Monday, April 6, 2009

April 4/5 Back to Kakulu

I drove up to Kakulu on Saturday arriving there at about 2:30 p.m. First call was at Pastor Justin's home where we talked for a couple of hours. Then to Falcon farm where I spent the night. On Sunday I spent the day moving around the community having several meetings. So much information came my way in such a short time it left my head spinning. Here's a summary of everything. Ask questions if you want to know anything more specific !

Falcon Farm

Banda and Tsitsi are still living there in their little house
He had been engaged by the Receiver to manage the guards and keep an eye on things
Loveness still living there too as are Rhinos and Shadrek - although I have not seen them all yet
The Receiver has been supplying a bit of diesel so that they can run the generator for water but no electricity
The farm yard and house yard are in terrible shape as there has been no maintenance on them
The house is fairly reasonable but will soon start deteriorate - more below
The swimming pool is only half-full and very brown, part of the roof on the pool house has collapsed
I spent the night in my small tent pitched in Banda's yard - see photo - and had good chats with him and Tsitsi
Was able to get into the master bedroom at the house and us the flush toilet and have a bucket bath - luxury !
She cooked delicious nshima and chicken for supper and scrambled eggs with tomato and onion for breakfast !!
They are both well and in good spirits - asked after everyone and send their greetings

Mike Sundys-Thomas, the farmer next door, has managed to buy the farm but the deal has only just been concluded and he only receives the keys as such the week after Easter
He does not plan to live in the Falcon house - as he is already settled into a house on another of his farms - but he intends to get everything cleaned up and repaired
He plans to make Falcon farm his tobacco growing center and the other two farms will primarily be for maize (corn)
He has said that he will allow us to use the house - free of charge - for the foreseeable future as he would rather have it being used by someone rather than sitting empty for too long
He now has a better understanding of what SPF is doing in the area and what our long term plans are and is keen to support us in whatever way he can - including use of tractors, trucking, mechanics and power. (He plans to have a large central generator plant to supply all three farms !)
He told me that the 2007/2008 season was the best he has ever had in some 20 years of farming and 2008/2009 is shaping up to be as good so he is doing well financially
He has big plans for expanding his operations and wants to continue buying more land when possible to further increase the output
Mike has graded and fixed the road from the railway line to the farms so it is wonderful now - one can clip along at 80km per hour and no potholes or bumps to dodge !!
The other main road into the community and down to the school is worse than ever after the heavy rainy season - have no idea why the community doesn't do some minor repairs at least.
Mike has offered us the use of his mail box in Kapiri to ensure that any letters that are now sent will get through to the people. (I will put details on the Blog)

Sungula School

Kerby is on long leave this term so Stella has been acting head (principal)
The Taylor house is not yet lived in as there was a problem with glass for the windows. (Still haven't figured out what the reason is but will dig further when we meet with the PTA.
No major changes in enrolment or staffing. The grounds are looking fairly neat and tidy.
They are very appreciative of the desks that the Isaiah team built and all of them, but one, are holding up well. (I did not see them myself but will when I go back.)
Sadly Mr Chanda lost his youngest daughter - still quite a baby - to malaria just three weeks ago. I spent an hour with him and his family to pay my respects.
There was a soccer game in full swing at the school on Sunday afternoon with one team all wearing the Spruce Grove uniforms ! The balls we donated last year are looking very worn out so the ones we have brought this time will be most welcome, I'm sure.

Glad Tidings Church

I met with Mike on Sunday morning and the meeting went longer than I thought but still by Noon I thought that I would make it for part of Pastor Justin's sermon. For once they were finished early so when I walked into the church just after Noon it was in time to be acknowledged and then be asked to give the closing prayer !!
Not the usual crowd there but many familiar faces - all wanting to know about everyone back in Canada etc etc
Pastor Justin and family are well - still living the simple life.
Justin still wearing the same shirt - the brown one with yellow collar and cuffs !
The only real addition to their belongings is a new bicycle which they, that can ride, share
Actually Pastor Justin also has a phone now so you can text him or phone him if you want to - 260 975 138 494
Jennifer is a very cute toddler now - walking all over the place. Very cute but very afraid of me. Justin said that was strange because she had had no problem with Chris Rogers but thinks that perhaps it's because I am still whiter than white !!
No progress on their building - have lots of bricks and sand but still need money for cement


Nothing to report on the clinic as it was closed for the week-end and no one around to speak to.
The maternity ward addition is only at floor level - again some stories about why not further so I'll have to find out the real reason/s
Paint job and mural still look in good shape
A couple of problems with a few of the orphans but Justin has a good handle on them
We will be focusing on them when I go back after Easter and visiting them all
Headman Jackson and Miriam not around so hopefully when I get back
The micro loan fund is doing well still although some loans were used for agriculture so the pay-back time is going to be much longer than usual; and the trustees have asked for a small amount of the corn as "interest" - to feed the orphans - after the harvest

Friday, April 3, 2009

Zambia 2009

Hi everyone - welcome to the 2009 chapter of SPF Zambia - which tends to be the main focus of this blog.

I had an excellent trip over, leaving Edmonton on Tuesday March 31 - to Toronto and then on to London Heathrow overnight. Landed at the new Terminal 5 - very huge and impressive but also somewhat sterile with that. Not a lot of people about - maybe just because it is so vast or because of the down-turn in travel - so one never felt crowded like the older terminals.

I took a quick trip into Central London on the Underground. Had a wander through the daffodils in Green Park and St James, past Buckingham Palace, down The Mall, through Admiralty Arch and to Trafalgar Square where I sat in the sun and watched the world go by for a while. Lots of activity all over the place gearing up for the big G20 meeting - media and security everywhere - but nothing much happening while I was on my walk-about so I was glad not to get caught up in any of the demonstrations and crowds coming out to see Obama et al. It was reported that it was all going to cost about Cdn $ 100 million - a complete waste of money at a time when they are all supposed to be battling the economic woes.

I then had lunch with my niece, Bridget (Brebner) Dale who had an extra suitcase for me filled with clothing to bring over to give away to needy people. On the special charity fare that British Airways had afforded me they also gave me extra baggage allowance for humanitarian purposes.

The overnight flight to Lusaka on Wednesday evening was smooth and I managed to get a bit of sleep. Good to catch up with people in Lusaka and get some logistics sorted out over the past couple of days. I am heading up to our project area, Kakulu, today (Saturday April 4) and am looking forward to finding out what's been happening there in the 7 months we've been gone.

Hope to do update installments - including photos - every few days as I get access to the Internet - so hope that you will check back regularly for those updates.