Monday, June 19, 2017

Drinking Coffee

Monday 19th June

I spent most of Saturday at home.

I tell people that my most valuable job is to sit at home drinking coffee with friends. Yet, like being still, it is hard even to convince myself of the value. In our world little importance is placed on such activity. Maybe our world would be less harsh and the anger would diminish, if we spent more time talking to each other over a coffee.

Teddy popped along Saturday morning. It was already a month before we met this year. Teddy has been Acting Information Officer for 11 years now. He has been doing the job and yet whatever qualifi

cations he obtains they don't quite seem to meet the criteria for the post. We have been friends since 2004 when we worked together with Bentoe on the hospital computer systems. He hopes to move out of town when he eventually retires.

Deana came to have a chat and catch up. A few years back Deana established Friends of Monze – a small charity based in Wales. They have just built their second school around Monze and handed it over to the government to run. They are looking at a third.

We were beginning to have a discussion when Jennipher, Soloman, Obert and another guy turned up. Jennipher told Deana all about her new mission to screen women for cervical cancer. Apparently in the Southern Province of Zambia cervical cancer is a particular issue and is becoming a bigger killer than AIDS.

I will have to arrange to meet Deana another time!


I am having a slightly slack time with the food at present. I am heading to Chisamba tomorrow to visit Kaliyangile - another project I co-ordinate for Hands Around the World. I am keen to run stocks a little low as there are plenty of creatures that would like a share!! Small cabbages don't seem to exist in Monze! I would think my current cabbage will provide at least 10 – 20 portions! Fortunately the cabbage is very nice so a few different daily meals containing a generous helping is fine! I can't remember whether I have commented on the soya. Well, at the risk of repeating myself, you can buy soya pieces in the market, which are very tasty and have a texture very close to meat. These are nothing like those I avoid back in the UK! This soya could almost turn me vegetarian!!

Yesterday was Corpus Christie. Religion is not hidden in Zambia, but widely acclaimed. On Sundays I pass a number of churches with hymns filling the air with multi-part harmonies. At Our Lady of the Wayside Church after our mass this Sunday we processed around the surrounding roads stopping now and again to listen to readings and reflections on them from parishioners. Fr. Clement carried the host, which we believe in some real sense, Jesus Christ, our God, is truly present. It is an act of witness and a way of bringing God among the people. It is very rare for such acts of witnesss to take place in England. Here they are quite common.

One of the tasks I have, is to bring back reports for children who are sponsored by people back in the UK. Most of the children I have now met over several years and it is difficult to encourage them to tell me something new. The sponsorship helps us to provide much needed funds for the school, it provides sponsors with a tangible link to the school and gives the children a bit of a boost. I met about half a dozen children this morning, including two who want to become doctors, a policeman and a soldier! It is good to have a chance to talk to the children - we can learn a little about each other. I also like to encourage the children to ask me a little about my life – it only seems fair!

I have talked to the Project Manager at Kaliyangile and she tells me that there are no rooms at the “Chisamba Hilton” so my own little hotel will be prepared. Some years back I spent a week or more at Kaliyangile. They cleared out a storeroom, put a mattress on the floor and the carpenter made a simple chair and desk. Here is a large washbasin and, across the field, is a toilet block with a couple of showers. (No hot water for a couple of days!!). I am not sure whether I prefer it to the “Hilton” or not! Neither have hot water! The Hilton however has a generous breakfast of eggs, sausages, beans tomato, onions, chips & bread – although some things are not always available – so it varies from the full monte, to bread, onions and tomato or another random combination! The small hotel however is very peaceful with only the birds and cattle to keep me company.

I won't take my laptop to Chisamba so I will have some peace from our turbulant world for a day or two.

Best wishes


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