Over the past couple of weeks I have been in Zambia on a Multiply trip tasked with setting up social projects including English language teaching, internet connectivity, and computer facilities for a school. One of the first things that came to mind when it was suggested I’d go to Zambia was to get our artists to paint pictures that we’d give to the school, where they’d be displayed in the classrooms to inspire the children and give them a connection with us. In November last year I asked various people if they could paint something and I got an enthusiastic response. So the artists chose some photos and got stuck in to painting them. The paintings covered a wide range of subjects – from people through to landscapes. In fact one of the paintings was from a photo taken during a recently Multiply trip to Sierra Leone.It was quite a step of faith putting all the canvases in a suitcase and hoping (and praying) they’d all arrive in one piece. Especially as it was a couple of flights to Zambia which increases the chance of lost luggage. I was a relieved man when in the middle of a suitcase scrum at Ndola airport (no exaggeration) I spotted it, leapt in and rescued it. On the final day of the two weeks there I presented the artwork to school as a gift from our church back in England.
It was an amazing privilege giving these works of art to a grateful school. Thanks to Rob, Catriona, Katherine, Mark, Gail, Daniel (aged around 9 I think), Lil, and Joy for all your hard work. One of the other things that came to mind about going to Africa was knitting a blanket for a child. Not me knitting I hasten to add. I had just spent some time with Doris, a lady in her mid eighties who was knitting away whilst we chatted. So I asked her if she was up for doing something creative and make a blanket to take with me and “yes!” was the prompt reply.
The end result was stunning, and Catherine loved it (it’s cold at night for Zambians this time of the year). Thanks to Doris and Annie for their hard work.
One of the other personal touches was naming all the laptops in the I.T. classroom after my friends and also people who had supported the project by fundraising. In my church we are given “virtue” names that describe our character so I used these names.
On the last day I created some certificates and we gave these to everyone who had attended the I.T. and literacy courses. Ali and myself called out the people one by one to collect their certificates and pronouncing their names correctly was sometimes an impossible challenge! However they were very grateful for personal recognition.
I’ll miss this amazing family most of all I think. Sharon, Natasha, Matthew, and Matthew junior
I guess to sum up I can say the time in Zambia was very productive and the project work and filming went well. But there was also an opportunity for the personal touch that affects peoples lives too. It’s important to work through your own ideas and vision and make it happen just as much the official stuff that needs to be done. To end with here is a short glimpse of what we got up to in the two weeks in Zambia. Enjoy.