Zambia: Artwork With A Personal Touch

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. 2014-01-27 18.26.36The 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.2014-01-04 11.27.47It 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. Artwork

CatrionaArtwork-JoyArtwork-KatherineArtwork-RobArtwork-LillArtwork-MarkArtwork-GailArtwork-DanielIt 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. Doris-Knitting

The end result was stunning, and Catherine loved it.

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. Laptop-Names

Giving out certificates

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.

Zambia: The I.T. and Literacy Projects

On Monday and Tuesday the I.T. and literacy  projects were in full flow. Here’s a look at what we’ve been doing.

IT crowd

Monday morning came round and with it the first of the teaching sessions. At the Multiply conference a few days previously Stephen had encouraged pastors to come in and learn how to use a computer, as it is becoming more and more important for communication in Zambia.


And come they did – more than 30 of them crammed into the small I.T. classroom for the first session. I didn’t know what level to expect and it turned out that almost all of them had never used a computer before. This was going to be interesting. I started on the basics like how to hold a mouse, moving the cursor, using a keyboard etc. I worked it in stages so 10 people had a go then swapped with another 10, so those who had just tried taught the newcomers. This is the best way of learning – teach what you have been taught.

Ladies group

In the afternoon a smaller group of mainly women came and there was still the same need – to know the basics of using a computer. It took one person ten minutes to use the mouse to click on an icon and then the keyboard to enter a password, but by the end of the lesson she was one of the most confident users there.

Group photo

A happy crowd of Zambians after the second days teaching. In total we had more than 50 people come for lessons, and I suspect this is just the tip of the iceberg. The lessons will cost them a small amount of kwacha (local currency) and this money will go towards running the orphanage and improving the school.

Ali giving books

On Monday morning Ali gave a presentation to the school of all the books and teaching materials that have been sent over. This was gratefully received!

Ali crowd

Ali had a big task on giving an English literacy lesson to a large amount of people, some of which hadn’t come to the assessment the previous day so it made it harder for her to work out what they should be learning. She coped brilliantly though and the conversations and laughter carried on throughout the afternoon.

Ali teaching

Hannah teaching

Hannah meanwhile was showing some of the school children and orphans how to use a computer – as with the older generation most had never tried before. The power to the local area had been cut all day and by the time mid afternoon came only one had any battery life left. Still, more than 4 hours in use on battery is a good run. These laptops have been a great buy – thanks for your donations and for Tony at Form I.T. for sourcing them.



You can’t really describe what it is like seeing an adult or a child learn something they never thought they would have the chance to learn. It’s a mixture of joy and disbelief. This picture sums that up.


And talking of joy – here was one of the meals that was presented to me in the evening. Sharon really does put a lot of effort into fattening me up: coleslaw, fried soya bean, sausages, eggplant, and boiled potatoes. Finished with some pineapple for dessert. Even for me this is a lot of food and I’ve rarely finish a meal. I think that’s a compliment. Could be a grave insult though. Oh well there’s not much I can do about that.


Another traditional meal I’ve had. Fish (bream), a bean and nut mixture, and nshima (ground maize).


Grrr… yep I ate that all up. And it was actually very tasty.


On Tuesday evening I got back home noticing that there might be the first real sunset of the trip. After the customary bath time the sun had almost set (it goes down very quickly due to the angle of the suns movement) but after asking Matthew he quickly took me to a place where I could get the last few rays of light.

It’s been a busy, and somewhat tiring few days for us all but we’re seeing real progress with the project work. It’s making a difference not just to the church, school and orphanage, but to the people of Kitwe as well.

Zambia: An Eventful Weekend

So much for weekends being for rest. This one was jam-packed and I managed to get a lot done on the I.T. Project.


One thing you’ll always seen on Zambian roads is people. In fact I don’t think I’ve seen a stretch of tarmac without someone sauntering down it, or people sitting in groups by the roadside.


Ali and Hannah gave out t-shirts, skipping ropes, frisbees, and footballs to the orphans who live at the Harvest church. They were delighted and soon the back yard was a cacophony of excitement and laughter.


Haggai, the youth leader, was delighted.



The Harvest church team have put a lot of effort into making the I.T. room fit for use. With our donations they have tiled the floor, painted the walls, fitted electric sockets, lights, chairs, and custom made benches. They have also installed an internet connection, which we have paid for the first years use. The three guys with me are Nathan, Simon, and Haggai, who will oversee the I.T. classroom and the kit here. I spent a while setting up the laptops with them, connecting mice, security locks, and then gave them a basic run through of what is on the laptops. I’m pleased all ten laptops survived transportation!


Praise team

Our first taste of an African church service was on Sunday morning. Boy was it loud! The “Praise Team” consisted of 10 female singers, a keyboard, and drums. And it sounded amazing.


Ali and Hannah worshipping with Gladys, who is Stephen Mwakibinga’s wife.


At times it sounded like the world cup in South Africa 2010 – a few vuvuzelas were enthusiastically blown by the congregation.


In the afternoon I joined the Harvest youth group for a gentle kick about in the local park. Or so I thought…


Instead we played against a team that were training on the pitch, and it ended up a full 11-a-side game. I’ve just seen that there is a young boy with a tyre in the bottom left of this picture. I have no idea why.


Man it was hot! Over 30 degrees and lots of running meant I was pretty worn out after the first 20 minutes. Our team was wearing the Liverpool tops and the locals wore the Arsenal ones. There were over 100 people watching on the sidelines and the orphan kids were vocal in their support for our team.


It was a closely fought game and we came away 2-1 winners (I scored a long range volley for the winner but that’s not really important…) Afterwards Haggai spoke with these guys about confidence and then gave me an opportunity to speak into their lives. It’s important they are believed in as there isn’t much opportunity for them with either jobs or church involvement, so I did my best to bring hope to them.


And to finish the evening off I did a Skype call to the folks back in Northampton. It was a slightly weird experience and wasn’t too sure how well I communicated but I knew it was inspiring seeing Simeon and Joe when they were in Sierra Leone in November, so I gave it a go. Was good to hear Huw’s voice again.

This week there will be a lot of skills teaching with both I.T. and literacy. Please pray we’re able to meet the needs and train the right people, and we have enough energy to do so!