LETTER FROM THE RECTORY
It is always difficult to come back from our working trips to Zambia! Culture shock works in both directions and whilst we certainly appreciate the luxuries of constant running water, daily electricity and a variety of food and goods in the shops, we also miss the simplicity of life and the gratitude and enthusiasm with which our Zambian friends live and praise God. Coming back to five Harvest celebrations (three churches and two schools), has focused my mind on God’s generous provision for us and our need to share his bounty generously with others.
We noted some significant improvements at St Francis Hospital this time, as a lot of work has been carried out to refurbish some of the oldest parts of the building. However, government funding to hospitals stopped in May, so an already impoverished hospital has had to make cuts in spending. Many shelves in the pharmacy were bare, as drugs cannot be bought. 120 women waiting to have their babies, as they live in distant villages and may experience complications, stopped being fed by the hospital on 2nd October. We are not sure how many of their families will be able to provide food for them. Some staff are not being paid, so their families are suffering.
With a team of nine people, we were able to engage with various projects, some involving plumbing, carpentry and electrics, and some more directly related to medical, social or spiritual needs. We were asked by a young British doctor to fund raise for a CPAP breathing machine for the Special Care Baby Unit, which we agreed to do. It is expected to save the lives of many premature babies. We also became involved with the Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) Project, which supports children whose parents have died, by paying their school fees and for uniforms and shoes. We are now seeking sponsors for some of these children (at £60-£90 a year). What is for us a relatively small amount of money transforms a child’s life chances through education. Please ask if you would like to know more.
Water remains a huge issue in Zambia, especially since the last rainy season produced very little rain and the water table is now dangerously low. The water system we paid for (4 years ago) in Msoro was not working, as a length of cable had been burned, and we were able to have this replaced while we were there, so that the clinic is again receiving running water. Another major project has been the installation of an automatic switch, to start the hospital generator when the electricity is cut off (a regular occurrence), as people die without oxygen, while waiting for an engineer to switch on. This is almost complete now.
Thank you for your generous help with our Zambian projects over the years. Every pound raised has helped in enormous ways and the people are so very grateful. We shall keep the support going, whether or not we travel there again, as we believe we are following Jesus’ instruction to ‘give generously to the poor’ (Luke 11:41). Thank you for standing alongside us in this ministry. Remember that Jesus also said, ‘Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40). You are giving to God every time you donate to someone in need.
With every blessing, Anne