July 2022 update
July 13, 2022
Dear family and friends,
I hope you are enjoying a lovely summer. While we (finally!) are in t-shirts, our Zambian friends are bundled up in heavy coats. Winter in Zambia brings day-time temperatures of 20 degrees Celsius and night-time temperatures of 10 degrees. We consider this balmy but Zambians find themselves chilly!
Ruhtt recently purchased many jackets and sweaters to distribute to pupils at the schools.
This morning we received sad news about a former sponsored student, Brittel Mulengo. Brittel was 33 years old, married with children, and living not far from Seven Fountains. He was trampled by elephants. Every few years a group of elephants pass through the general area of Seven Fountains, Siabalumbi, Good Hope and Namwianga. It is usually a small herd of about twelve animals and this morning Wilson reported “six adults and some with calves”. The elephants wander about quite freely, crossing properties and fences effortlessly. Through the years we’ve heard about several terrifying close calls and then, this year, a death. We are feeling sad for Brittel’s family, and very concerned for the thousands of children who walk kilometers to and from school each day. Typically, the elephants stay a week or two, and then move along. We are praying for safety!
Apart from this scare, Term 2 is progressing well for all pupils at all levels. At Basic (elementary level) schools the lunch program has been increased to five days per week. [Pupils in a boarding high school receive all their meals.] This increase is in response to a poor maize harvest: planting done in December; torrential rains in January; almost no rain in February; normal rain in March. Many have commented ‘if only’ the rain could have been regulated… Currently, vegetables are growing nicely and each school has a garden.
Zambia’s new government has been in power for nearly a year. It continues to promise more assistance for rural schools and recently the Ministry of Education provided a copy machine for Butale school! Butale has a generator which can now run the computer lab plus the copy machine. Still, as appreciative and surprised as we are, we wonder about paper and ink – and paper jams – and like protective parents – we pray they problem solve successfully! With a little mentoring they are very capable.
We hear very little about Covid in Zambia. They have learned to live with it and - overall – appear less panicked about sickness and death. Someone told me a few years back that Zambians know how to grieve and then – move on. I want to be more like this!
Blessings on each of you – and from many hundreds of children, teenagers, and parents – THANK YOU!