Nigel's news

A Message from Zambia Number 8            Wednesday 26th February 2014

I have had my farewell time at church as part of the Wednesday night Bible study. It was due at 16.00 but when I get there at 16.30 with projector and screen only one person was there. They do tend to have things at14.00 or 16.00 or 17.00 when in the UK we have the meeting at 7.30pm, and this is a problem for those who work through the day. Maybe in the past afternoons where free as it is hot and work took place at sunrise and later in the evening. I was able to talk about the gift and the fruit of the spirit and explain about everyone’s important role, within the church and community. They gave me a clock and a woman’s fellowship shirt, and I have left the banner made by Wimbledon Congregational Church, and some photos of places, people and things in England.

Today I went to a community school at Sikuzu a village about 45 minutes’ walk away. I left the house my earliest at 5.40 am to get to the village and the big log by 6.00 and saw the sunrise which is very quick. At 6.00 the village is very quiet with just a few people on their way to work the donkey and cart going past with a lots of metal on it where from I am not sure. The school teacher came and we walked to the school, to start with he stayed in the village in a mud hut build by the community, they promised to support him with water from the river and help in the school but the stopped and after 9 months he moved to Mwandi and now walks across every day and feels he is getting fitter. He was having to get up even earlier to go and get water from the river and was tired then to do his teaching. He is the only teacher and member of staff and had 4 classes of about 15 in each , which he teaches two forms at a time and sets them different work to get on with whilst he goes and teaches the other class of two forms.

When we arrived the children were expected to sweep the class room and the sand around them and have a tidy up before the start. He then had an assembly around the flag pole and inspected the cleanliness of their hands and teeth. Some were not so good so had to go and stand away from the circle for a few minutes. I was then given the grade 3 and 4 to teach maths too and only one or two seemed to have any English so it was a challenge, but they were great. Some did not get the concept of thousands, hundreds, tens and units, but slowly I think most mastered it and got ticks in their books. I avoided putting crosses and did dots that could become ticks when they got it right. I did some English, some songs and some first aid. I had thought it would be good to do first aid as I could practically show, but it is amazing how much you need to use language. The school in central to several small villages and if not there they would have to walk the 45 minutes or longer to Mwandi and for the younger children this is not possible. So they would get no education and be behind others (maybe that is why some who are 15 in the Mwandi School are still in low grades)

Sunday was my last service and I was to speak on stewardship, using the passages Psalms 103: 1-13 , Psalms 24: 1-2 , Galatians 6: 3-10 and Luke 16: 1-10. I talked about our Environment, our Human resources and our Money and tied it in with income generation and community working together. The afternoon I spent building a sand wall, to prevent the river Zambezi flooding the road which leads to the new church. Very few people to start at 14.00, but by 16.00 we had about 30 mostly woman and they worked so hard, I was tired and dirty.

Today is my last full day in Mwandi, thank you for your prayers and support and I look forward to see everyone again and maybe able to come and talk to you about the experience here. It has been amazing and I know I have learnt a lot form a different culture and way of doing stuff.

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God Bless Nigel