Friday, May 30, 2008

March to May News

Milt Marchiel (who had been in Africa with me last year) and I arrived in Zambia on the same day - March 19. I had been in London for a few days and he came straight from Canada. We spent a couple of nights in Lusaka getting some things sorted out, including picking up a vehicle which we (Poultney Family) had managed to buy. A great deal from a friend of ours who is moving back to the States and it has been wonderful to have the independence of our own wheels.

We received a great welcome (back) when we arrived in the Kakulu community a couple of days later and began re-connecting with everyone. The first few weeks here - late March and early April - were very busy getting everything ready for the first team from Taylor University College in Edmonton. Milt focused on getting the building site and materials ready for the project that the Taylor team was going to work on - the construction of a new staff house at the school. My main work was getting the accommodation, transport and food sorted out. Typical Africa - things take far longer than expected by us super efficient first-worlders so there was much frustration as deadlines passed without things being even started and supplies not being available. Many lessons in patience ! I also had to take a trip to Livingstone to work out some logistics for the teams going there for their tourist activities. This tied in well with me meeting up with a small team from the Lighthouse church in Stony Plain soon after their arrival in Lusaka and being able to give them a ride to their orphanage project near Choma, en route to Livingstone. I spent a night there with them and had a chance to see what they are working on. A couple of nights in Livingstone enabled me to sort things out and again it worked out well for me to meet another Canadian friend - Elaine Duchesene - who had been at a conference in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe and wanted to come and see our project in Zambia. Elaine was with us for five days and thoroughly enjoyed her time in the community.

Milt left on April 20 and I was only on my own for a few days before the Taylor team arrived on 24th. Quite a buzz to have 13 people filling up the place and wonderful to have Bronwen and Brennan here as part of the team. Their time here was a whirlwind of activity with full, busy days. The general schedule was up by 7:00 a.m., breakfast and then to construction by 8:30 ish. Back to base for lunch and then off to afternoon activities - some did children's outreach ministry and some went to play sports - soccer (football in Africa), volleyball and netball (a type of basketball but with no dribbling and only played by girls) in the community. One of the team was a nurse so she spent most days at the clinic helping out and other team members also spent time at the clinic helping with record keeping and paperwork. They also donated a lot of basic medical supplies that had been brought over. There was time spent at the school - some team members actually teaching in some classes - and handing over the piles of supplies and materials that had been brought for the school. Both Sundays they were here the team did the services at the small church which we have connected with - Glad Tidings Pentecostal - and did a great job with singing, drama skits, testimonies, prayer and a sermon.There were many other opportunities to connect with people in the community and the team had a huge impact overall. They set a high standard for other teams to follow and have really helped bring awareness of SPF, and what we are trying to do, to the community.

One of the highlights, amongst many, was team members going to spend the night and next morning with people in their villages - sleeping, eating, washing, working etc - just like the local people do.The trip to Livingstone during their last few days was very long and tiring in the small bus - a full day's travelling each way. The road is hilly and winding and driving terrible here so it takes forever to get anywhere. The last 60km stretch into Livingstone is tarmac but completely potholed so it takes over two hours to do that stretch alone ! Anyway they enjoyed their tourist activities and it was incredible to watch two of them do the bunjee jump off the bridge spanning the gorge and 100 meters above the water !

The day they left Zambia - May 13 - Jenny and Cai arrived having had a great time in France at her high school reunion and then in England with friends. It was wonderful to see them again and they, especially Cai, were pleased to see everyone again too. For the next couple of weeks we had various family members and friends coming and going. In between work in the community we've had some fun activities so a busy time as always. Jenny has enjoyed getting to know people in the community and focus on some specific tasks, especially in the area of education.