky above.
Yesterday afternoon while I sorted a few things out with Mrs. Sianga, Ben went out with Killian to see some of the families with children at PIZZ School.
If you stay on the main roads you can be forgiven for thinking that everyone in Monze has a proper brick built house with a corrigated iron roof, most with electricity and many with a satellite dish. In the compounds, where the children attending PIZZ school reside, the situation is very different. Most houses are built of mud bricks and use a variety of materials to act as a roof – often with concrete blocks holding down plastic sheeting. There is no electricity and water needs to be fetched. The poverty is clear to see.
It was something of an eye-opener for Ben who remarked that unless you see for yourself it is almost impossible to imagine the conditions of aily life for these people.
It was in 2003 when I first visited such areas. I have recalled this many times but it s worth repeating. Mrs. Sianga took me around one afternoon to meet some of her patients. At the time she was a nurse working in the community with people who had AIDS. No anti-retroviral drugs were available, just a couple of paracetemol tablets and some kind words. All of her patients died! I was privileged to be welcomed into this very precious world, where the people I met were weeks or some just days from death. I remember one lady was being cared for by her daughter – no more than 11 or 12 years old, probably younger. The daughter had gone out to beg for a little sugar to make the maize porridge a little bit tastier. That afternoon change my life!
When Ben returned we went to the new school to plan the installation of the solar lighting.
I have borrowed a dongle from Mrs. Sianga to connect to the Internet. When I put my flash drive into the computer at the school it was immediately infected with viruses. I have loaded the dongle with 3Gb of data capacity and will download anti-virus and try to establish a process to keep the computers virus free.
Here at the Curia we have been given access to the Internet through the office system.
Today I have been busy on my computer and made a few additional notes about what I need to do in the coming weeks. Jennipher came along after lunch and I escorted her back into town. We both met friends on the way. Ireen was around and gave me a friendly hug. I will get some material and she will make me some more shirts. Best was playing pool down the road and I took over and hit a few balls. We will meet up during the next day or two. At last I found some Frisco coffee – as advised Mandies Supermarket stocks it!
Back home Fr. Clement made a breif visit to see how we are settling in. He has spent a couple of days with his family who live just outside Siavonga – a town on Lake Kariba. We made tentative arrangments for a vist to the church farm and a session of pool!
I apologise for the lack of photos, but have no fear - they will soon follow.
With love and prayers,