We are at present limping our way to Livingstone on a very worn front tyre due to continued suspension problems and after having the problem supposedly rectified in Lusaka. We are to pick up Jennie Chinembiri and George Lind (of the Church of Scotland's World Mission Council) from the airport while doing various items of business for school, manse and hospital.
The Reverend Silishebo has demitted office after 8 years at Mwandi and has been called to the Chaplaincy at the University of Zambia in Lusaka; the Reverend Derek Lubasi who is presently at Coillard Memorial in Livingstone will be inducted shortly as our new minister. There is a flurry of activity cleaning, painting and renovating the manse to welcome the new ‘family’ (Lubasi means family in Silozi.)
We have just spent the past week-end doing another flitting! We have moved into Hippo House – bit of a misnomer as far as size is concerned but we are fortunate to enjoy running water and electricity (most of the time) utilities denied to a large majority of the Zambian population.
Some progress has been made with the house that the Church of Scotland funded with a grant, and that Nick designed and is building. The wooden flooring is being laid at the moment. We hope we can move in before Christmas.
We are beginning to pick up the threads of where we left off. On the first Sunday evening we got back was a very moving service for the sending out of the 10 young people back to their congregations. They had been attending a 4 month Mission Course at the Church run by Percy, the Youth Pastor. They had slept in tents, cooked for themselves and freely contributed their talents and labour to various ministries to be found at the Mission. They had also has their faith challenged and deepened, intellectually and academically too they had a substantial amount of reading and writing to tackle, not just of a theological nature either but also other work needing life skills.
We have had a good and useful couple of days with Jennie and George who were able to get a taste of what we do at the Hospital and School as well as the wider Church work we undertake here. We saw them off on Saturday to Kitwe and Lusaka.
We are now back to ‘auld claes and porridge’. Ida is back to work at the AIDS Relief Programme, she has done the first scrubbing for a Caesar and has been returned her keys and asked to tackle the Central Stores which was neglected in her absence. She is a Also working with the Consistory, helping to establish a home-based care programme.
As for me I have been allocated Grade 8C for Maths and Science and 10A for History. I am at present drafting a proposal to submit to a Church Aid for teacher housing at the High School. We are still putting the finishing touches to the second classroom block and student latrines which were not finished despite efforts on my part to ensure that things should continue in my absence.
Another exciting development hoving into view is the possibility of a Community School at Sikuzu. Sikuzu is a rural community about 8km downstream from Mwandi. The children are prevented from attending school at Mwandi until they can walk the return journey each day. They are usually 8 or 9 years before this happens. So a Grade 1-4 School will be a great boon for them. At present there is a UCZ Pre-school run from the Church.