Alison arrived back safely and without complications on Friday, so as I write she is recovering from jet lag and getting the house into order after an absence of 11 months. She has of course been given a warm welcome here. Kirsty Lickfold, a primary teacher from Hamilton, New Zealand, plans to join us after Easter. At the moment she is raising the necessary personal support, and if you would like to help with that, please get in touch with us.
We were very happy to get Kondwani (15) and Lusungu (12) back to Amano for the start of their school year, after school opening was delayed for two weeks by COVID precautions. Helping them with their online lessons for those two weeks fell to me this time, due to Alison’s absence. It tied me down, but they were wonderfully self-contained and didn’t need much help from me day to day. Cleopatra (20) was devastated to learn this week that she failed her Grade 12 exams so she has needed much support and encouragement. Deciding on her next step will be a challenge.
We are confident that our own schools are doing a good job. Our exam passes in Grades 7 and 9 do reflect this. We are grateful to Head Teachers Martha Mbewe and Frankie Mumba, and to their teachers. It was wonderful to see our pupils arriving at school on day 1 dressed smartly in their newly purchased uniforms with smiles on their faces. Enrolment has increased in both schools, so we have hired an extra teacher in each school to cope with this.
Our Onesimus sponsors will be pleased to hear that all four Onesimus students passed their exams in December. (About the Onesimus Fund) We have just included a fifth student in the programme to study pharmacy, and we are seeking funding for yet another very bright and deserving young lady who has just applied.
Just before Christmas I joined the many in Zambia who caught the OMICRON variant, including three of our Kafakumba Singers and several others known to us in the community. Thankfully I was not very sick and have now fully recovered, as have the others. Offering treats of Hungry Lion (the Zambian equivalent of KFC) has really succeeded in persuading most of our staff members to get vaccinated.
I have read that those of us who have caught OMICRON after being vaccinated are now thought to be super-immune. However, since that wave of OMICRON infections, COVID-19 seems to have disappeared.
We are very sad to report that our accountant Jane Phiri passed away on 31 January after a brave battle with meningitis. Jane started working at Limapela in 2017. She was competent, committed, patient and hardworking, and she will be missed greatly by all of us.
Once again, our grateful thanks to you all for your interest, support and prayers.
— Matthew and Alison Raymond