OUR LADY OF THE WAYSIDE
Tuesday 23rd May
I have just connected to the Internet and read the terrible news of the attack in Manchester. My thoughts and prayers are very much with all who are suffering as a result. I keep asking what is it that makes people take such action.
The contrast with the quiet here at the Curia bathed in warm bright sunshine is very stark.
Ben joined me on Sunday for mass. It was a good introduction to services here in Zambia – a little more low key than many – no dancing in the aisles or jumping around with spears and only a polite applause for the sermon! However there was plenty of singing, some drumming and dancing and plenty of joy.
After the service Fr. Raphael gave us a lift back back to our house in the Curia.
I had expected to meet with the Small Christian community of St. Veronica in the afternoon, but they had another meeting at church. The congregations in the Parishes are split into geographical areas – perhaps 11 or 12 per parish. The parishioners in each area form smaller communities and meet for prayers and provide some mutual support. I have been part of St. Veronica's Small Christian Communty for ten years or so. We meet and read the gospel for the following week – using a method known as lectio divina we reflect on a verse that seems to say something to us and if we feel inspired we share that with the other members. I find this very helpful when at the service the following Sunday the gospel is read. We also say a few prayers, ask for prayers for those in need, talk about what is happening in the parish and find out if any Community members are sick or in need. Since all of this takes part in Chitonga I only pick up the key facts!
Instead of the meeting I was able to have a gentle afternoon. I checked out the Internet access at the Curia and was pleased to establish that I could use the lounge even when all the offices were closed.
OUR DINING ROOM
Before 18hrs Diven, Delia and Paul arrived. For some reason this year Paul, who is just about 2 years old, screams whenever he sees me! It reminds me of the time when my grandson Jack was about 9 months old and I was due to act as nanny for a couple of days a week. I had three days of “Jack training” before being let loose on my own. At the end of the three days he didn't scream!! - that was about the extent of my success. Of course two months later we had developed a great relationship and were great pals. Lets hope Paul will also come to enjoy my presence.
I had bought some soya pieces from the market which, with some paprika ginger and garlic, and a range of vegetables I made a pleasant meal. Even Paul enjoyed it!
Yesterday was time to start some serious work. We met Mrs. Sianga and started looking at some of the work to do. The solar lighting should arrive in Lusaka on Saturday. I have been in touch with Roger from Lights For Learning and he is in Zambia. He has offered to visit us next Monday/Tuesday to help us plan the installation – if we are very lucky, he might be able to bring the lights with him from Lusaka.
The good rains and subsequent harvest means that the price of maize and groundnuts is currently low. Mrs. Sianga is keen to capitalise on this by buying in bulk now and storing the food which will feed the children throughout the year. I will try to facilitate this. It will also help us if the costs can be minimised. Feeding the children at PIZZ School has made a huge difference. Mrs Sianga says that at least the children are sure of one meal a day – many will not know where there next meal will come from. The children are performing well and putting on weight. However it is hard for us to understand the lives of these children. Mrs. Sianga said that before she was providing food many of the children rarely smiled or interacted with one another. This situation has changed dramatically. I don't know what it must be like to be constantly hungry.
I was part way back from the school when I realised that I had agreed to see Diven. I returned and frightened Paul once again.
On the way back I searched for non Nestle products. In the past Nestle promoted dried milk, claiming that it was better than breast milk. The children drinking the dried milk didn't get the immunity from disease provided by the mother's milk. It was a wicked campaign and put the lives of many children at risk. Nestle continues to exploit the people of poorer countries and for that reason I do my best to avoid their products. This is particularly difficult in Monze. I bought some non-Nestle mayonnaise (Cross and Blackwell is also owned by Nestle). I was delighted until I got home and found that there was a solid crust and the smell wasn't right!!
Raymond was meant to visit in the evening but didn't arrive. Ben made a Zambian omelette containing local vegetables and sweet potato which we enjoyed.
As usual I spend time on the computer writing notes and e-mails. I am also slowly working my way through a John Grisham novel. I manage to turn in a little before midnight.
Since we arrived the days have been quite cloudy. Often the sky is clear first thing in the morning – today there is some cloud. So far the totally cloudless skies I am used to, have not lasted long.