DAY 83: Tuesday 9 June
LIFE IN ZAMBIA
Good morning all
Following on from our Africa-themed virtual service on Sunday, we have received the latest newsletter from Andy Patching in Zambia. Andy went to Zambia many years ago with his dentistry skills and has served in a missionary capacity there ever since. He visited the Chapel in 2009, 2012 and 2014 and was due to have come to see us in 2018, a visit that was cancelled after Andy suffered a serious motorcycle accident and ended up in a hospital in Lusaka, 900 kms away from his home.
When Karen and I went to Zambia in 2009, one of our objectives was to visit the Isubilo Mission on the outskirts of Ndola, in the Copper Belt, which the Chapel had been supporting for a number of years and which was being run by Andy.
Around five years ago, Andy and his wife Eira moved 600 kms west from Ndola to a small remote community, Sachibondu, up in the north west corner of the country bordering Congo and not far from the Angola border, to help develop another mission and hospital there, although Andy still has some responsibility for Isubilo as well.
The photos below were taken on Andy’s visit to Falcon Lodge in May 2009.
Here are some extracts from Andy’s latest newsletter -
Let’s will start on a musical note. We have been watching you in lock-down sympathetically from the freedom of Sach’ (more about that later) and encouraged to see how many ways God is using to circumvent what we have thought to be ‘normal’ Christian fellowship including a good deal of Christian song on the media.
Well here, we are still meeting, albeit with masks on, and one of the weekly meetings under Graham‘s suggestion and guidance, has been exploring and composing spiritual songs. It has been amazing how many new songs we have when we spend time worshipping.
Where are we with the virus?
We finally had a visit from the provincial Health department who are supposed to approve our hospital, which has not been registered yet as an isolation unit. After weeks of telling us they were coming the next day, in typical Zambian fashion, they turned up un-announced late one afternoon. They were very impressed with our set up and congratulated us on being the most prepared for a viral eventuality. We are still waiting a week later for a written confirmation that we are an isolation unit. We are also still waiting for the virus! We were told that we would feel the effects of the virus later than Europe, but so far small effects have been experienced in a few major cities and towns. It has been difficult after weeks of trying to teach the basics of preventative behaviour, to keep both staff and locals actively participating. We hear that it is bad enough to keep people adhering to the requirements in Europe. Here there is far less concept of the gravity of the situation, especially when there is no sign of the virus in this area. We try to keep alert.
The possibility of us being an isolation unit has prompted us to reach out by faith and build a simple fence around the hospital to keep an eye on who should be in which part of the hospital. The maternity wing will continue to be used to admit medical patients whilst the main hospital wards will be for coronavirus victims. When new staff arrive, if the virus takes a grip in the area, they will be housed separately in an old mission house which has been prepared for them.
Talking about housing staff…. Thanks to the Beit Trust we have started on the building of a three-bedroom staff house for a doctor….by faith. We are trusting God to have the hospital registered before the end of the year when we will be qualified to have our own doctor. I am grateful that we have just managed to finish the conversion and extension as the new outpatient department with its own separate toilet block. I am quite chuffed as funding which was only to upgrade the old building and the toilet block was stretched to finishing the extension without reducing standards. I’ll give God the credit for that however! It is ready to be used as the primary care unit separate from the hospital.
Water & Electricity
Are we being tested? Both ram water pumps supplying the hospital and most of the housing decided to break down at the same time! We fortunately had a functioning borehole at the hospital thanks to the Podde Trust who provided two borehole pumps and an air conditioner for the laboratory. It is very disappointing that the water from the borehole, though potable, has a metallic flavour and includes fine silt which is difficult to illuminate. We are considering the need of a new borehole in a different location where silt will not be a problem. Different pipes were connected and all survived whilst one of the ram pumps was repaired within a couple of weeks. The second pump is still being worked on. No sooner were we breathing a sigh of relief, than the reducing transformer from the Hydro, supplying the same people with power, went on the blink. We had to bring up an expert from the Copper Belt 600kms away for the diagnosis. We are awaiting a part to be sent by bus by the same man, for power to be restored. Living in a remote part as we do, means that we are responsible for maintenance and repair of all services. It’s a consolation that God sees all service for Him as spiritual…just as spiritual as preaching?
We have been so encouraged, that a growing group of keen Christians are meeting with us to examine life issues in the light of scripture. Changes in the work ethic and lifestyle is showing that the discovered applied principles are working. Heaven’s principles brought into the reality of our world.
Also Sundays have been different; not going to church but meeting in small groups outside encouraging more participation.
HYMNALONG >>> MEEKNESS AND MAJESTY
Vera is still in Good Hope following major surgery and not as previously thought to be a more straightforward endoscopy. She is recovering well from the surgery but needs more physio to help her walk again.
IMPORTANT >>> as from this Thursday 11 June, you will need to pre-book online for any visit to the Council Tip. Anyone just turning up from Thursday will be refused entry and sent away. You can only book 1 slot in a week and only for a private car registered at your home address.