Monday, August 15, 2005

last days

Hey! Less than a week left in Zambia. Has been an eventful two months. Full of some great adventures. The first three weeks I was traveling all over the country with a team of NZers. Since then I have spent a week at a boarding school teaching English classes during their last week of term. They were really short staffed and so it worked out great for them and for me. I stayed in the 6th form girls dorm room and learnt some Zambian music, dance and games. So much fun. The week ended with sports day and boy can they run fast. Some of these kids should be running for the Olympics. Unfortunately there are no athletic clubs for them to join and finding a job will be hard enough if they stay in Zambia – unlikely to have time to train, etc. It’s been a running pattern during my entire trip – everyone and everything has so much potential but at the same time few people expect anyone or anything to improve much.
After my week at Chengelo (the school) I stayed with Brad and Greer Sutton (NZers, recently immigrated to Zambia) in Kabwe. Greer and I did some unpacking and repacking, played with Zahara (2 ½) and Rozena (7 months), made food, ate food, read lots, visited the kiwis in Sam and Gabby’s house, spot of shopping… it was a great relaxing time – just what the doctor ordered.
Two weeks ago I headed north on a questionable bus, to Ndola. I’ve been staying at lifespring farm and working at Isubilo.
The farm is a lodge as well as a working farm – bananas, chickens, rabbits, donkeys, assorted veges, some maize and (the most exciting and frequent topic of conversation) Jatropha – and oil seed which has been successfully used to make a bio-diesel! They have a tractor that runs on normal diesel or jatropha-fuel. They’re in the process of getting funding from the government for expanding the project.
Isubilo (which is where I’ve been involved) is an orphan community care project – not an orphanage as all the kids live with extended family. But Isubilo provides day programs for the kids twice a week, food for the families, plus basic support for school fees, clothes, uniforms, shoes, hygiene products, etc. A truly amazing organization. You can look it up on google if you’re interested. Or just ask me for info. I’ll point you in the right direction. My job has been to write up the stories of some of the orphan kids to give to the supporting churches (all over the world). So I’ve written six stories with photographs, etc. It was great to get to know some of the kids, see their homes and meet their families. Today was my last day – finished up the stories, painted the fingernails of about a dozen girls, helped sort some of the clothing boxes that have been sent over.
A lot of what I’ve seen has been really discouraging but these past few weeks I’ve been privileged to see how people are being helped and lives are being changed. Isubilo also does support groups for HIV+ and Aids patients – with food (often helps more than the ARVs which are too strong for malnourished patients… so most of them), group meetings and activities. Our work in the storeroom this morning was accompanied by the drama group singing. And can they sing?!
Heading back to Kabwe tomorrow, then to Lusaka on Friday (with the cheese from Maplehurst farm). Fly out to Scotland on Sunday. Back to my roots. Way back.

Monday, August 08, 2005

isubilo this week

staying at a gorgeous farm outside ndola this week. so nice. spending days at isubilo - a orphan and hiv community care project. i'm writing the stories of some of the children and taking their photographs and visiting their homes. it's eyeopening but so rewarding to see them and talk to them in their own environment. starting to see the kids as real ppl - it's hard to imagine, from my perspective, that ppl live like that all their lives and know no different. remarkable. on saturday some of the older girls are going to braid my hair so when i get to scotland and the US i'll look as african as i'll probably ever look (tan won't have faded hopefully- tho its hard to tell if it's a tan or just a layer of dust.

feel so dirty and thoroughly looking forward to a swim when we return to the farm. have posted photos at other site:

will try and add more recent ones soon as those are all from the first week really.