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Two trustees safely home

We had hoped for a quiet morning before our 36-hour journey home, but it was not to be.  Jonah's customers arrive early - even before dawn which is about 6am.  They are given a chair to sit on and they wait patiently until he can see them.

One that will stay with us for a long time arrived this morning.  Mary Hamoonga is a bright young woman who, at the age of 28, had just completed a lab tehnician's course and was looking forward to a bright future which would enable her to support not only herself but her extended family as well, when she was struck down by a mysterious paralysis four months ago.  The cause remains unknown, but she has lost the use of both legs and one arm.  She came from her village of Magoye, 37 km away on (and off) the road to Mazabuka - a daunting journey by public transport for such a disabled person.  It was great to be able to give her one of the wheelchairs that the Women's World Day of Prayer had funded and to pray with her.

Magoye Monze Zambia Southern Province HHI Health Help International volunteer run UK charity minimal overheads all money given goes to projects in India and Zambia

We then had a our good-bye lunch with the staff.  Our visit was a lot of work for them, and inevitably disruptive, and it was a nice way to thank them for all their help and forebearance.  It had been a very useful visit, and we achieved most of what we had set out to do.

Two Trustees coming home

Special needs school, Maamba, Southern province, Zambia.  HHI Health Help International, volunteer run UK charity.

This is our last full day in Zambia before we start our long trek home. It may well be the last entry in The Two Trustees diary. Like every other morning we wake at dawn, about 6.15. The first cup of tea is always the best or in Edmund’s case - coffee. I bought a flask on our first day to fill with hot water so we could make hot drinks even when the power is off. I’ve filled it everyday bar two. On those days I filled it we ended up using the flask of hot water for washing dishes in the evening and the two days I didn’t fill the flask, guess what happened?

 

The plan today was to drive to Maamba Special school, about 3 hours there and 3 hours back. As usual there is always time before we go out to deal with emergency helps and today was no exception. Unis brought in her seven year old daughter Angela Mwemba who has cerebral palsy. Alison has an appointment at University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka, to review her situation. Mum had no money for the bus fare so we helped her.

 

Two Trustees return

Empowering Disabled Monze Southern Province Zambia.  Self-help women employment

 

We have safely returned from our R and R in Livingstone. Returning to a full house - no power, no water, no internet! We enjoyed our down time knowing there would be no one around in Monze and little or nothing to do except our laundry. We were typical tourists, taking in the wonderful sight of Victoria Falls and sailing tbe great Zambeze River where we spotted elephants, crocodiles and hippos. We retur ed on the last bus on Sunday and after a 4 hour trip on a coach we arrived in Monze at 20.45 and were ready for an early night. The passengers we left behind on the bus, heading towards Lusaka, were going nowhere. The driver told them it was too late to go further and they would restart the journey about 5.30am. Unbelievable. On second thoughts no, believable. It is now Monday and we only have until Wednesday after lunch to finish our monitoring and gathering stories with photos. This morning we started to gather the potential number of girls in Monze schools who would benefit from Menstrual Hygiene Training and receiving washable pads. We estimate it to be about 800 per yearand this would constitute a good pilot for the programme, building on the early introduction in some schools. We now have costings and will bring all this together and seek funding. If tbe pilot is proven successful we will seek further funding to expand the reach.

We also sat in on some of the interviews Jonah (Disabilty Affairs) has each day, speaking and listening to people who have come for help. This process enables HHZ to identify needs and to prioritise them so he has enough information to inform HHI and ask for funding in his monthly report. Of course some cases are urgent and can’t wait for the monthly cycle. Jonah will get the funds for urgent cases but of course when HHI people visit we have come with some funds of our own or from donations given by people in UK when they here we are coming.

Two Trustees go to Zambia and take a break

Back to TIA. We were invited to sit on the Beneficeries Committee - this is were HHZ reviews people who need money, for health interventions, disability aids or services we can’t provide or business start up capital. Due start 8.30, actual start about 10.00! It was an opportunity to observe how HHZ listen, consider and decide on whether they can help the individual. As we approached the time to catch the coach to Livingstone for our tourist break we managed to squeeze in lunch, after all, we wouldn’t want to be late for the one o’clock bus. At 2pm the coach left  Monze, we could have had pudding. Not only was bus late, my seat was double booked but thankfully sorted. We are here now and ready for some rest. Hopefully our next entry will be on Monday evening. Have a good weekend, we hope to.

Two Trustees go to Zambia part four

Special needs school Nanga Zambia HHI Health Help International UK charity no overheads volunteer run Newport Wales UK

We have been here just short of a week but feel we have seen and done a lot already. It is good that people here are happy to speak to us; some with their stories and others with their problems. Yesterday, Wednesday, I had a problem of my own. When we were at Muumba school I noticed a lateral purple line across my right wrist and two of my fingers had turned yellow. The same yellow colour was spread all over my forearm. “Was it yellow fever?” “Should I see a doctor?” “Will I be alright?” - the answers in order, no, no, yes. I discovered later, after washing my hands and arm, that it was nothing sinister. It turned out to be the ink from a plastic shopping bag from the UK that melts in the sun. A bit like me really!

So, here we are, Thursday. The plan for the day was to set off by 8.30 and to my complete surprise Jonah popped his head round the door 10 minutes early, was it the new TIA? You will have to wait and see. After putting fuel in the tank at the petrol station that “doesn’t leak”, I kid you not, we set off for Nanga school. The drive would take us about 2 hours, about half on decent roads and the other time on potholes with bits of road attaching them together.

Two Trustees go to Zambia part three

Self sufficiency small business startup finance from a UK charity no overheads Newport Wales UK Monze Zambia

It’s Wednesday, at least it was when I typed this report. We have yet to have water, electricity and the internet all on at the same time, at least it seems that way. Mosquitoes are buzzing around trying to get at least a score draw!

This morning we divided all the school stationery to give to four schools and we set off to go to the first one - Muumba. This project is a great success and the numbers of children enrolled has risen to nearly 400. Consequently the school needs more classrooms to accommodate all the classes at the same time rather than teaching  in shifts. This is a project we are working on, looking for grant funding, unless anyone out there has £35,000 to donate! The expansion will also enable the school to teach up to Grade 9 rather than Grade 7 at present. The school grounds are well laid  out with their new borehole and pump, the kitchen garden, playground and toilets and enough space for the proposed extension. All surrounded by a wall and a secured gate. 

We gave the head teacher, Mr Bblika, £100 from Merthyr Toddler Group which he will spend on toys and education material for pre-school. We also donated £50 from a Rivertown United Reformed Church  member, for text books. There is an albino girl in the school and Mr Bbilika asked us for sun tan lotion to protect her from the sun, which I can vouch is very hot! We bought some from the local chemist and will leave our sun tan lotion behind for her. 

Two Trustees go to Zambia part two

Disabled aids wheelchair WWDP women's world day of prayer HHI Health Help International Monze Zambia wheelchair

Mosquitoes 0 Humans 2. - thought it may have been 1-1 after Edmund was bitten but he is still alive and well so it must have been another biting bug. We might be winning against mosquitoes but we are definitely losing when it comes to regular running water, consistent electricity supply and continuous access to the internet!  I am writing this offline on Tuesday evening in the vain hope of getting it on the website before we come home. This is Africa or as the Zambians say TIA. 

On Monday we stayed on the compound, conducting interviews with people from HHZ, our partners in Zambia. Without their help we would not be able to do so much and reach so many people in need. We checked processes and  procedures, accounts and record keeping; a necessary part of the monitoring we undertake when we visit.  We also discuss any issues or challenges and see how we can work together and help. After all help is in our name, so is health - and we will have plenty of opportunity to see the work and the people who have benefited from us or discover those who need our help. More of this area of our work later.

Another area we look at is the work out in the field, following up an where our supporters money is spent. This includes selecting, at random, some of people we have helped financially or helped by giving them medical help or a disability aid such as a wheelchair. The latter is important this time given we sent out 30 new wheelchairs we bought with a generous donation from Women’s World Day of Prayer. Such  visits enable us to provide feedback, share stories and confirm what we see reflects what we expect. Using the selections, we created the programme of visits for Tuesday. Visits to projects will start on Wednesday but don’t hold your breath, this doesn’t mean we will get the report on the website the same day!

Two Trustees go to Zambia

 

After a long journey including a difficult bus ride, we arrived at Monze at 20.00 Friday evening. Very tired and hungry, the only things we were interested in was food and rest. With dinner out of the way there was nothing between us and bed. Except, as expected we had a few visitors coming to welcome us.

Pleasure or Profit?

Some people pound the pavements for pleasure.  Indeed, Clifton and Jute regularly run for fun in the Newport area.  Now, however, they have decided to go one step further. Along with Jen, Esther and Eluned they plan to run the Cardiff Half Marathon and at the same time raise funds for HHI.

Can you help them turn pleasure into profit? In order to support this worthy cause and learn more about the story visit www.justgiving.com/hhi

Re: cycling

Tomorrow the annual ‘Round Straven 50’ charity cycle event will take place. And today, an army of organisers are putting the final touches to what is the Scottish charity's fundraising event of the year. Indeed, at this very moment, Iain Park is being driven along the route by Jute in the pouring rain posting important signs. Now that’s dedication!

Is there a victor?  Well, in truth, it’s HHI that will wear the yellow jersey tomorrow….our Indian and Zambian friends are the real winners!!!

To learn more about this amazing event, just visit the Round Straven 50 website.

Just a few hours ago, this message appeared on Facebook:

‘Final preparations are well under way for tomorrow’s event. Just picture those lovely cakes waiting for you at the various feeding stations as well as the opportunity to have a hot snack before you start at Pit Stop Snax! Looking forward to seeing you all, and hope the weather is kind to us. Take care on the roads, and thanks once again for supporting us by taking part in the RS50.’