We write this month from Nsobe Game Camp, which is one of our favourite places to have a break, a little more than an hour’s drive from our home in Baluba. The proprietor, Fiona Tomlinson, has become a dear friend over the past 12 years. When her children reached school age, and because Nsobe has no schools nearby, she started home-schooling. She realised that if she were to be spending time teaching her own children she might as well include a few other local Zambian children who were also not going to school. This fledgling school has now become the Nsobe Community School with 26 teachers and some 600 children enrolled in Preschool through Grade 12 — another example of a seemingly impossible project growing through faith and hard work.
On Friday we welcomed volunteer teaching assistant Kirsty Lickfold from New Zealand. In order to get her employment permit finalised, we drove straight to Lusaka after the weekend, and happily this was done quickly yesterday morning. Kirsty expects to be with us at Limapela for 18 months at least. Her strengths are in sports and PE and these will be put to very good use, as our schools are not well developed in these areas.
Schools closed on Friday for the April holidays, two weeks late, due to the Omicron outbreak and the consequent postponed start of the school year. The term has been a settled one, with 25 teachers under Head Teachers Martha Mbewe and Frankie Mumba, and some 800 pupils enrolled in the two schools. Our communities remain appreciative, for which we are grateful. We were expecting that some of our teachers would be deployed to government schools this month, but so far this has not happened. Very few of our teachers are not enticed by the more attractive salaries that the Zambian Government offers.
Over the Easter weekend the Kafakumba Singers presented Easter music in Luanshya Town Centre and at the Ndola Christian Fellowship. Going on outings is always exciting for the singers, most of whom do not normally have such opportunities. Our new younger singers are settling in well and learning the music and the routines quickly.
At Limapela Lodge, where we live, we have enjoyed a steady stream of visitors, most of whom are missionaries from the remote Northwestern Province who need accommodation when they come to town. Hornbill House, now set up as a self-catering guest house, proves to be a ‘home away from home’ and Alison and I enjoy the fellowship and opportunities for mutual sharing and encouragement. All visitors contribute a koha (Māori for gift), so our hospitality department is self-funding.
Once again, our grateful thanks to you all for your interest, support and prayers.
— Matthew and Alison Raymond
I saw Gift (not her real name) on Monday. I had stopped in the market to drop off some passengers, and was immediately surrounded, predictably, by a dozen marketeers offering me everything from green peppers and ground nuts to eggs and watermelon. There was Gift amongst them — a smiling pretty little 16-year-old girl who lives with her grandma because she loves her grandma more than her mother, who shouts at her too much.
I hadn’t seen Gift for a long time so I asked why she had stopped coming to choir. She was obviously not keen to answer within earshot of all her fellow marketeers, so she got into the passenger seat and shut the door. She told me that Grandma preferred her to come to the market on Saturdays and Sundays to earn money by selling vegetables, rather than going to choir. She told me she had passed her Grade 7 exam last year, but can’t now go on to Grade 8 because she has no money for school uniform, books and a school bag.
For so many Zambian young people in poor communities survival is a day-to-day preoccupation. Going to school is obviously expendable when finding money for food and clothing becomes difficult.
I encouraged Gift to join the choir again next week, knowing that Limapela has the means to provide for some of her needs. I hope she will, otherwise we may not see her again for a long time.