Sunday, July 24, 2016

Zambia META - how do we begin to tell our our stories?

9 hours since the bus pulled in to Patrick's Quay in Cork - and we disembarked to hugs & how was it?

How do we/I begin to even explain what the last couple of weeks meant to us, how do we process what we have witnessed over the course of the team's life together.

We have laughed together, cried together, eaten together, walked together - got to know new friends, saw the height of God's creation and also the exploitation of that creation. We've discussed the importance of community development and self-sustainability. We've met with amazing Brothers and Sisters in Christ and we've also learnt stuff about ourselves and what is possible.

Once again I've come back from Zambia - my fourth time to the same city with a renewed heart of the church there, for the people and the projects we've encountered. I've loads to tell, lots of photos but a heart thats burning for the links between Northern Diocese and Ireland to be strengthened and encouraged.

But until then for any of my team - Take time to relax, talk about your stories, but also give people who are listening grace - they havent encountered everything that we have! Nor might they have the time to fully understand it all - but do talk :-)

And for anyone listening to us - it will take us time to process what we have seen - there are loads of things to tell - it wont all come out on the first telling! - and be warned you may be there for a while but what each member of the team needs now are people who are prepared to listen actively and help us process the intensity of the past few weeks - who knows you might even hear something from God for you as we chat together.

Photos are a great way to talk about what we have seen and done for me I'll be posting photos to my facebook profile ...

Some helpful hints here 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Official Blog 1 from Zambia.

Muli Shani! After 42 hours of travel we have arrived at Kitwe. It only took 2 planes, 4 airports, 5 buses and a night with cockroaches in Ethiopia, but we got here in one piece!

There are still a few things that will take a bit of getting used to, such as water rationing and “Dooming the Room” (spraying the room with “Doom” insecticide to kill any midnight friends).
Saturday 9th
After an abrupt wake up call by the neighbour’s cockerel at 6am, we were brought to the Cathedral of Kitwe by our driver, Jonas.  We were met by the local youth group, who showed us around the Kitwe markets. There we experienced a constant bombardment of the senses. As merchants tried to call our attention with their appealing vegetables and aromatic perfumes, our guides kept us close.
We finished off the day with the Jonas Bus Tour of Kitwe and the local mines. It soon became clear that there was a huge contrast in housing; stone walls and huge fences next to wooden shacks with no protection. There were people on the street selling raw meat and vegetables, surrounded by large amounts of refuse. Jonas said it was because the mining company no longer provides a collection service since they became privatised.  This led to the miners being evicted from homes that were state owned. The houses were then put on sale, leaving many of the poorer workers on the streets and rubbish to accumulate. As the tour drew to an end, we noticed a contrast between the stereotypical African Savannah sunset and the industrialised reality.
Sunday 10th
You know the way in Ireland how we are always complaining about how long winded Robert can be or having to stand for more than two songs? Well, try having to put up with that for 5 hours in one day and the priest apologising to the congregation for shortening the service because we were there! Although it was almost never ending, it was the best service we have ever been to! The room was full of energy as we sung and danced together. The congregation were very friendly. As a traditional welcome they rubbed their hands together before clapping 3 times. Then, as we were leaving we shook everyone’s hands. Jonas our driver then brought us to the church treasurer’s house, where we had lunch with the vicar general and enjoyed getting to know the people and the Zambian culture a bit more.
Monday 11th
Today we went to Chambishi, where we visited the parish priest at the local preschool before driving to Chambishi Secondary School. There we met the Deputy Head of the school, who showed us around the school and led us to the classes. We amused the students by speaking (or attempting to speak) Bemba. Some of the classes had up to 90 students. She talked to us about the fact that many of the students came from vulnerable families, financially. Thankfully, the school was happy to let the parents pay the school fees in small amounts. We were really impressed by the variety of subjects and the dedication of both teachers and students.

Tuesday 12th

Today we went to the Kitwe primary and secondary school building site. This project was started up by the diocese in 2012 and the community was excited about the project. Unfortunately it has not been completed due to lack of funding. However, the workers estimate that the primary school section should be ready for the children in 2017.  Afterwards, we moved on to another building site where they are constructing a conference centre. It will be rented out to businesses and the income from the conference centre will pay for the completion of the school. We quickly got to work and helped make bricks. The workers enjoyed the extra help and it provided an opportunity to get to know them.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Unofficial Zambia Team Blog! - a quick wee blog from us

We've had all sorts of difficulties trying to get a blog written, from locked rooms, to busy schedules, finding passwords and then no internet. So I've managed to find 5 minutes of internet time.

The Zambia META Team are very well - since setting foot on Zambian soil we've been welcomed and blessed with tremendous hospitality, stupendous greetings and deep thinking about the culture we find ourselves in.

We've been laughing together, crying together, eating and singing, praying and reading scripture together. In the programme we've been to the markets, touring the city of Kitwe, Seminary visiting, Mothers' Union, Pre-school ministry, Church visiting ... and so much more

The team are all very well.

We're really looking forward to the next few days in Kitwe

Before leaving next tuesday morning on our trip south.

An official blog from our bloggers will appear on CMSI shortly with all the details & photos :-)