If you have read the article, ‘There’s always a solution’, then you will be aware of the plight of Priscilla Hatwambo we wrote about when we visited in Ntambo. One thing Priscilla didn’t ask us for, and something we felt was really needed, was a pair of shoes. So, armed with determination and kwacha, Jute set off to Monze market and bought shoes for Priscilla. It was there that Jute met Prisca Hatembo who was also in the market and buying fabric to use on her newly acquired machine! (See Article 5: August 23rd) She was very happy to see Jute and also to have the material to start sewing. And, of course, we’re happy too!
News and announcements
The first wheelchair from 2017 container has been given to Prisca Muchangwe (see below). She is 12 years old has been disabled since birth. She arrived at the HHZ compound with her mother, having travelled all the way from Njola Manza which is about one hour's journey by bus.
When we saw her wheelchair we didn’t have to think about it; its condition spoke for itself. And, Prisca was even given a comfortable wheelchair cushion too, and a strap to keep her secure as she is wheeled on the uneven ground.
Of course, the old wheelchair has not been discarded. It has been left at HHZ for Robbie to use for spares. Happy Prisca … and happy Robbie!
Having successfully treated trustee Mr Gondwe’s wife and HHZ administrator Carole, both of whom are diabetics, Dr Nkonjele was asked to treat other patients known to HHZ because they had received wheelchair donations. These patients were unable to walk because of sores on their legs and feet as a result of diabetes.
Dr Nkonjele is the only diabetic specialist in Zambia and, as well as travelling to all areas, he has a private clinic in Kitwe, miles from Monze. He cleans wounds, tests sugar levels, informs patients about a non-sugar diet, and treats the sores using antibiotic creams and tablets. He feels he can reverse the amputation diagnosis which many hospitals prescribe for diabetic patients. We travelled with him to watch him treat three patients who live in extreme poverty.
Ethel, 11, developed sores on her feet when she was 3 and cannot walk properly. Since receiving treatment she is able to wear flip flops and Dr Nkonjela recommends that she attends school for the first time.
Grace, 14, has open wounds and uses a wheelchair. We watched Dr Nkonjele cut away the putrid skin and clean, scrape, and apply cream to the affected area. He bandaged her feet and left instructions for her care with the family.
Ellis, 79, is a double amputee and lives on the floor. He has been given a self-propelling wheelchair donated by HHZ. Dr Nkonjela checked that sores were not developing on her feet.
Dr Nkonjela works quietly and carefully with his patients and improvements have been noticed with healing starting to replace the smelly putrid sores.
HHI is committed to providing money to enable these patients to continue receiving their treatment. However, these patients are just a few of the many who need this type of care in Monze and beyond. We hope that somehow we can extend the work that the good doctor does in order to help other needy people.
We visited Priscilla Hatwambo at home. A bumpy hour long journey took us into the bush to the sprawling village, Ntambo. Priscilla had had cerebral malaria as an 8 year old and has been unable to speak or walk properly ever since. She is, however, as bright as a button, and although we could not fully understand her sign language we were left in no doubt as to what she wanted. Priscilla was delighted to see Jute and trustee Mr Maheritona again and pleased to receive gifts from Jute. She was, however, not afraid to ask for other things she needed and that included ‘Boom’ washing powder.
Priscilla’s living conditions are nowhere near acceptable. Her family home has fallen down and she now lives with her mother, father and brother in a dilapidated shed. Priscilla’s bed, provided by HHI, is in need of repair and she had recently broken one of her crutches.
School is a haven for Priscilla. At school she enjoys learning, has friends and has fun! She is so grateful to HHI supporters for funding this.
We discussed with Mr Maheritona what Priscilla’s prospects might be once she finishes her schooling. What options are there for a girl with Priscilla’s disabilities? At the moment, we don’t know what the future holds but we will continue to support Priscilla with her schooling and transport to and from school. If finances allows HHI would like to rebuild the family home.
And, by the way, we have bought the ‘Boom’!
A Quiet Afternoon at the Compound?
For the first time a doctor, in this case Dr Ibrahim, from the local Monze Mission Hospital visited the compound to tell us what would be useful for various hospital departments. He was amazed at the range and quality of the hospital equipment he saw. He could tell us which items would be more useful in either clinics or hospitals and that information will help the trustees and staff at HHZ when it comes to distribution time. He was also very grateful to everyone in the UK.
No sooner had Dr Ibrahim left, Prisca Hatembo arrived. Her old sewing machine, which she had received 10 years ago, was beyond repair and as we had 15 on the container we were glad to let her have one. As you know, HHI funded Prisca through school, teacher training college and she now works at the new Muumba school for which HHI provided funds.
During the August holidays, Prisca will keep herself busy making clothes for herself, her children and maybe others. We suggested to her brother that he might like to cook the shima and look after the children. He agreed of course!
Monze Mission Hospital
We were greeted by Dr Ibrahim at Monze Mission Hospital and quickly got down to the business of discussing the much needed container items which had just arrived at HH headquarters. Importantly, we also discussed the best way forward in the light of there not being another container bound for Zambia. Dr Ibrahim was full of useful suggestions which will be well worth exploring.
Interestingly, Dr Ibrahim was born in Monze hospital and was a childhood friend of Trustee Mr Gondwe’s daughter.
Then it was time for the most important part of the outing: a visit to the children’s ward. Each young patient was given a knitted or hand sewn dolly and was delighted. As unwell as some children were, they all beamed. We felt very humbled to be able to hand over these small tokens which represent the love and care for the sick and needy shown by our supporters. It really was our privilege. Thank you.
Container Celebration: It’s here!
Once Carole Nzila had signed off the paperwork, the container, which had arrived by 7.30am, was ready to be unpacked. Headed by Adam and overseen by head of security Elliot, the scouts from Fidelis’ troupe and youths from Mr Gondwe’s church smartly set about removing all the items from the container.
Energy levels were high, the mood was good and soon everything was efficiently placed in the conference room. By noon, the container had departed and the workers were paid with a typical Zambian meal of fried chicken, vegetables and shima as well as 10 kwachas each (£1).
Fidelis was left to organise the items ready for distribution and by the end of the day it was a case of job well done. Indeed, from start to finish – to donors, packers, loaders, unloaders and distributors …WOW! Brilliant job, very well done!
The container has arrived and was unloaded this morning. Monze scouts are helping with this great task. This is great news - this year it has gone really smoothly.
No doubt Jute and Hilary will be reporting back in more detail later ... .
The Beneficiaries Committee spent the morning interviewing people who had travelled from far and wide to ask for help. Their needs ranged from parents asking for money for transport to take their sick or disabled child to hospital, to the just plain hungry. Hungry because a disability or illness prevents them from working so they have no money. And that means the family will be hungry too. Help was at hand.
However, not all stories are easy to listen to and not all decisions are easy to make.
Royd Mwanachiwena, a ‘double orphan’, lives with his grandmother in a remote area. Because of the distance between home and school, Royd had been a boarder, but funds have now run out. Royd was seeking money to allow him to complete his education: a £100 to board or £60 to attend school as a day pupil.
HHI was unable to offer to pay for Royd’s eduaction but £24 was given to him so that he could repair his bike. Royd is more than willing to cycle to school through the bush in order to finish his schooling… if he can find the fees.
Patreeda asked for support in order that she could care for her disabled 16 yr old nephew. He is already known to HHZ and has been supported in the past. Patreeda was given money to purchase seed and fertiliser from the local council, join a cooperative, buy food and also money for transport home. Why transport? Well, because Patreeda lives a long way from Monze, she set off the day before the committee meeting and along with her infant son, slept overnight in the bush.
How desperate is that?
Developments at Muumba School continue to be promising. We were delighted to meet Mr and Mrs Bbilika and pre-school teacher Mrs Phiri. They were eager to show us the new building funded by HHI, as well as the shelter (made from surplus materials) which is used for giving additional lessons to those children who need to catch up. The school is freshly painted, the external wall and fence complete and one toilet has been converted to allow disabled access. The bore hole provides fresh water and the new pathways enable disabled pupils and staff to move around more easily. Planting has begun in the garden too.
They were grateful to receive grey school jumpers, tennis balls and skipping ropes and, thanks to the toddler group at Hope and Market Square Church in Merthyr, we were able to give them £100 for outdoor play equipment. Also, they are looking forward to the delivery of sets of reading books from Strathaven Primary School.
In two years the school has grown from 50 pupils, to an expected 338 this coming September. Looking to the future, Mr Bbilika would like to extend the school to Grade 9 by adding 3 new classrooms. Anything seems to be possible at Muumba!
See more photos in the gallery