Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Three day visit to Lunchu Parish


At 2.30pm (or 1400 hrs as they say in Zambia) Florence Mumba, called for us saying ‘ Ready to go?’ We left the guest house and went to the carpark by the Cathedral. Needless to say we waited another hour before we actually left! Happy Banda our driver one minute wasn’t there and then we were waiting for a cool box to be delivered by the Bishop! We are getting used to African time!

Bishop Derek and his wife, Evelyn said ‘goodbye’ to us. They were going about three times as far as us visiting rural parishes. He had very kindly provided us with his driver, Happy Banda, who was always smiling, ( so a very good name for him), the Mother’s Union landrover, and Florence Mumba, their Diocesan Mother’s Union worker.

At 3.30pm we were ready to go shopping in Ndola. We had asked Deacon Pumulo Neo to write us a list of things the school at St Michael’s needed, and we were keen to try and get some of them, with the money that had been given by our church of Holy Trinity, Nailsea.

Here is his list:
Filing cabinet
Footballs, netballs and volley balls and net.
10 files
plain paper (ream)
10 bibles
100 exercise books – squared
Carpentry tools – chisel, hammer, saw, nails.

We rushed round shopping before every thing closed at 5pm! We went first to the Roman Catholic shop and bought 10 Good News bibles, packets of plain paper – ream, the exercise books, wine for Ken to celebrate Communion with. Then we hurried to a sports shop and bought 4 footballs, and 2 netballs, then another shop to get 10 folders. Nowhere in Ndola sells filing cabinets which the school desperately needs – everything is just on a shelf in the small school office. It will have to be got from Lusaka. Our Mother’s Union in Nailsea had given some money, and so we were able to buy lots of wool, material and needles and thread. I’d been given knitting needles and some material to bring out with me.

Then we bought diesel for the MU Landrover. Fuel is an essential and big expense to get around the diocese, as the distances are so great. We then shopped for food as a contribution to Pumulo and Francesca, and at 6pm we were ready for our journey to Lunchu, our link parish! En route we bought a couple of watermelons and some onions from stalls along the roadside. Then at Kapiri we bought some more fuel, which we paid for. The allowance from the diocese for travel usually will only get them to Lunchu, but not to travel around the parish (which is very large, with 22 different congregations!). So normally they will arrive at Lunchu and then have to walk everywhere. An example is that Pumulo lives near St Barnabas’ congregation, St Michael’s is about 6 kms away and St Gabriel’s congregation is about 30 kms from St Barnabas.

It is dark by about 6.30pm so we arrived at St Michael’s, Lunchu after nightfall just before 9pm. There was a lovely full moon so you could see a little. Two or three of the builders for the headmaster’s house were sitting around a fire but everyone else was in bed, though Hilda and Abigail (two teachers at the school) had been waiting up for us. Bishop Derek had called in about an hour before and told them we were on our way! They emerged from their house, and then a bit later Pumulo came out of a mud house by the church where he stays when he is visiting St Michael’s. He hadn’t been at all well last week, and had fallen asleep while waiting for us. They were all very pleased to see us, and Hilda and Abigail were thrilled with the arrival of things for the school. Happy Banda then loaded bags onto the roof so that we could fit 2 more people into the back of the Landrover with Florence and myself. Pumulo’s grandson, Patrick was coming back with us. He had come to look after Pumulo while he’d been sick. We then drove about 12 kms along a hardcore very bumpy road to Pumulo’s house, arriving at 10pm.

Francesca, his wife came out to greet us so enthusiastically and we were introduced to their children, grandchildren and niece. Their was Patrick, (grandson), Isaac, (grandson) Stephen (Patrick’s brother – both orphans) Maria (niece and also an orphan), Malone, (son), Muyunda (son).

Then Francesca set to to cook a meal. By then though I was so tired and exhausted I went to bed before most of the meal was cooked, just having a bit of chicken. I left Florence, Happy Banda and Ken to tuck in with Pumulo and Francesca! I hardly slept though – probably because I was overtired and the heat. We’d had a busy morning before coming to Lunchu seeing another parish in Ndola and visiting a sewing project and preschool.

Toilets in Zambia aren’t in the home but quite a way from the house, in the bush. They are deep holes in the ground, so being able to squat is rather necessary! The toilet where we were was about 100 yards away from the home. It is in a small ‘shed’, made of mud bricks covered with a corrugated piece of metal. This was quite a grand one as many are just holes surrounded by a wall of straw. Thankfully we had a wind up torch, so no need for batteries. In the house were candles, as there was no electricity. I went to the loo in the night, and while squatting, a bat flew in through a hole in the corrugated roof, flying around me. I flew out of the door!!

Florence had written up a programme for our weekend here:
LUNCHU PARISH PROGRAMME1600 leave for shopping in Ndola
1800 leave for St. Michael’s Lunchu
Then to St. Barnabas – Deacon Pumulo’s residence.

27.10.07 – Saturday
07.00 tea
08.00 breakfast
09.00 visiting of St. Barnabas area
10.30 tea
11.00 leave for St. Gabriel
13.00 lunch
15.00 back to St. Barnabas
16.00 Meet St. Barnabas Mother’s Union and St Veronica’s members.
18.00 supper.
20.00 tea. To bed.

28.10.07 – Sunday
07.00 tea
08.00 breakfast
09.30 leave for St. Paul’s Mass.
13.00 lunch
14.00 visit to Kamukuba and St. Agnes projects.
16.00 Back to St. Barnabas. Meet St Barnabas MU/ St Veronica’s members.
18.00 supper
19.00 tea

28.10.07 - Monday
07.00 breakfast. Leave for Undola.
Sat 27th Oct 07

After breakfast we (Pumulo, Ken, Happy Banda, and myself) went to look around the St Barnabas parish. Francesca and Florence stayed behind to pack 10 bags with gifts of wool, knitting needles, materials, cotton thread and needles for the various Mother’s unions and St. Veronicas, with love from our Mother’s union. Happy Banda drove us in the MU Landrover to the school and local community about 1 km away and dropped us off to look around and walk back. We visited Lunchu Basic school where Francesca works. It is Government run with 560 pupils. Her classes are 4A (49students) and 4B (48 students).

Then we looked at how bricks were made for the buildings, and saw the water pump for the community, people collecting water in various down to the river which is quite low at the moment. When the rains arrive shortly it will overflow and many of the rural roads will become impassable for vehicles. That is why Bishop Derek is rushing around taking Confirmations etc. at the moment before the rains come!

Returning through the village we saw lots of mud houses covered with straw for roofs, and also some government houses. We passed a small RC church with people gathering for worship, and greeted the priest. Next we visited a new rural health clinic that the government are in the process of building. Hopefully it won’t be too long before it’s up and running.

Florence and Francesca obviously thought we were hot and tired so sent Happy Banda to collect us in the MU Landrover! We were obviously getting behind on Florence’s programme! She is very organised! It wasn’t far to home but I was pleased to see the Landrover! I was feeling very hot, sticky and tired. The cup of tea that Francesca had waiting was very welcome! We then set off for St Gabriel church. I hadn’t realised how far away it is – at least 30 kms from Pumulo’s house – along a hard-core or soft earth road. The hard-core road had become corrugated, and one felt riding in the back of the vehicle as if one’s bones were rattling! It is so rural. We drove for miles through scrub passing small communities of mud houses, families scratching a living from the dry earth around, preparing the ground ready for the rains.

After an hour we turned a corner, and there was St Gabriel church and community. It was such a contrast to what we’d been witnessing for the last hour. Here in the middle of nowhere was a large farm, 2 tractors, modern farm equipment and a generator for electricity! Mr and Mrs Banda retired as teachers and started farming here, building it up, growing maize. Her husband died but she and her sons have carried on expanding the farm, giving work to the community, and are pillars in the church. It was the only church in the Lunchu parish that had a light bulb in it!

We were welcomed warmly with singing and dancing, and lots of African handshakes. We went into the church. Pumulo asked Ken to say a prayer, then more singing with drums. Pumulo introduced the church leaders – they had also come from St Stephens and St John’s. I wrote their names down but as he said them quite quickly I might have misheard and got a few names not quite right. The names are:

Isa Cunda – priest warden from St Stephen’s.
Benedine Sani – St John’s
Alexander Tuyu – lay leader, and Father’s Union at St Stephen’s
Mary Tuyu – Treasurer, MU from St Stephen’s.
Kennedy Mwansa – Church warden from St Gabriel’s.
Passpor Banda – Secretary from St Gabriel’s.
Musunda Temwa Chair of choir from St Gabriel’s.
Landau Kanguga – church warden
Jonathan Katanga – trustee from St Gabriel’s.
Saphie Katanga – MU
Iraeni Banda – secretary of MU, and founder of a number of congregations. Looks after children, church and farm. Her daughter is a sister at the Fiwila Mission Station.

We heard how there had been no church here. The Banda family used to go to St Barnabas or St Michaels. Others came to join them, so at St. Michael’s and St Barnabas they said to them, ‘ It’s a long way to come’. So they started to begin this work here, praying and worshipping together. A small church was built. Others came to join them even people from the town. The numbers increased, and they wondered how they could build a new church. In 1987 they moulded the bricks, which stayed on the ground for 3 years while they saved money to buy cement. They asked the Bishop for help and he gave 12,000 kwacha, with which they bought the metal sheets for the roof. Her husband (died in 1996) helped lead the constructing of the church, the windows, buying paint and doing the floor. The church was completed in 2004, and they are still waiting for the Bishop to officially open the church.

I spoke on behalf of our Mother’s union at Holy Trinity, Nailsea, passing on greetings from them. Also on their behalf I gave a bag containing wool, knitting needles, materials, cotton thread and needles. They were so thrilled. We had more music. The choir there had wonderful voices. A St Veronica mum (same as our Morning Break mums), with her baby on her back, led the singing so beautifully. When the baby cried, she wasn’t fazed, she just undid the cloth (impapa) that held the baby on her back, and breast-fed while still leading the singing! She was amazing and had such a fantastic voice; I could have listened to her and her choir all day! When it was my turn to speak I said if they entered a competition they would win. If they had their singing on a CD then I would definitely buy one! Ken spoke and ended with a prayer.

After the time in the church with the congregation we looked around the farm. Mrs Banda who owns it has developed it, with one of her sons as Farm Manager. They now have 2 tractors and a truck, growing maize and fruit. The generator that they have put in means the church and community benefits as well. We visited Mr Banda’s grave and Ken said a prayer. Then we were invited to lunch in her house – chicken, rice, nshima and vegetables with a tomato and onion sauce. Before each meal the hostess comes around with a bowl and a jug of water and a towel and each guest washes their hands. Zambians don’t really feel they’ve eaten unless they’ve got nshima on their plates! It is a white mass usually made from maize, but can be also made using cassava or groundnut. We were given knives and forks but the usual way in rural Zambia to eat is with your fingers picking some of the nshima, rolling it into a ball and using it to scoop up the food on ones plate. It is fairly tasteless, so needs other food for flavour.

Afterwards we walked back to the Landrover, passing lots of choir robes hanging on the washing line, all made by hand. An hour later, after bumping along the dirt track we arrived back at Pumulo and Francesca’s house at St Barnabas. All I could think about was how does Pumulo manage visiting all the congregations on foot. In England we get in the car if the journey is more than about 10 minutes!

We arrived at St Barnabas about 4pm and there were the St Barnabas congregation and members of St Peter’s singing and dancing in preparation for our arrival. They all greeted us warmly with an African handshake while still singing and dancing. Then they all filed into church together with their beautiful singing. I followed poorly attempting to dance in time!! I was glad I was wearing my MU sarong or chitenge as they call it in Zambia. All the Mother’s union were wearing their blue and white uniform along with the younger St. Veronicas.
We repeated what we had done at St. Gabriel – Pumulo introducing the leaders there, me speaking (they always start with the least person to speak, so when Bishop Peter was around I was the first speaker and he was the last!), then Ken spoke, then I was asked to talk to the MU and St. Veronica’s, and I was able to present them with the wool, knitting needles, material, needles and thread from HT. They were very excited at the thought of what they could make with it all. Their MU presented me with several pieces of material that they had beautifully crocheted for me to take home with love to our MU in Nailsea. The leaders that Pumulo introduced (again I’ve probably misheard some of the names and got wrong spellings!) were:

Idona Mokuka – Priest warden and Father’s union at St Peter’s.
Agnes Mokula – St Veronica’s branch leader
Dougnes Angosa – MU at St Peter’s.
Mildred Tembe – Chair of MU at congregational level, St Peter’s.
Doreen Peeny – chair of the choir.
Trevor Peerie – secretary of the choir.
Daniel Angosa – lay leader, St Peter’s
Wellington Banda – lay leader, St Barnabas
?? - lay leader St Barnabas.
Bemue Bella – Secretary of congregation, St Barnabas.
Matthias Campule – St Barnabas.

The St Barnabas church is old and small and the roof is in bad repair. The foundations for a larger one and floor have been completed next door, but because of lack of funds they have been unable to go any further, and now the floor is beginning to go to powder as it has been down for a long time and will need redoing.

After the gathering I was given a cookery demonstration:
Bean leaves.
Tomatoes x 3
Peanut butter – quite a lot.
Dried bean leaves. (in Lusaka I had a similar dish made with pumpkin leaves)
Boil water tomatoes and salt. Add peanut butter (they used homemade) and then dried bean leaves – simmer for 10 mins.

The Mother’s union and St Veronica’s have regular weekly gatherings altogether. Some of the topics and activities include:
Home visiting – including visiting those who are sick and prison visiting.
Teaching about diseases such as HIV and Aids, malaria.
Family Planning.
Washing and laundry.
Church cleaning.
Bible study.
Marriage guidance.

The St Veronica’s meet with the Mother’s union. They include not just young mum’s but single young ladies as well. The MU help and teach them meeting the MU objective of supporting Family life.

We said farewell to everyone – quite a number had a 2 hour walk home and so wouldn’t reach home until well after dark. It is very humbling. I can’t think of anyone in our country that would walk 2 hours to a meeting and then 2 hours walk home in the dark!! People were so pleased we had come. The link with our parish means so much to them, knowing we are thinking and praying for them.

We went back to Pumulo and Francesca’s house by this time very hot and tired! It is the hottest time of year just before the rains start. After a lie down we had supper by candlelight, on our laps in the lounge – nshima, rice, chicken, the vegetable and peanut dish we’d made in the cookery demonstration – delicious! Then we went to bed under our mosquito nets.

Sunday 28 Oct 07

Ken and I woke about 6am and we enjoyed a cup of tea in bed at 7am. As it is light early and cooler the household is up about 5am doing chores, sweeping, lighting a fire for cooking etc.
The bathroom is a mud brick construction, no roof, with bricks laid on the ground with gaps in them for drainage. To have a bath you use the plastic mug fill it up with the water from the bowl and pour it over yourself. Then you soap yourself, collect more water in the mug, and rinse off pouring the water over you. The trick is not to contaminate the bowl of water, as the next person would appreciate clean water for washing! Bishop Derek told us about a vicar who came out, when presented with a bowl of water, didn’t know what to do with it! Bishop Derek asked him ‘ well what did you do with it?’ He replied ‘I climbed into it’! So the next person would either have had an empty bowl or a bowl of dirty water!

Breakfast consisted of porridge made of a maize and peanut butter mixture – quite nice, then followed fried eggs and peanuts – they are very tasty together!

At about 9.30am we left in the MU Landrover – Florence, Francesca, Pumulo, Ken, myself and Happy Banda, driving. It wasn’t too far so we were in good time for the 10am service at St Paul’s. As we drove up to the church everyone was already practising in the hot sun, singing and dancing getting ready to welcome us. They were so excited to see us all, Florence now knows every parish in Central Diocese, and people are always delighted to see her. They came rushing over still dancing and singing excitedly. They greeted us so enthusiastically, shaking all our hands. I was embraced by many of the ladies with such enthusiastic hugs that I was nearly throttled by one lady!

We went into church and found people had come from different congregations:
St Michael’s – we could see Hilda (in her St Veronica’s uniform – she joined about 2 months ago) and Abigail – two teachers from the school.
St Paul’s
St Luke’s
St Agnes’.
We were welcomed with different songs and dancing from different groups/ choirs, taking it in turns – St Paul’s choir, St Michael’s choir, St. Veronica’s, and MU. Pumulo then introduced all the church leaders, and their roles in the church from the various congregations:

St. Michael’s
Agnes Shatala – church choir.
Joseph Banda – chair of choir.
Elvis Machenje – Music director
Robson Kezara – Trustee of St Michael’s.
Peter Malakta – priest warden.

St Agnes
Winston Kaputula – chair of choir.

St Paul’s
Davis Karuga – chair of Father’s union (there is a large FU at St Paul’s), priest warden and lay leader.
Paul Simbe – Disciplinary leader, church choir.
Kosmos Korunga – Secretary St Paul’s
Saidi Mowela – Youth Chair of the whole parish of Lunchu.
Peter Stoney – churchwarden
John Chasowa – vice secretary of FU for the whole parish of Lunchu, Lay leader.
Amoni Kataloka – Advisor for FU.
Baldwin Waite – vice secretary.
Atthur Maya – chairlady of MU for St Paul’s.
Rudic Singa – vice chair of St Veronica’s for the whole parish of Lunchu.
Evelyn Kunda – Parish secretary for the whole of the parish of Lunchu.

St Luke’s
John Chawaya – FU Link correspondent to HT Nailsea. Build up a good church of St Lukes.
Grace Tembo – Chair of MU for St Luke’s.
Patson Kavinga – Lay leader.
Priscilla Inshimbi – Leader of St Veronica’s.

Hilda and Abigail were also introduced, both teachers at St Michael’s community school –HT have helped fund the school building and the teachers house. Mrs Neo, Pumulo’s wife was also introduced as a Boys Brigade leader and a trainer for TEEZ (Theological Education by Extension in Zambia).

There were also there 2 young people from the parish that had visited Keynsham parish in Bath and Wells diocese in July this year. Apparently young people from each parish in Central diocese had been offered the opportunity to visit England. We had thought that all the young people had come from the link parish for Keynsham. We said we were sorry that we hadn’t realised – if we’d known there were young people from Lunchu parish, we would have invited them to visit us in Nailsea.

We then had a Communion service, led by Pumulo and a lay leader and Ken preached and administered the Communion. We all greeted one another during the Peace.
Ken started his sermon by giving them greetings and love and prayers from HT church in Nailsea. He used one of the tea towels that had been given for us to bring out, to illustrate his talk.

After the service I was asked to speak, and then I was able to present gifts (bags of material, wool etc to the various MU groups) from HT Mother’s union again sending them all love from our church, the MU, and our St Veronica’s – Morning Break.

There were 2 Boy’s Brigade members there – Patrick, (Pumulo and Francesca’s grandson) and his friend. After the service Francesca met with all the boys interested in becoming a member of the Boys Brigade. While we were enjoying lunch on the floor of the church, ( that the ladies of the parish had prepared), we could hear Patrick putting the boys through their paces outside the church, ‘Left, right, left, right’ etc!!

After lunch some of the parish brought us gifts. They have so little but are so generous with what they do have. One of the gifts presented to me was a live chicken in a basket!! But most of the gifts were groundnuts, cassava or popcorn. We met John Chawaya’s wife Mary which was lovely.

We said ‘goodbye’ and drove to St Agnes Community school and church. The community school at Kamukuba, that was down on Florence’s programme, we had to \miss going to because the message hadn’t got through that we would be coming, so there wouldn’t be anyone there. Communication between the congregations isn’t easy, as it usually means someone walking a long way to pass on any messages.

We saw St Agnes church – the congregation are in the process of renewing the roof. They had hoped to put corrugated metal sheeting on instead of straw, but so far can only afford 8 sheets, which they have already bought. Without at the moment being able to afford more roofing sheets, they are reluctantly going to replace with fresh straw. Then we went into the local school next door to the church and met some of the local community, including the Deputy Head, Mr Kalarlai. The Village Headman gave this plot of land to the church and community. He was there at the meeting seen sitting next to me. Pumulo introduced people there:
Mr Morris Mutambo – St Agnes church
Mr Kalarlai – Deputy Head of St Agnes Community school.
Dickson Malay – Lay Leader.
John Chawaya – very senior! lots of wisdom. Has started lots of churches
Mr Ma…..- Project chair for the village. Headman. He gave this plot of land.

Mr Sakarlarcy greeted us and gave us a history of the school. His English is excellent and he was a very good translator. He was quite emotional when he spoke and is obviously very keen to help the community in moving forward. The school was started in 1996. The idea came from this community, as the nearest school was so far away. The community agreed to \mould the bricks, which they did, but they were not fired properly so the rains ruined them. The church allowed them to study in the church. The priest then, Father Masengi agreed to continue letting the school use the church building. Then there was 1 teacher and 125 pupils. Then the community sat down and introduced the school to the government. Through the hard work of the local community this school was built in 1997. They all united to mould the bricks, buy the iron sheets, doors, windows and cement. He mentioned that there is a problem with the teachers not being payed and asked us to pray for the needs of the school and community.

There are now 265 pupils (105 are boys, 130 are girls and 76 are vulnerable orphans).The lay leader at St Agnes spoke about how far it had been to walk to church to either St Michael’s or St Luke’s, so they decided to build a church here. The Headman gave them some land. He talked about the problem of the roof, how they would love to put a more substantial roof on the church, but with only 8 corrugated metal sheets, they are reluctantly going to renew the roof again with straw.

I and then Ken were asked to speak, so at the end I was able to present the bag of wool and knitting needles etc. to a St Veronica’s mum who was there at the meeting. She was very pleased. Florence has asked each group to show her what they make so she can photograph the finished products to show us! When I heard what Florence had said, I said we’d send her a disposable camera.

When we went back to the Landrover we found my chicken had escaped from it’s basket and was sitting on the roof of the Landrover!! Happy Banda climbed up and caught it. As I can’t take it on the plane I will donate it to Francesca – I don’t know how many chickens have been killed for us to devour!

We dropped John Chawaya off at his home and saw the bee-keeping project he’s starting, and the chicken house he’s built to start another project with chickens. We also saw his office – I haven’t seen another office like it. It was circular, made with mud bricks and a straw roof, but dangling down between the roof and the wall, all around were empty cans, cartons etc, so when the wind blows there is a nice array of musical sounds!! He is an amazing man – in his 70s, still walking miles, encouraging congregations and projects. He has started about 10 of the congregations in Lunchu parish! Still the ideas keep coming.

Then we returned home to St Barnabas and Pumulo and Francesca’s house. We were very hot and tired, but had met so many lovely people. We slept for a while and then Francesca taught me how to crochet. Some of the local community came to greet us while we were sitting outside crocheting together. I was given some peanuts – people are so kind and friendly. While I was having a lesson ken and Pumulo walked down to the village, as Pumulo was trying to see someone. Pumulo had said ‘ do you want to come for a stroll?’ It turned out to be quite a walk, so Ken returned feeling rather hot and exhausted. How does Pumulo do it?!

We had supper together and then all welcomed our beds. Florence has a very busy time because when she gets back to Ndola tomorrow, she will only have Monday night at home before she heads of to a Mother’s union conference for 2 days in Eastern Diocese. She will go with Agnes (on the Provincial committee for MU) and Dorcas (MU president) in the MU Landrover.

Monday 29 Oct 07

We were awake at 5.30am – most of the household were up working, sweeping the hardened earth and preparing water and breakfast. We got up about 6am, met more villagers who’d come a distance to say ‘goodbye’ and bring popcorn and peanuts. One man’s wife had been up very early preparing the nuts for us. Then he’d walked a long way to see us and give them to us. Another man came from St Barnabas parish with 2 of his children, also with a bag of peanuts for us. Ken had prayed for his little daughter who was not well, when we’d met at St Barnabas church. We were very pleased to see she was quite a bit better.

We saw Maria, Pumulo and Francesca’s granddaughter, ready for school. She is 10 yrs old with both her parents dead, and always looks so serious. We brought a smile to her face, with a pink hair band and some beads to make necklaces and bracelets with that had been given by someone at HT. Francesca and Pumulo are caring for several children who are orphans.
After our ‘bath’ we had breakfast at 7.30am – a rice pudding with peanut butter in it, (very tasty), hard-boiled eggs and bread and marmalade, and water melon. Then it was time to say ‘goodbye’, - we gave a few gifts to Pumulo and Francesca, Florence and Happy Banda, our driver. I felt a bit bad that we didn’t have anything left to give the 2 ladies who’d cooked for us.
That is a problem, there is so much need, people have so little, that one wants to give a little something to everyone that has come into our lives.

We have only been in this country for 10 days, but it seems so much longer, as we have met so many wonderful people, so many congregations, schools, communities. People like Florence, Pumulo and Francesca are an inspiration. Florence has come back out of retirement to continue to be a Mother’s worker travelling around the diocese, teaching and encouraging MU and St Veronica groups. She is a fountain of knowledge! She, Happy Banda and Bishop Derek are really the only ones that know every single parish in the diocese. Florence is amazing!

It has been an exhausting trip but very worthwhile. I would love to bring the St Gabriel choir to England. If there was a CD of their music it would sell like hotcakes! It would be great if folk from Holy Trinity such as a teacher, Someone to record and film what life is like in Lunchu parish, and capture some of the singing and dancing, some of our young people to experience life in rural Zambia, someone from MU,- the MU are the ones at the forefront of caring for the communities, inspiring and helping to build community schools such as Lunchu community school.

We dropped Pumulo off at a government school, as he is invigilating for exams today, and then we had a 2-hour drive back to Ndola. We arrived back at the Cathedral and our guesthouse in Ndola just before 12midday. We saw various people when we reported in at the Diocesan office – Agnes, MU president, Janet, the Administrator (she’s only been doing the job for 5 months), Susan, the secretary, Father Pascal, and then Bishop Derek arrived. Ken chatted to Janet about the link with Bath and Wells and Central diocese. Then we went with Bishop Derek and Pascal, to have lunch at the Bishop’s house with his wife Evelyn. We met their children:
Precious, Audreen, Chisenga – wants to be a lawyer, Mambwe, Derek – 16yrs – at boarding school, Yolanu & Mosonda.

Then we came back to the guesthouse for a rest, though Happy Banda came for Ken, as the Bishop wanted to see him. So Ken went off to the diocesan office and chatted with Bishop Derek and Janet about how the finances work. It cleared up several queries. Then we completed our packing, Happy loaded our bags into the Landrover, we said ‘goodbye’ to the bishop and went to the airport. The plane was supposed to leave at 5pm but didn’t actually take off until 7.30pm! Rodgers had phoned with the news so we hadn’t had to wait at the airport.

We arrived at about 8.10pm at Lusaka having had a good flight with a South African crew. Rodgers Banda was there to greet us with a warm smile. He had just come from an Alpha meeting. Canon Charley Thomas, the new Dean of Lusaka Cathedral, and Rodger Banda’s wife, Esther both phoned on our drive back into Lusaka, to find out what had happened to us, and what the delay was. It’s about a half hour drive from the airport to the ZAC (Zambian Anglican Council) guest house.

We had a lovely evening meal with Esther, Rodgers, and their son, and Charley. Ken then chatted about the link with Rodgers and Charley while Esther helped me try on the 2 outfits I’d had made by an MU tailor in Lusaka. She also showed me how to put the headpiece on using the left over pieces of material. Ken took photos in case I can’t do it again!

So it was quite a late night – well after 11pm when we got to bed. We’d had a lovely evening – Rodgers and Esther are such hospitable people. We set the alarm for 5.30am to be up and ready for the airport tomorrow.

Tues 30th Oct 07
We got up at 5.30am, showered, breakfasted, said ‘goodbye’ to Esther and went with Rodgers to the airport for the 8.50am flight to Heathrow. Rodgers had booked our seats, and he did a great job as we had seats by the emergency exit with lots of legroom!

In the departure lounge we bought a couple of souvenirs – a bicycle with a man on it made from wire and bottle tops! In the rural areas the main mode of transport is either walking or cycling. We also bought a ‘mud’ house with ‘straw’ for a roof, to show people what a lot of houses are like. John Chawaya’s office is just like it. This one is actually made of pottery, not mud.
Well, ‘goodbye’. Zambia until next time! We will always remember our time here and making so many new friends!

Friday around Ndola


I woke about 6am as it was getting light and then again at 6am. Ken and I had a cup of tea which we were able to make in our room. Then after breakfast at 8.45 Bishop Derek came and picked us up with Bishop Peter and Liz. We went to Margaret Hall, an MU sewing project in Mushili Parish, on the outskirts of Ndola. Father Pascal Chalwelwa is the priest there, with his wife Jessie. She hasn’t been very well – her limbs have been aching. Mushili parish is linked to St John’s, Bridgewater.

We met Julia Fundulu who is the Mother’s Union coordinator for the project. Beauty and Jenny are the instructors. We went into one room, packed with students and sewing machines. They study a 6 month course and are government affiliated, so they take exams to qualify and get a certificate. We watched the girls sewing at the machines. Julia told us anyone can steal anything from your house, but they can’t steal your skill. Those who are able and keen can move on to an advanced level. This building and the idea that came from the MU has taken 5 years to come to fruition. Little by little with what they could afford they gradually built the building brick by brick. The church next door in Mushili parish paid for the roof and the electricity. It is called Margaret Hall after Margaret Wineberg, who was MU president for many years and did a lot for the MU. Mr Iddaney Chapema is the chair of the board for Margaret Hall.

Challenges that they have:
Sewing machines need frequent servicing.
Electricity costs.
State of walls – large cracks.
More books on sewing needed.

This present course started in June and they take their exams the first week of Dec. They can train up to 50 students at a time, as they have morning and afternoon sessions. Later in the morning a nurse came to talk to them about HIV awareness. I asked them about when the course finishes is there any help for the students to own their own sewing machine. If the MU can afford it they try and give 5 machines to the best students.

We then went into the next room and saw a class of preschoolers. They had little uniforms shirts on, all made by Evelyn, their teacher who had been one of the first sewing students.
The other half of the room had grade 1 students,. Messie, the teacher was in the middle of giving some remedial help to one child and the others were all doing a simple maths test quietly from the blackboard.

Challenges Are:
Not enough desks and chairs. Need a larger blackboard.
Uniforms so the students can go on to government schools.

These children are aged 6-10yrs and have missed out on going to a gov. school either because of enrolment problems, - not enough places- or the child couldn’t afford the school uniform and school books.

There is also a problem with water supply – it is very intermittent, especially in the dry season. They would love to put a bore hole in.

We were then driven around Pascal’s parish – we saw St Agnes church, just made of mud, so they are building a new church next to it. So far the foundations are down and they will build the walls as they raise funds.

Then we drove to Kabushi Church, also in the parish of Mushili. This one was just made of wood and looked as if it wouldn’t last very long. They already have a large church half built. The walls are about 8 foot high and foundations are complete. Holy Trinity has 900 members, many have to walk miles to come, hence church planting in strategic places where people have access to the church. St Agnes has 657 including children and Kabushi has 600 registered members. Usually about 100-150 come, as many are trying to earn a living selling in the market.

Then we returned to Holy Trinity, went in the church, and enjoyed Mother’s Union dancing and singing. We all had to speak, first Ken, then me, then Liz and then Bishop Peter.

Julia, the coordinator spoke – Margaret Hall started in 2001 with 2 students. 161 have now been trained. It was begun to help those in adversity. They also do classes for HIV awareness. There is a need to sponsor students as the government has stopped sponsoring. There are 5,000 kwacha fees for appreciation to the instructors. Julia welcomed us warmly, and was keen for us to take ‘our picture’ wherever we go, to help with their work.

I gave out Mother’s Union cards with the MU prayer on – they were thrilled.

We were all presented with a shirt and Liz and I also a wrap around skirt. The students had made them while we had been looking around the parish!!!! They hadn’t measured us, just observed us when we came into the classroom! I tried mine on and joined in the African dancing with the ladies!

Then we had lunch in Pascal’s house and saw Jessie who was feeling a little better.
!2 midday came the time Bishop Peter and Liz were due at the airport! Time moved on and still no sign of Happy Banda, the Bishop’s driver! He’d been sent back to get the visitor’s book for us all to sign! Nothing happens fast here – Africa time! We eventually got to the airport, only to find the plane hadn’t even landed yet! We heard the president’s wife was due to land.

The Mother’s Union, including Evelyn, the Bishop’s wife turned up to say ‘goodbye’ to Bishop Peter and Liz, but they had already gone through to the departure lounge! Ken and I went back to the guesthouse for a short rest before Florence and Happy Banda were due to pick us up to go to Lunchu!

Blessing of the Teachers' House at St Michael's Mikumbila



We woke early, showered, killed a few enormous ants in our loo, and then Ken and I walked to the Cathedral, met Janet, the Admin secretary, and Happy Banda, the Bishop’s driver. We looked inside the Cathedral, and Janet explained all the dust covering the outside of the Cathedral, and also a thin layer inside, was due to pollution from the cement factory. They had complained to the Environment Agency, but it is still bad.

We returned to the guesthouse for breakfast – just down a short driveway from the Cathedral. I have worn my Mother’s Union sarong (called a chitenge in Zambia) for the Blessing of the teachers’ house at Lunchu. Mother’s Union members all wear their uniform whenever there is a meeting/ service etc. It is blue and white. We set off for Lunchu in Bishop Derek’s vehicle. He drives very fast so we made it in about an hour and a half! We were Bishop Derek, Bishop of Central Diocese in Zambia, Bishop Peter Maurice, Bishop of Taunton, Florence Mumba, the Diocesan Mother’s union worker, Dorcas, the MU president, Ken, myself and a young man who wanted a lift to the Kapiri turn off, where he would catch a bus to Lusaka. Liz, Bishop Peter’s wife, stayed and had a quiet day at the guesthouse, as she wasn’t feeling very well. It was very disappointing for her.

The straight road seemed endless. All along the highway there were people walking. One wondered where they’d come from and how long they’d already been walking, and how far they still had to go. A lot of charcoal was on sale by the roadside and lots of fruits and vegetables at little makeshift stalls – such as apples, watermelons, tomatoes etc. One stall we passed sold only mugs!

We arrived at Lunchu to be greeted by some of the children singing and dancing towards us, accompanied by Pumulo, the Deacon in Lunchu parish and Head teacher at the school there at St Michael’s community school. He was so excited and happy to see us all, and Ken and I were particularly excited to see him as he had stayed with us for a week when he was over in England for some training in August this year. Everyone greeted us all, shaking hands using the African handshake (3 shakes). We met up with John Chawaya, our link correspondent, seen here with Ken. There was lots of activity, the ladies cooking in the open air, chickens (from the chicken project) wandering around, excited children, young mums with their babies tied on their backs with pieces of cloth, Mother’s Union members. We met Hilda, and later Abigail, the 2 trained teachers living in the house that Bishop Peter had come to bless, also the Rev Stephen Panji from Macushi parish ( where Mark is priest – he also came and stayed with us in August with Pumulo), and John Chawaya, a lay reader and our link correspondent.

After lots of greetings we all went into church where different groups of children took it in turns to sing – they sang so beautifully and with such gusto and enthusiasm. At the front were Bishop Derek, Bishop Peter, Dorcas (MU president), Florence (Diocesan MU worker), Pumulo, Stephen, Pumulo, Ken and myself. We were introduced and the leaders in the congregation were introduced to us. There was a priest warden, Mr Malata, a church warden, 2 MU leaders, Deacon Pumulo, Mr John Chawaya, a teacher and link correspondent, Hilda Banda, Deputy Head, Kachinga, teacher, Father Panji, from Macushi, Miskandeo, president of MU, and Florence, the MU worker.

Bishop Derek asked each of us to stand up and say something. He said we would start with the lowest and work up! ‘ So Lois would you like to get up and speak first!’ Dorcas translated for me – I can’t remember exactly what I said, but I sent love from everyone in Nailsea, and our thoughts and prayers for them. Ken was next and then Bishop Peter! If it had been a church service in England I would have been very nervous, but it was all so relaxed and informal that I felt quite calm!! Then Pumulo did a long speech that he’d prepared in English, remembering his visit to England. He mentioned Jon Backhouse and family, Linda Dicks, the meeting with the Mother’s Union in our Rectory garden, and Jane and Pete Nott. He witnessed a baptism and a cremation while in Nailsea, and he remembered the meeting to talk about Lunchu. He continued, talking about the challenges facing them at Lunchu:

Transport to get around – (Ken had talked to Bishop Derek and hopefully now that can be followed up. Bishop Derek suggested getting a realistic quote for a motor bike for Lunchu, including spare parts and maintenance. A `few days later Bishop Derek said that he’d been thinking of the question of transport for Lunchu and thought for much the same cost a small Toyota pick up truck would be far more useful).

3 Community Schools – Mekumbila, St Agnes, and Kamukuba.

Parish needs help to lead a spiritual life.

He asked Bishop Derek to release funds to him on time! Then he talked about his visit to Canterbury, thanking Bishop Derek for allowing him to go to the UK. He was able to visit Canterbury, Bristol, London, Bath and Wells and Bournemouth. He sends his greetings to family and friends at Holy Trinity, Nailsea, and to all those that he met.

Most of the service was conducted in the local language of Bember, and then translated into English. When Bishop Derek asked the children questions in Bember, they would reply in English ‘ Yes’! He said ‘ oh, I see I don’t need to translate for you’!! Then Bishop Derek gave a potted history of how the school came to be built. It was a Mother’s Union initiative, by the late Mrs. Piri. It is difficult for many children to go to the government schools, as they are poor and unable to buy the necessary uniform and books. It was decided to build a Community school so that they could come just as they were. One family , I think from the UK, initially started to help with funding for the school. Unable to finish the school, HT Nailsea were then given Lunchu as their Link Parish and were able to help complete the school – fund the walls and the roof through our reordering fund (10% of which went to help overseas projects). The next project that HT helped fund was a house for the teachers to live in. Bishop Derek went on to say ‘ I might get in trouble with the government, but when Government teachers see the Lunchu teachers house and how nice it is, they all want to come here!!’ ( Hilda and Abigail are both from Dorcas’s church, and she is godmother to Hilda). The teachers in Community schools are often voluntary and untrained, and so Bishop Derek said, the schools are often considered rather 2nd class. So the Diocese agreed to send 2 people for teacher training – Hilda and Abigail. The Diocese paid for their training and they are now paid by the government. Pumulo who retired as a head teacher went into training for the Ministry and is now a Deacon, but is also head teacher of the school where Hilda and Abigail are!

Bishop Peter was then asked to speak. He sent apologies for Liz who wasn’t well, but being a teacher would love to have been here. He also said that he was sorry that Zambia lost the football final last night to South Africa! Bishop Derek later asked if anyone knew what we had in common – England and Zambia? No one answered, but everyone was thinking it must be a spiritual answer. He then replied to his question, saying that England had also just lost to South Africa in the final, at rugby!! Ken and I tried to learn some Bember language on the way to Lunchu in the car. We wanted to be able to greet people because many couldn’t speak English.

Mulishanni – How are you?
Bwino - Fine
Natotela - Thank you
Muleya Kwinsa - Where are you going?
Infi fiwakulya fiwama – the food is delicious

Hilda also spoke. She had prepared a speech in English. First she welcomed us all. Then she gave a background to the Community school. It was started in Jan 1999, Mrs Piri, an MU member being the founder. She and the MU were concerned for orphans and vulnerable children. The Diocese sponsored 2 teachers to study. UNICEF gave 25 desks and got some sports equipment. There are 5 teachers – 2 male and 3 female – 3 are trained. There are 212 children at the school (107 are boys and 105 are girls). 51 of these are orphans. They teach from grade 1-7, one stream each.

The challenges are:
There are only 2 classrooms and 7 streams.
Payment of community teachers is very low .
Lack of modern teaching and learning materials.
Only one toilet.
No jerseys for sports.
Many children live far away so are late for school.

Hilda said she would love to see another building, so that they could offer weekly boarding.


1 teacher’s house – helped by our church.
1 mono pump.
Chicken rearing project – 19 chickens at present. There is a temporary structure to house them.
Playing grounds.
Inter school competitions.

We all then went to look around the school, on the way passing where the community are making the bricks for the new house for the Head teacher.

Then we went and saw Hilda and Abigail’s house, which HT funded. It is a very nice small 3-bedroom house with a small kitchen, living room. It also has a bathroom and toilet, but this is yet to be completed. Bishop Derek, Bishop Peter, Pumulo and Ken all robed for the Blessing of the new home, service. We went around praying in each room, led by Bishop Peter. Lots of the children were there, and teachers, and MU and St Veronicas. Not everyone could fit into each room, but the clergy, teachers, MU and myself managed to go around each room. When the land and the entrance were blessed everyone was able to join in.

After The Blessing of Hilda and Abigail’s home we all went back to the church. The children and teachers all sat on the pews, made out of hardened mud. As we entered the children were all singing beautifully. Then we did the presentations of all the gifts given to us by Holy Trinity, Nailsea. Ken presented all the gifts to the school – all sorts of things, - pens, pencils, crayons, notebooks, bible stories, ruler, geometry set, pencil cases, kangaroos (not real, small toys!), spinning tops etc.

Then I presented the other gifts firstly to St Veronicas, from our Morning Break. The 3 young mums who came to collect the gifts, plus some lovely little children’s T shirts, were thrilled and went to their seat singing! Dorcas said they are singing to show how grateful they are. I said that Morning Break thought of them often and sent their love to them.

Then the Mother’s Union ladies came up to receive the gifts from our Mother’s union at HT. A card signed by our MU members, MU brooches, MU cards. I kept back the knitting needles and material given to me as I would like to uy some wool to go with them. This is just one MU group. I was to meet several more on my next `visit! There are 22 congregations in the parish, and so lots of different MU and St Veronica groups.

Then from the Explorer group at HT, Hilda and Abigail came and received their gifts and lovely card that the Explorers had all signed, with a picture of Holy Trinity on the front. They were amazed when they read that HT is 700 yrs old! The oldest church in Zambia is only 100 yrs old when the missionaries came.

I gave the cards out from those that sent them – the photos to Pumulo from Vera Hendy of Pumulo with the MU members in the Rectory garden. His beaming smile said it all. It means so much to them, that we at HT remember them in our prayers. Hilda and Abigail received the card from Linda Dicks. They so appreciate correspondence to know we are thinking of them.

We asked Pumulo afterwards to give us a list of things that were needed at Lunchu, so that we could buy things in Ndola, from the money collected by our church and MU. Here is the list that he gave us:
Filing cabinet
2 footballs, 2 netballs, 2 volleyballs and nets.
10 files.
Plain paper (ream)
10 bibles.
100 exercise books ( squared).
Carpentry tools – hammer, chisel, saw, nails.

So when we return to Lunchu to stay at the weekend, we may have a filing cabinet on the roof of the MU Landrover! The school has 2 classrooms with a small office in between them. There are just shelves that everything is stored on. A filing cabinet is desperately needed.

After presenting the gifts and more wonderful singing, we went back to the teachers’ house for lunch. The ladies had been busy cooking it on open fires. This included nshima – a solid white mass. It doesn’t have much flavour, made from maize usually. One picks off bits of nshima, roll it into a ball and pick up the food with it. Rural Zambians would not use a knife and fork. Bishop Derek said that now it was Ken’s 2nd visit, he wanted to see him eating his food the Zambian way!! Ken said ‘ no problem’ and got stuck in. He told me next visit you can eat without a knife and fork! He’s got quite a sense of humour! Before you start a meal, water is poured into a bowl so you can wash your hands under the ‘running’ water. As well as nshima we had chicken, one of the ones from the chicken project, cabbage, a tomato and onion sauce, rice, and a bean dish.

Then we said ‘goodbye’ to everyone. I think Pumulo thought Ken and I were staying tonight. He said his wife was waiting for us. She couldn’t be here today as she is a teacher at another school. Bishop Derek explained our programme to Pumulo. Tomorrow morning we will go to see an MU sewing project, then Bishop Peter and Liz return to Lusaka early afternoon, as they fly back to England on Saturday. In the afternoon Ken, Florence and I will do some shopping for some of the things on Pumulo’s list that the community need, and then return to Lunchu on Friday evening. Florence will accompany us – she is the Diocesan MU worker, also Happy Banda, the Bishop’s driver, will drive us in the MU Landrover.

We then returned to Ndola – Bishop Derek driving at a fair speed. He has such distances to cover. We stopped to look at a project the Mother’s Union are hoping to get under way. Some land near Kapiri has been bought by the MU, to build a school. It would be a community school, but a private one. That way it could pay its way and so they could have a percentage of orphans at the school. It would be a Christian boarding school. It sounds a wonderful vision. It is quite a large piece of land with a wall around it.

We had a relaxing evening together with Bishop Peter and Liz. It was a lot quieter than the previous evening when about 20 clergy, wives and Diocesan staff came to the guesthouse to join us for supper. Before bed we went for a short walk – we didn’t get very far as the gates from the Cathedral were shut! It was good to stretch our legs a little after a long drive.

Arrival in Central Diocese


WED 24th October 07

At 4pm we left Kitwe for a journey of just under an hour, heading for Ndola, along mostly dual carriageway. It is very hot, though nice to feel the breeze through the van windows as we went along. The guesthouse is just down a short drive from the Cathedral. We had a welcoming party of various people – Father Manuel, Margaret his wife, Grace, who manages the guesthouse, Janet, the

Administrative secretary for the Diocese and Florence Mumba, who is the Mother’s Union worker for the Diocese. Her husband died 3 years ago, her children are now grown up, but she is looking after 2 grandchildren whose parents have died. When Florence is travelling around the Diocese, her sister looks after the children. They were all very welcoming to us. We were shown to our rooms and freshened up. Then we went through to the dining room/lounge and chatted to people. More people arrived. There must have been over 20 of us for the evening meal together! Bishop Derek didn’t make it as he was still on the road on his way back from Fiwila. His wife Evelyn came. They have 7 children (25yrs-8yrs) and she is a teacher. Also at the welcoming meal were:

Canon Stephen Mwanza. He is Director of Stewardship.
Deacon Mwelwa Mupeta. His ‘boss’ is Rev Sam Zulu who is in S. Africa at the moment.
Susan - Bishop Derek’s secretary.
Douglas – Diocesan Registrar, and his wife Agnes, who is the former MU president, and now on the MU committee for the Province.
Dorcas – present MU president for Central Diocese.
Charles Ngesa – member of the Cathedral.
Raphael – retired Diocesan Administrator.
Evans and Patricia – husband and wife. Patricia is the Link secretary for Bath and Wells.
Rev Pascal and his wife, Jessie. Pascal is the priest of Mushili parish.
Happy Banda – Bishop’s driver
Loyce (pronounced Lois) Mary – the same name as me!! She helped with the meal and would like to study hotel management in Lusaka when she can afford it. We exchanged addresses as she was very excited to not only have her 1st name the same as me, but our middle name, Mary is the same too!!

We had a very nice buffet meal – rice, pasta, potatoes, chicken, salad, beef stew. Rev Manuel introduced everyone and then after the meal thanked all those who cooked the meal, ‘but next time could they have nshima, as without it Zambians didn’t feel they’ve had food!! We took photos and then people started leaving. Some watched a bit of the football match on TV, South Africa against Zambia. Bishop Peter and Liz headed for bed, and Ken and I sorted out the gifts to take to Lunchu tomorrow, before we fell asleep.

Wednesday in Kitwe

24th October 07

Today is Zambian Independence Day, so there will be celebrations and parades all around the Country. Father William, last night was quite cynical about the day. He said all the schools turn out for the celebrations. In Kitwe all the school children and their teachers have to be in Freedom Square by 7.30am. Any teachers that don’t bring their children are fined. He said ‘ what do the people have to celebrate? Poverty? Aids? Many people ignore the day. We got up at 8am and had breakfast with with Bishop Peter, and Liz – toast, egg and bacon. We saw the front page of yesterday’s newspaper reporting Rev Daka’s sermon at Lusaka Cathedral, for the Independence Day service on Sunday afternoon.

Bishop Albert came and picked us p to show us around the Diocese – well not the whole diocese as that would be an enormous area! Then at 3pm his driver will take us to Ndola, to Bishop Derek. Our first visit was to St Michael’s church in Kitwe, an old very Anglican brick built church. We met Father Harry Zulu, a lovely man and good friends with Roger and Ronnie Broomhead ( a couple in our church of Holy Trinity). He sent greetings to them. All Harry’s family names start with the letter H! First born is Harriet who is studying nursing in Yorkshire, living in Harrogate. Next is Hazel who is in Ndola. She is Captain of hockey for Zambia. Then comes Humphrey who is in Kitwe and the youngest is Hector who is in Konkola. Harry showed us their large church hall, which is next to his house, with the church on the other side of the house. The car park doubles as an outside worship area with a large communion ‘table’. They have just had their 50th Anniversary celebrations. The hall was built in 1957 – when Ken saw it on his last visit it was in great need of roof and floor repairs, which are now complete. We also went upstairs and saw his office. The church was built in 1940. We met Helen, his wife and took some photos promising to email them to them.

Then we drove to St Peter’s, Chimwemwe which is a township outside Kitwe. The word means ‘joy’. We drove off the tarmac onto an earth road in a high density area and came across St Peters still under construction. The roof was on and most of the walls had been built and windows were in. As we got out of the car we could hear beautiful singing. We went into the unfinished church to find 8 St Veronicas ladies practising singing and dancing for the Sunday service. We were all introduced and shook hands warmly, and I was able to give them each a Mother’s Union card with the MU prayer on it. They were thrilled. As we got into the car another St Veronicas lady appeared at the window eager to have a copy of the MU prayer. So thanks to Chris Mahoney for giving them to me and bringing smiles to their faces.

We then continued driving into the rural areas, to Garneton. It was an area of farmhouses where a huge shanty area had grown up, Bishop Albert saying the numbers were probably 45,000. We passed a walled compound. Inside it about to be built, were houses for the Chinese owners of the copper mines. The feeling was that the Chinese only had to ask the government for land and the request was granted. If Zambians applied it would be very difficult and would be a long drawn out process. He showed us a church in Garneton, called St Philips, also part of St Peter’s parish. This church though had no roof on it yet, and as the diocese can’t yet afford it, there will probably be no roof before the rains come shortly. Next to this church is the present one that they are worshipping in. It is built of bamboo, plastic and straw with simple benches inside. Next to these 2 Anglican churches, the old and the new, is an enormous Catholic church with a wall around it. Across the dirt track is a Pentecostal church. Bishop Peter asked why the Anglicans couldn’t share the enormous Catholic building. I think it basically comes down to Holy Communion, that the Catholics wouldn’t allow the Anglicans to receive communion.

As we were driving around a car passed with a helmet on the back shelf. Bishop Albert said ‘ if you see a helmet you know that car is either a supplier or a contractor at the copper mines. Bishop Albert took us for a drive around the area where he was brought up and showed us his school. A lot of the houses were gone. Some new ones were being built to move people whose homes are in a dangerous area where the mines are. They will move into the homes as soon as they are completed. We also drove past homes that had sprung up informally. The government want to clear the area, but are afraid they’ll lose votes, so the people remain to date. Tiny homes made of any materials available – wood, mud, etc cramped together. On past a huge market that went on and on, rather run down, but a hive of activity. We were back at the guesthouse and had lunch there with Bishop Albert. Then we packed our bags into the van that Bishop Albert’s driver was going to take us in, to Ndola. We first stopped at Bishop Albert’s house to say ‘goodbye’ to him and his family. We took a family photo of Bishop Albert, Bertha, their son Michael 10yrs, and daughter 4yrs, plus their family dog. Such a lovely family, and such a hard job that Bishop Albert has.

Northern Diocese




We got up at 5.30am to have breakfast at 5.45am ready to go for our early flight to Ndola. But while I was in the shower Bishop David’s car arrived with Bishop Peter and Liz – they had come half an hour earlier than we’d expected. They too hadn’t realised it would be this early. We had a quick breakfast and said ‘goodbye’ to Rodgers and Esther and left for the airport. Airport tax was 28 kwachas. I’m writing this as we are taxiing down the Lusaka runway! The pilot has just told us to ‘sit back and enjoy your flight’. There are only 8 passengers, a hostess and a pilot on board. Bishop Peter has just said ‘this is more comfortable than BA’!! We have an extra bag as luggage that contains presents from many at Holy Trinity, and groups such as ‘Explorers’, Mother’s Union, and Morning Break, as well as individuals. It contains all sorts of ‘goodies’ such as toys, crayons, pens, pencils, lotions, notebooks, calendars, tea towels, soaps, knitting needles. Jenny Humphries had given us a large bag of knitted squares, which we left in Lusaka with Catherine, who is the MU worker for Lusaka Diocese. Previously MU members she said had knitted small blankets for premature babies in Eastern Diocese.

There has just been a ‘funny’ noise, which made my heart miss a beat!
I looked to see what the pilot was doing! Ken joked ‘Oh it’s probably the kettle boiling!’ And sure enough the waitress is now up and preparing drinks for us!! We landed safely in Ndola having had a very good and comfortable flight lasting about 45 minutes. A driver from Kitwe met us, we presumed he was Bishop Albert’s driver. We had another 45 min journey from the airport to Kitwe mainly on dual carriageway. The scenery was dusty from lack of rain, huge termite mounds, quite a lot of trees and areas alongside the road that were cultivated – men and women with handheld ploughs. There were also various straw covered huts selling things at regular intervals each side of the road – from arts and crafts, to armchairs, beds, doors etc!

We arrived at Kitwe around 9am at The Providence Guesthouse. We had some coffee and toast while waiting for our rooms to be got ready, and to be picked up to go, we thought to St Michael’s where Bishop Peter understood he was to be speaking to the St John’s Seminary students. We were a bit concerned as we thought we were expected there for 10am. Midday came and still we were waiting, no sign of anyone coming to pick us up!! When we enquired in the office we were just told ‘ they will be coming’! On our itinerary and speaking to Bishop John Osmers, Rector of St John’s Seminary ( when he was in Lusaka for the Licensing of the new Dean), we definitely thought we’d got the early plane so as to be with the students and staff at 10am! So not sure what is happening.

Bishop Albert came just before !pm and asked us if we’d had a good rest. We would have done if we’d known we weren’t due anywhere for a while! He said that the programme was for us to rest and then be at St John’s Seminary at 2pm. We told him we hadn’t eaten yet as we thought we were going to be picked up any minute for the last 3 hours! So we had a lovely meal of chips, vegetables and chicken kebabs. Bishop Albert told us he’d only got back from Malawi last night – as Dean of the Province of Central Africa, which includes Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Malawi, he is acting Archbishop for the Province as Archbishop Bernard Malango has retired. Malawi has a vacancy (3 Dioceses). Elections can’t take place unless there are Bishops in place in all the dioceses. There are a lot of church politics going on with a parish priest in England pushing to be the Bishop. Bishop Albert had a very difficult time there and was threatened physically. People warned him that he might be killed. He replied ‘ if I am killed I will welcome death, I am not going to be afraid’, and he remained sitting rather than escaping. This morning he had a meeting with his archdeacons before coming to us.

After lunch Bishop Albert took us to see a building that Ken had seen on his last visit. It has since been renovated and enlarged. In the grounds offices are being built, for renting out so that the diocese can have an income. The main building ‘houses’ the Diocesan office, the Bishop’s office, MU office Community Development office and a lovely large hall for meetings etc. Bishop Albert has a lot of vision for the diocese to be self-supporting. He wants to \move from aid to development.

His driver then took us to a large compound, which has St John’s Seminary, training evangelists and ordinands. We met the Rector there, Bishop John Osmos, and the Lecturers:
Olga from Czechoslovakia originally (though she has lived in Tanzania since she was 19yrs), has been at St John’s for 6 yrs. She teaches Church History and Biblical Studies.
Keith Scott from CMS, Ireland, teaches systemmatics – homiletics and IT.
George, a Franciscan is a visiting Lecturer, teaching Spirituality and Liturgy.
Francis, a Zambian, teaches Pastoral Theology. Linda, Keith’s wife teaches English, as some come from French speaking countries.

We all sat in quite a small room and Bishop Peter spoke on Changing Lives, and showed a clip from the Changing Lives video. Ken also spoke, then questions and Bishop Peter presented them with the Changing Lives DVD series. We then had a drink and biscuits, and a tour around, plus a group photo. We visited the vegetable garden where bananas, oranges, mangoes, sweet corn, cabbages, marrows etc were growing.

An appointment followed at The Mindolo Ecumenical Foundation with Rev Reuben Daka. He is a lovely Zambian, full of humour and wonderfully welcoming with a beautiful smile. His sermon at the Independence Service in Lusaka Cathedral, was front page news in The Zambian Times newspaper! Reuben has taken over from Charley Thomas as Director of the Mindolo Ecumenical Foundation. He is a Presbyterian. Bishop John Osmers told us that Bishop Michael Lapsley is here for 3 days to speak about Reconciliation and Healing of the memories. Like Bishop John he had publicly supported the ANC during the Apartheid in South Africa. The S. African Government didn’t like that, and the Security Forces sent parcel bombs to try and kill them. Bishop John said that his parcel bomb was only a small one compared to Bishop Michael Lapsley’s! Bishop John lost his whole hand and Bishop Michael lost both hands and one eye. He now has a huge ministry not just in Africa but places like East Timor etc. on reconciliation. As we left the Mindola centre in the car we saw Bishop Michael walking along the road to the MEF. We dropped Bishop John off at St John’s Seminary and then went back to the guesthouse.

The room we were moving into still wasn’t ready – a couple of men were trying to fix the air-conditioning to no avail. When we were able to move in we had a shower and then just after 7pm we walked along the road to Bishop Albert’s house for dinner. His wife, Bertha is a lot better since having treatment for cancer in England. Their 3 yr old daughter has also had treatment in England for sickle cell anaemia. She is a very sweet petite little girl, quite ‘bouncy’, but still has to return to hospital at times. We didn’t meet their 10yr old son, Michael as he was out playing with friends. When we arrived at the house it was all in darkness – there was a power cut, so we had dinner by candlelight, which was very nice.

The food had all been cooked on a brazier as the power had been off since 9am. I couldn’t help thinking that if that happened to me in England, with lots coming for supper, I might have either postponed it or given them something cold!! Bertha produced lots of different hot dishes!! The electrician came while we were there and found a huge cable completely bent, and someone out there with a fire going, obviously sleeping there. They warned him the cables could kill him. I think he was taken off to the police station! Anyway it’s going to be a huge task to get the electricity back on, so they might be without it for quite a while.

In the candlelight we met other invited guests church leaders who live nearby. There was Frazer, an Archdeacon and his wife, Judith. He had been Rector of St John’s Seminary before Charley Thomas. Then there was William, a priest who was supporting his mother and I think niece and nephew, who’d both lost parents to Aids. The niece had also had a child out of wedlock. In Zambia, he said that poverty means that if someone offers you some meat in exchange for sex, then it will happen. William not only has a parish, but is also the Bishop’s chaplain. Then there was Joyce and her husband, a lay Canon and also on the Standing Committee. We then enjoyed the buffet meal- nshima, rice, pasta, chicken, chicken curry, beef stew, and various vegetable dishes. We all felt quite exhausted, and it was hard at times to make conversation, especially as it was hard to see anyone in the dimness! Bishop Albert was in and out trying to deal with the electrical problem and also, and also phone calls on Provincial business. It was a delicious meal, Bertha had done amazingly with so many to feed and no electricity!

Just after 9pm we returned to the guesthouse and were in bed at a reasonable hour. Our room had been sprayed with mosquito spray. Our mosquito net had holes in it but we weren’t disturbed by any! In fact we only ever saw one dead mosquito!!

Monday in Lusaka


We had a large breakfast at 7.30am – omelette, eggybread, ham, and tomato, toast, cornflakes and orange segments! Rodgers and Esther popped in to see us and told us we were to be at the Cathedral at 8.40am ready to be taken with Bishop Peter and Liz to the British High Commission. We left at 8.30am with 2 of the ZAC staff who were going to drop us off at the Cathedral, so we could meet up with the Bishops to go to the High Commission together in Bishop David’s car. Three times the car alarm went off as we were driving and the car lost all power! As it happened on a dual carriageway it wasn’t very pleasant with cars whizzing past us. They tinkered under the bonnet and the car worked again for a while. The 2nd time we managed to veer off into a side road to get out of the traffic’s way. We went along the back roads after that to the Cathedral.

We walked through the Cathedral grounds to the Diocesan office and met up with Bishop David. We also saw Constance who works there- I’d met her last night at the ‘pot luck’ supper. We discovered that the High Commissioner was expecting us at 10am, not 9am as we had thought, so Bishop David showed Bishop Peter, Liz, Ken and I around the Diocesan land and property. We met Molly Wadey, who works for ‘ Voyageurs’, a tourist company. They rent an office from the Diocese and her husband Gordon, was involved with Rod Humphreys (Jenny his wife, is the World Mission Advisor for Bath and Wells Diocese), to develop the land that the diocese own, so that the church is able to have an income.

Then we drove to the British High Commission and met with Charley Thomas and William – Dean and Sub dean. Bishop David drove separately and Bishop Peter, Liz, Ken and I went with Bishop David’s driver in another vehicle. Bishop Peter has the use of Bishop David’s driver and car while he is in Lusaka. We all trooped into the building and while in the queue waiting we met an elderly lady, who’d come here from England when she was 2 yrs old, and lived here ever since! The High Commissioner was nowhere to be found, and so the man in the office phoned and discovered we were expected at his residence!! So we all hurried back to the cars and arrived late!! We arrived at his lovely house and beautiful garden, and found him very welcoming to us. We all sat outside on his veranda and enjoyed ‘English’ tea or coffee in china cups and saucers, with brownies and homemade chocolate chip cookies! We were there for at least an hour and it was a good contact for Charley. He was able to offer the use of the Cathedral for any official services.

Then Bishop Peter, Liz, Ken and I went to the Craft Village, which were selling a variety of arts and crafts, in a number of circular mud brick shops. All the people who had made the crafts were keen to sell to us. Mr Katema, our driver kindly came with us when we were ready to buy to make sure we weren’t ‘ripped off’. I was the last to get back in the car, and we hurried to the Kainga Lodge (where Bishop Peter and Liz were staying) where there were lots of clergy, wives and Diocesan workers for an informal lunch under a tree in the garden. Several of the Lodge staff were barbequing chicken and there was beef stew, rice, nshima, salad, Chinese cabbage (delicious made with crushed peanuts) etc. Pudding was a delicious fresh fruit salad. After lunch Bishop David asked Bishop Peter to speak for about 20 mins on ‘Changing Lives’, which has been an initiative in Bath and Wells Diocese for the last few years. Ken also spoke followed by questions.

Afterwards Ken and I went back to ZAC, and Esther, Enelesi and I went to buy some material for me to get a Zambian outfit made. The shop was full of materials and I felt overwhelmed, I just didn’t know what would suit me. Also the shop was about to close, so I didn’t have any time to dither and made a rushed choice! Across the road by the car was another shop also about to close. I quickly bought another material there, as enough for an outfit only cost about £5. Then we drove to a tailor. She is a Mother’s Union member, and I was pleased to be able to give her some work. She measured me and I chose 2 different styles. The pink material cost me 35,000 kwacha (about £5) and the orange/ yellow/ blue material cost 50,000 Kwacha. To make up the outfit is 80.000Kwacha each – about £11, so very good value. Then we made our way back to ZAC, Esther driving in very heavy traffic, everyone going home from work.

We got back at about 6pm and I went in search of Ken, finding him relaxing under the pagoda. We had supper together in the guesthouse dining room – noodles with chicken and mixed vegetables. It was tasty, followed by a banana and orange segments.
We sat in the lounge to wait for Malele, who was going to pop in to see us after work with one of her daughters, Saraiya and granddaughter, Ariana. While we were waiting Christine Muyawala, the People’s Warden at Holy Cross Cathedral arrived and presented us both with a present – a shirt, with ‘church of the Holy Cross’ printed on it. Also for me a chitenge, and Christine taught me how to put it around me to secure it like a sarong. I loved them and was so pleased with the gifts!

After she had left, Malele, Saraiya (24yrs) and Ariana (18mths) arrived. It was lovely to see Malele again, and to meet for the first time, her daughter Suraiya, and granddaughter, Ariana. Suraiya was so eager to learn all about the family she belonged to, and I was able to show her a few photos, one with Mum and Dad (Pat and Marion Ashe) and children at Dad’s 90th birthday celebrations.

Malele told us that Mulilo’s house is chaotic and Mulilo is devastated, because a really good friend of his died the night of the Rugby final, in a car crash – 3 people killed altogether. His Swedish wife and 4 month old daughter was out of the country at the time.Mulilo had to go to the airport to pick her up, and since then she has been at his house , his wife Donna trying to protect her. In Zambian culture, when someone dies, relatives turn up from all over the place , so her home is inundated with people. They are now turning up at Mulilo’s, so he has lots of people now around at his house trying to see his dead friend’s widow. Mulilo and family and Donna’s mother never made it for their holiday break in Tanzania. The funeral is on Thursday.

Ariana was quite active and a real ‘sweetie’. Suraiya would love to meet family and visit England. She has visited once but didn’t know about her large extended family!! Their taxi (one of Mulilo’s taxi firm) didn’t turn up for ages and Malele was getting crosser and crosser!

The Ken and I packed, left a few things we didn’t want to take on the plane to Ndola, and went to bed under our mosquito nets.

Licensing of Charley Thomas as Dean of Lusaka


SUNDAY 21ST October 07

We had a knock on the door at 6am! The cook called through the door saying breakfast was ready. We’d thought it would be at 6.45am! So we hurried up, showered, dressed and went to the dining room. Breakfast was fried egg ( very nice though I think it had been made before 6am!), spam and bread that we could toast, followed by a banana and orange segments.
Then we went with Rodgers and Esther to the Cathedral. The Girl’s Brigade and all the various uniformed groups were congregating when we arrived. Rodgers and Ken went off to robe and Esther and I went into the Cathedral to a row at the front reserved for clergy and Bishop’s wives. I sat next to Bishop Derek’s wife (Central diocese) and Liz Maurice. Also on our row, was Bishop David’s wife, Noreen, and Susan Rivett. Susan and her husband Peter are from England and know John Simons (who was the previous vicar at Holy Trinity, Nailsea), and Chris and Janet Faull (two of our congregation at HT), as they were with SOMA ( Sharing of Ministries Abroad) and Crosswinds. They came to Mapanza Mission Station, Peter as Chaplain to the large boarding school. Then the Bishop asked him to be the parish priest as well! They have 16 churches as well as the chaplaincy! Rev Charley Thomas’s family were sitting in front of us in the front row.

The service lasted 4 hours from 8am – midday! There were several choirs – Cathedral Praise Team, Diocesan Choir, Mary Sumner choir, Mother’s Union, and at various times during the service they would burst out in song and dance. The choirs were wonderful to watch and listen to. It was a lovely service with a lot of variety and very lively.

During the installation of Rev Charley Thomas, as Dean, one of the questions and response was this:
Bishop: ‘My brother, will you proclaim God’s word with boldness, teach the truth and banish error?’
Priest: ‘ With God’s help I will.’
Bishop:’ People of this parish will you hear what is preached, apply it to your lives, and by word and deed commend the gospel to others?’
People: With God’s help we will.’
Bishop David then said ‘ That means listening to the sermon and not reading your parish news!!’

He made funny remarks quite a lot. He introduced Bishop John Osmers, as ‘retired but not tired!’ Bishop John is missing one hand, die to the South African Government security forces (during apartheid) sending him a parcel bomb that blew off his hand. He is head now of St John’s Theological in Kitwe, in Zambia.

Buomba was amazing with their music and dance. They are a Roman Catholic cultural worship group from Kaunda Square Catholic parish and performed twice during the service. Towards the end of the service different groups – cell groups, Bishops, Mother’s Union, Youth, Clergy Wives, etc. all came up to the front to shake hands with Charley and all his family, wife Rachel and children, Tony, Mollie, and 3 yr old Jolly. His mother too was there at the service – she had come over especially from India where she lives. Many brought up gifts for Charley. At the end of the service there was a large procession out. Everyone greeted each other on the Cathedral steps and in the grounds. Then followed refreshments – drink, sandwich, chicken drumstick, and 2 varieties of samosas, and sausage. We ate it in a tent (put up in the Cathedral grounds), which became very hot, as the tent was made of plastic material and there was no through breeze. We greeted various folk, everyone was so welcoming and friendly.

A red carpet was being put out on the steps of the Cathedral ready for another big service in the afternoon, for Independence Day, with the President expected. Eventually we went back to ZAC with Rodgers and Esther, dropping George (who lectures at St John’s Seminary, in Kitwe) off at a house. There was a fierce some dog there, so he wouldn’t get out of the car until the security guard on the gate had secured it behind a fence!!

In the afternoon we changed into cooler clothes and sat under the pagoda where there was a gentle breeze. We had a short nap, and then I wrote up my diary. At 6pm we went with Rodgers and Esther back to the Cathedral for a ‘pot luck’ supper. We arrived to find no one around, except 2 ladies coming out of an Alpha course! We discovered the supper was supposed to be at 6.30pm. We’re learning to live by Zambian time and the supper actually materialised at about 8pm!! Bishop Derek never made it – he’d gone to bed!! I joined the ladies sitting around the table. I met Irene and Pinky from Zimbabwe. Four of them had driven here for the service – it had been a 12hour drive from their homes in Zimbabwe! That’s longer than the flight we had from UK, which had been 10 hours. Irene is a primary school teacher and we got talking about the lovely Zambian dresses. We both said we’d like one, and she was doing a drawing of one I liked of a lady called Wanga, who was wearing a lovely green dress. She was trying to do the design so she could have one made when she got back to Zimbabwe. I went over to Wanga and chatted with her saying how lovely her dress was. She gave me all the details of where to buy the material and the person who could make it. I took a photo front and back, and said I’d send the photo by email to Irene. Austin and Pinky came with her. I also sat next to Rachel and Jollie (4 yrs). Rachel is Charley’s wife – Canon Charley Thomas, Dean of Lusaka Cathedral. I spoke with Margaret Katongo Willombe, who is the National Coordinator of Mother’s Union. I met her 2 children, Bevan and a daughter, who’s name I forget. They are both studying in Australia, in Perth. Margaret gave me her contact details as she may come to England sometime. I also sat next to George Kateka and his wife Hilda and chatted with them. He was Master of Ceremonies this morning at Charley’s Licensing service.

We had a delicious ‘pot luck’ supper of rice, chicken, chapatti, pumpkin leaves, etc. Ken chatted with a number of the men. We came home about 9.30pm. Esther said we could go shopping for material tomorrow when I am free, probably after lunch. In the morning I think our itinerary includes The British High Commission, and then lunch with some of the clergy and wives. Esther and I are then hoping to be able to have a bit of free time to go shopping! Bishop Peter has a bad back – I said I could give him some back exercises. I think the plane journey was part of the cause.

Arrival in Zambia

SATURDAY 20.10.07

We Arrived at Lusaka airport about 8am and were met by a contingent of Anglicans and had VIP treatment, bypassing the long queue! We sat in the VIP lounge while our passports were checked. I think having the Bishop of Taunton with us wearing his purple shirt helped! Ken and I tagged along with him!! Bishop David Ngovu ( Bishop of Lusaka), Rev Rodgers Banda ( Administrator of ZAC – Zambian Anglican Council), Rev William Vwapu ( Subdean of Lusaka cathedral) and Rev Charley Thomas ( he will be installed as Dean of Lusaka cathedral tomorrow morning), were all there to greet us! They were all so welcoming.

We piled into 2 vehicles, Bishop Peter and his wife Liz (Bishop of Taunton from Bath and Wells diocese) in one and Ken and I in another. We went to the ZAC guesthouse with Rodgers Banda and Bishop Peter and Liz went to Kainga Lodge (two of the Cathedral congregation own the Lodge and are very generous in letting it be used). Ken and I met Esther, Rodgers wife and we were shown to our room where we had a nap until lunchtime.

After lunch, having contacted Mulilo, we met up with my 3 cousins, Malele, Mulilo, and Chiko. It was wonderful to meet up with them again as it had been many years since I’d last seen them, when they were no more than children. Now they are in their 40s and have families. Mulilo came and picked us up and we discovered we were staying only about 1 mile from his house. Their house is in quite a large area of land, and they have a swimming pool, swings, trampoline etc. We sat on the veranda and met everyone there. Chiko was there with 2 of his children, a girl and a boy, Luka. There is a baby girl who wasn’t there – they have a full time nanny, as Chiko’s wife, Sam, works full time with the British Council and is often abroad. She is in Senegal at the moment. Chiko works as a lawyer. We also met Mulilo’s wife, Donna. She is English – they both met when Donna was renting a room at 65, Birdhurst Rise, Croydon, where Mulilo’s smother was brought up. They have 2 girls about 9yrs and 6 yrs. Donna’s Mum, from Bexhill was also there visiting them for a month. Her name is Noreen and she was originally from Ireland. Mulilo and family are due to travel to Tanzania tomorrow for a few days holiday.

Later Malele arrived straight from work. It was so lovely catching up with her and her brothers and families. She works for an advertising magazine that also has interesting articles. She wants me to write an article for the magazine on something like ‘First impressions of Zambia’!! We gave them all love from Mum and Dad and gave each family a ‘London bus’, full of toffees, which when empty becomes a moneybox. Mulilo runs a ‘dial a cab’ taxi firm. We spent about 4 hours with them – it was so lovely to meet up with them again after so long.

Mulilo dropped us back at ZAC about 6pm and then at 7pm we had supper with Rodgers and Esther in their home next to the guesthouse. Some of their children were there, so it was lovely to meet them. The 2 girls, one a niece cooked a delicious supper of chicken, cabbage a bean mix, nshima (the staple maize food), pumpkin leaves with peanut butter (delicious!). This was followed by ice cream with fresh pineapple, and the final of the World Cup Rugby!! Soth Africa against England. Soth Africa won 15-6. It was a late night. I felt quite exhausted from the plane journey, and lack of sleep, and had swollen legs. We slept under a mosquito net, but didn’t actually notice any of the nasty creatures!!

Leaving for Zambia



Ken and I packed and piled into the car with Simba. We managed to fit in just about everything – our clothes, and gifts from many at Holy Trinity, to our link parish in Lunchu, Eastern Diocese in Zambia We had pencils crayons, toys, soaps, tea towels, bible stories, knitting needles, cards and money collected to buy things out there that are needed etc.!

We left Nailsea and stopped in Maidenhead for a cuppa with my brother, Andrew and his wife, Eve and their family. Andrew is going to Malawi on Saturday, the day after us, with his daughters, Rachel and Lois. The charity side of his company is involved with education, using handheld computers, solar powered or wind up. The amazing thing is that the lessons are all in the local language. He has been out several times to Malawi and the schools, parents and government are excited about what is possible. He first trailed it in 10 schools, and then expanded to more schools, as it was so successful. This time he is taking his 2 teenage daughters and building a classroom to use his technology. Rachel and Lois will take some lessons. Their flight stops briefly in Lusaka!

We arrived at Pam and Peter’s just before 8pm. Peter is my cousin and he and Pam have very kindly said they would have Simba, and our car, while we are away for 10 days in Zambia. Peter had a finance meeting in his study (he is the treasurer at their local church!) and Pam was at a Guiding meeting! She had kindly left some stew in the oven for us. Rachel, their daughter, had just got home from work, and welcomed and fed us. It was so lovely ‘catching’ up with my goddaughter, as we hadn’t seen her for ages. Later in the evening when Pam and Peter had finished their meetings we all watched ‘Question Time’ on television, as Eve’s sister Rosie Millard (‘Fuzzy’) was on the panel! Simba very quickly seems very much at home with Peter and Pam in their home.

FRIDAY 19TH OCTOBER 2007-11-16

Peter took Simba for a walk, and then we all had a leisurely breakfast. Later in the morning we walked to their church and newly built church centre, and had a look around. A lovely crisp sunny day, with Autumn colours and lots of leaves on the ground. When we got back we sat in the sun for a coffee. Lunch was bangers, mash and beans. I spoke on the phone to my sisters, Ruth and Jane and also Mum and Dad and Mary, Esther and Zoe, before flying, to say ‘bye’. I also managed to phone Mulilo, as Jenny Humphries (World Mission Advisor for Bath and Wells Diocese) had given me prefix tel nos. to enable one to have cheap overseas calls! The call to a landline is only 2p a minute and to a mobile phone it is 10p a min. We arranged that we would phone Mulilo when we arrived in Lusaka, and try and meet up with him, Chiko and Malele. They are my cousins on my father’s side of the family. His sister, Mary Poore (nee Ashe) had a daughter, Rosemary who married Patrick, a Zambian. Their 3 children, Malele, Mulilo and Chiko are now in their 40s and have families of their own. Ken and I are very excited to be able to meet them! Last time I met them they were small children, so that’s quite a number of years ago!

Peter very kindly drove us to the airport where we met up with Bishop Peter Maurice and his wife, Liz. The booking of the seats was a bit of a disaster, as unbeknown to us you had to book your seats online 24 hours before departure. We had booked our tickets back in April, but the travel agent hadn’t imparted this rather vital bit of information, so we found we weren’t sitting next to each other. We all tried to make a fuss, which worked with Bishop Peter and Liz – it must have been his purple shirt! – but Ken and I were a long way from each other! The food on the plane, amazingly was quite edible – chicken curry, cheesecake, kitkat, and a ‘superfood’ healthy drink. I passed the hours watching films and chatting to the neighbours on each side of me. On my left a young lady, a teacher from California, teaching at an American school in England near Thorpe Park. She goes to Romania 2-3 times a year helping with an orphan project, and next March she is going on an expedition to Antarctica, with about 70 others in leadership/teaching roles. The man running the expedition is Robert Swan, who is very interested in the whole subject of global warming and is keen to educate others. He takes an expedition each year. He has been to clear up other people’s mess that previous explorations over the years have left behind. On the other side of me was a lad (over 6’ tall!) who had just done his GCSEs at a school in England. He was born and brought up in Zambia and his family own several large farms in Central and Northern Zambia – growing such foods as maize and soya. When we arrived at Lusaka airport he said ‘ There are my parents on the tarmac, and that is our plane, the blue one, that I will go home in’. He wants to go to university in America. His great grandfather was one of the first missionaries to Zambia, ‘one of Livingstone’s ‘side kicks’ he said!