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  • Writer's picturejoanmann

2024 visit to Zambia - newsletter #1

March 3rd, 2024

Dear family and friends,

Greetings from Zambia.    We arrived nearly two weeks ago and slowly we have turned right side up.   It feels like we are coming home even though we are staying in a much smaller house this trip.   Her official name is Canaan, though, another name might be the “All we need”.    It is cozy and the kitchen and I have figured out ways to bake and put meals together.    It seems each house we stay in has its own set of critters who share the space.    This house is home to many geckos (small lizards) who are quite friendly and even amusing.   The windows are rather porous due to window frames a little off center and in the evenings we are joined by small butterflies (moths perhaps?) and other flying insects.    Quite harmless but can be distracting when trying to read in bed!

February is within the wet season here in Zambia, though, this year very little rain has fallen since January.    Our friend Klaus Muller says it’s the driest rainy season in his 43 years farming here.    We did have one electric storm last Monday and it brought a short, heavy shower.    It was not much but it was something.    The lightening was fierce and a tree very near to Klaus’s house was hit.    His laptop was inside the house, not plugged in, and the strike fried the laptop!

The lack of rain is very concerning for all, especially those who are sustenance farmers.    The government has declared the drought a national disaster and is now making arrangements to import food.     NGO’s, including ours, are also making plans to help.    Four years ago a similar drought resulted in food shortages, and with assistance, folks limped through to the following growing season.    At least during the drought of four years ago there was food to purchase and distribute.    This is not the case in 2024.    This coming week we will meet to gather information and begin to strategize.  

Some years back Ruhtt established a lunch program in each of the schools.    When food is scarce, she bumps up the protein and nsima.    When food is more plentiful, it will be HEPS or THOBWA.   (Both are cooked and resemble porridge.)     This term the lunches are a blend of Nsima with beans, HEPS, and Samp (a corn based porridge.)    Next term there will be more focus on protein.   We are told that a daily lunch at school is really helping keep the students healthy.    The children are all slim but they are full of life and energy.    Thank you Lord.

We have met most of our high school students from Kalomo High, and next Saturday will meet those attending at Namwianga Secondary.    It will be the annual “welcome” day when we gather together and pupils sing songs, perform skits, and play games.    Ahead of time we will prepare bags of personal care items such as soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, pencils, pens, a notebook, etc.   and give one to each student.    It is always a special event.    The students have hopes and dreams just like ours do.   

A few evenings ago we had a visit from several teenage boys living nearby.   They asked to see pictures of Canada so we showed them a few photos from our phones.    Pictures of our grandkids swimming in a lake…cattle and sheep….and a few of a recent snowfall.    It was fun to see a little slice of Canada through their eyes.   

Tomorrow we will drive to Livingstone to pick up our friends Richard and Sue Krogsgaard.   It will give us a chance to pick up a few groceries and visit an ATM.    Livingstone has become quite a popular tourist destination due to its proximity to Victoria Falls and game parks.    Quite a different scene from rural life just a few kilometers off the highway.  

Time to get ready for church just across the lane….start time is quite fluid – we watch from the window to see when people begin arriving and that is our signal to join!

Blessings on each of you!



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