Thursday, December 27, 2007

Sorry we've been away for so long!

Well we haven't been very good at keeping out blog up to date as these last couple of months have been so hectic. We have both been heavily involved in managing the office, on top of lots of other things. Sarah has also of course been looking after the children, from getting them to and from school to cutting Philip's hair. He has decided that he doesn't want dad to cut with the clippers and wants it longer! There were the usual additional activities at the end of term before Christmas including a swimming gala in which Philip ended up swimming in every race for his year's team due to lack of attendance of any other boys his age that day. He doesn't particularly like swimming much any more so we were very proud that he just got on and did it. Rachel on the other hand loves it and won all the races she was in.
We were all very pleased to have Madeline and Randolph, (Grahams parents) arrive in the middle of November. They have been to Zambia a couple of times before, so they settled in quickly and got involved with the work here. They both taught in an all day conference and Randolph then was teaching three afternoons a week with a group of pastors from the north of the city. We managed to fit in a couple of trips including one to visit a field a local Pastor was planting to help support his family. The "road" was a track that was flooded and in places quite deep. There was one that was very deep and as we tried to stay as close to the dry edge as possible, the angle of the vehicle had us wondering of it was going to roll over! The picture shows us dropping off some of the seed and fertilizer at the edge of the city. They were not sure they could trust it all to be left at the village.
The same pastor runs a community school where orphans and less well off children get a good education and three good meals a week. We were privileged to be at the end of term "party" which started with a program of singing and presentations from the children as shown in this picture here. The pastor then gave a brief sermon and then it was food and the giving out of grades. This school is one of best around and achieves a higher standard than the government schools. We have been in process of helping them build a better school building but unfortunately this got delayed with theft and corruption from the man in charge of the work. We have just restarted, so we hope that the children will be in the new building when they restart in January.
The finances continue to be a battle. The lack of clear record keeping for the past year is making Graham's job of straightening the accounts very difficult and frustrating. There are some small steps forward, such as finding duplicate and missing entries, but it often comes with a few steps back and a wonder how the bank statements were ever reconciled! The class Graham was teaching has come to an end and he just has the exams and a few papers left to mark. Although this is good in that it gives extra time back, it also comes with a hint of sadness as that was what we had mainly hoped to do while he was here.
We have also moved to a new office down town which will make it easier in general for people to get to the office although it makes it a longer trip for us. The office is in the heart of the city and rather small but functional. It may also stop people popping in so much and allow us to focus on clearing the backlog with the finances.
So 2008 promises to be a busy and eventful year but hopefully we will be better at keeping up the blog!!