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.
At 0900 we set off for Maamba, an uneventful if long journey. Some really good roads and some really bad ones - but we made it safely. We brought two mattresses (given by Deeside Community Hospital in North Wales), school stationery and scores of toothpaste tubes and toothbrushes. Much needed in Maamba, a boarding school for a wide range of disabled school children; blind or visually impaired, deaf and in some cases unable to speak; and a few with physical disability too. So sign language and braille was very much in evidence. We completed the business end of our visit, monitoring our work, by checking attendance records for the children our supporters pay for. Then we donated what we had brought before taking a walk round the school, escorted by the deputy head Misozi, which means tears. We met Orian, one of the girls we support. Amongst the teaching staff we found Bright and a Frank. Both blind and both helped through education by HHI supporters; now they are teaching and have become a role model for others with disability and also show the success achieved when young people with disabilities receive education.
We had lunch on the run, fritters and a cold drink from a local shop, at the start of our long journey back. We had a passenger for about three quarters of the journey; she was at Maamba school seeing if her grandchild could get a place there. When we dropped her off she still had 6 hours of her journey home in front of her. After a short meeting with the HHZ Chair of Trustees and his Deputy we set off for an evening meal with Colin from ‘Friends of Monze’ charity.
Just as it happened this morning our work was not yet done. There was someone waiting for us when we got back from our meal. Kelvin from the Printers who operate from inside the compound. Ron Prosser, now the Patron of HHI set the printing facility up many years ago and now Kelvin and Ellis, who are both disabled, run it as a separate and independent business. Kelvin has a simple proposition but with a high capital investment. The return on this investment is apparently 100%. It may be too good to be true so we will need to discuss his proposal with our committee when he get back. It would be too good to be true to have all three services available at the same time for the last few hours before bed. What do you think?
Tomorrow morning we will undoubtedly have people dropping by on our last day and some others seeking help. At about 1100 we will meet all the staff for a farewell lunch before setting off for Lusaka on the 1400 coach. We have our last bit of monitoring to do in the capital before going home. Some of the new wheelchairs we sent out on the container have been given to disabled people there. A friend of Jonah will drive us around to meet the beneficiaries then, after eating for the last time on Zambian soil he will take us to Lusaka International Airport. Zambia have learnt a great deal from the historical ties with the UK, including ridiculously high priced duty free! At least you can get a cup of tea.
Edmund and Chris