Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The heavy rains here are supposed to finish in Feb, but this year we have continued to have some heavy downpours. Here are a few video clips taken on my phone when we got caught in a downpour. The way the rain turned the grass into a pool in a few minutes was amazing. The road outside has a large deep drainage ditch by that was over flowing in places in a little over 10 minutes of rain. Rain like this causes missery in the "compounds" which are where the very poor live often on less than a dollar a day. 
The photo (which won't upload right now!) is outside our church where the cars are parked on a Sunday, you need four wheel drive to get in and out some weeks!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Our Garden

We will miss our garden when we leave Zambia this June. The colours of so many of the trees and flowers are beautiful. This picture shows one of my favourites. This blossom looks so delicate and yet it really endures, it almost feels waxy - it hung on through all the rain we have had recently and we have had a lot! One thing that we will be happy to leave behind though are the odd snakes that turn up outside. This one was killed by Richard, but as you can see from the photo its skinny body had a big lump in the middle. Well in typical boy fashion, especially one who loves science, Philip wanted to see what was inside!
It was revolting (typical girl response from Rachel and me) as the snake writhed a lot even though it was dead, and once it was cut open a small rodent emerged - dead but whole.
It would have probably kept that snake going for a long while had he not met such an untimely end!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Economic woes hit Zambia too

The news is full of the world wide economic turndown. It concerns everyone - we are not looking forward to Graham having to find a job in the current climate! But here in Zambia the impact of this crisis is so much more devastating than back home. That is not said to detract from the difficulties that anyone reading this blog might be facing. It is just that unemployment here was already so high and when people lose jobs here the results are often a lack of food for the family, children not being able to go to school or being sent to relatives where parents cannot care for them, an inability to pay for medical care when needed and malnutrition. The local currency, the kwacha, has fallen in value very dramatically. Around August/September last year you got about 3200/3300 kwacha to the dollar, yesterday it was around 5600 kwacha to the dollar. There have been a few articles on the news recently about Zambia's economic woes - check these out: about the collapsing flower industry here in Lusaka; about the crisis in the copper industry which is probably the biggest issue in the Zambian economy right now and which highlights the increase in malnutrition amongst children under the age of five. Please be in prayer for this nation.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Update on Lydia

I realize that the last update I meant to email out on Lydia didn't go, so instead I am posting a combined update to the blog. Lydia was a young teacher at one of the community schools we work with and before Christmas got sick with what turned out to be TB Meningitis. It was left for a few weeks and then when I returned from the UK and found out about it, Action Zambia got her a CAT scan and operation. When she was finally operated on, the pressure in her brain had reached 71cm H2O; most people die at 40 cm H2O so it was already a small miracle she was still alive. We had to take her quite some way to get the CAT scan and take her to a private hospital for the operation, for which her family are very grateful, as this was only possible because of the generous donations that many of you have sent. The recovery is very slow. A couple of weeks ago when I visited I was quite disheartened as I could not see much progress. She was still paralyzed on one side and not talking or seeing. However, last week I went for a visit with my parents who were visiting and she is doing much better. She managed to say hello, but then could not get any more words out although she was trying hard. She has full movement back although the feeling to her right hand is only just beginning so she finds touch almost painful. She blinked when the flash went off on the camera, so there is something there although she is not seeing properly. She had responded to her parents before we arrived that she remembered who I was and I was a white man. She is at home now but needs physiotherapy twice a week which costs, so although we hope there are no more major expenses, it look like there will be weekly medical bills for quite a while to come. She sleeps a lot which we hope is helping with the healing process. She is still on liquid / mushy food. The neurosurgeon says it can take two years for a recovery and there is no assurance as to how much of a recovery she will make, especially because there was such high pressure on her brain for so long.
Please pray she will continue to improve, for her sight to come back, that she will be able to walk soon and that she can eat normally by herself. Pray for her parents as they look after her and wash her etc.