My first couple of weeks in Zambia have gone well overall. I spent a few days in Lusaka as I had several things to get done there. It was quite tough getting adjusted to the time change and the weather change - such a contrast coming from minus 20C and snow in Canada to plus 28C and rain in Zambia.
I was very glad to leave Lusaka and get to Kakulu on Thursday January 6. Great to be back in the community and to my final destination, after the last few weeks of intensity in preparing for the move here. The farm is very quiet and peaceful so I am lucky to have such a nice place to live.
I have been settling into the new routine and starting the work that I need to get done. Mike is very pleased to have me here and is already keeping me busy with many tasks. The crops are looking great and everything in full swing with the tobacco harvest under way and ongoing maintenance on the maize (corn).
I have been able to spend a bit of time in the community catching up with a few people and starting to asses what the immediate priorities are for SPF. As usual I have spent quite a bit of time with Pastor Justin who has brought me up to date on a number of issues. I will give more details of things as I get to visit places and people to see myself what's going on.
So far I have visited the clinic and Sungula school. Ednah has been transferred to another clinic in the region and a new sister-in-charge has been brought in. She was actually here before, in 2006 standing in for Ednah during her long leave, so is familiar with the community. Things are ticking along okay at the clinic - nothing major to report and I've got a list of a few things to consider for us to work on.
At the school I found that Kirby has been replaced as head teacher. (Kirby and Stella are still living at the school - she is still teaching there and the Ministry of Education is trying to find a placement for him although he is keen to retire he tells me.) The new head teacher seems to be good although we only had a short meeting this first time round. We had a quick tour of the school grounds. They have got to roof-level on another teacher house - similar to the one SPF/Taylor built in 2008 - this new one funded by the government. No other major developments at the school but, again, a few items on the list to consider for future work.
Ann Hendry is the niece of a good friend of ours and recently graduated from university in England with a degree in Environmental Science. She spent a couple of months in Kitwe - a city North of here - at the end of 2010 on a student exchange program. During that time she did a research project on the effects of the copper mining activities on the water quality of the rivers in that area. After going to South Africa for the Christmas holidays she came back to Zambia to spend a couple of weeks with us to learn about SPF work in the community. She is interested in doing what she can to help the Foundation once she goes back to UK.
As predicted in my last posting Internet access is very sporadic so further updates will be done as the opportunity allows. Even e-mail is a struggle so I will respond to messages as quickly as I can. We are working on some other options to improve Internet access at the farm so hopefully something will come about soon.