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.

Home-Family

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.

James

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.

Watching

Happy

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.

Dinner

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.

Fish

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

Grrr...

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

Sunset

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: The first 24 hours

As part of a Multiply Christian Network trip I’m over in Zambia to film the two weeks the group is here, to interview people about Multiply, and to set-up an I.T. classroom in a school that’s connected with Multiply. I’ll be posting photos when I can. This is the first 24 hours.

Jake piano

Jake, our chauffeur, finds a piano at Heathrow. He’s probably still there.

Airport crew

The team going to Zambia (left to right) – Len, Hannah, Ian, Ali, James, Farayi. It was a night time flight so no sleep for me – it would have been more comfortable lying on top of a tumble-drier in full spin. So I put on a film called 12 Angry Men, a 1957 classic all shot in one court jury room. Well worth watching if ever you get the chance as it gives plenty of food for thought. After that I decided to have a play around and see what I could capture outside…

3---Airplane-stars

At 38,000 feet the stars were out in force. This was a 30 second exposure with the camera shoved against the window looking over the wing, and a towel over me to avoid reflection. As we were moving at over 500mph it came out a bit blurred, but still an interesting picture.

As we neared Nairobi, Kenya, the sun started to rise with the moon still keeping a watchful eye. Any ideas as to the star right underneath the moon?

As we neared Nairobi, Kenya, the sun started to rise with the moon still keeping a watchful eye. Any ideas as to the star right underneath the moon? (not too clear in this picture but it’s there)

As we waited at Nairobi airtport for the connecting flight to Zambia the temperature soared, giving us the first taste of real heat. I had just had a kip, woke up and saw this photo opportunity. I'll await retribution!

As we waited at Nairobi airtport for the connecting flight to Zambia the temperature soared, giving us the first taste of real heat. I had just had a kip, woke up and saw this photo opportunity. I’ll await retribution!

A smaller plane awaited us and we strolled across avoiding tractors that scurried about the place. Massey Ferguson if you're interested. Which I am.

A smaller plane awaited us and we strolled across avoiding tractors that scurried about the place. Massey Ferguson if you’re interested. Which I am.

The scene where a devestating fire broke out in August 2013 at one of the terminals at Nairobi airport. They're rebuilding it now.

The rebuilding scene where a devastating fire broke out in August 2013 at one of the terminals at Nairobi airport.

8-Boarding2

This smile was soon wiped away when it was announced the air conditioning wasn’t working in the plane. We sat there for what seemed like hours while the temperature climbed till the plane finally got going and it was cool again. They probably just opened one of the doors mid flight.

 

Ndola airport. Man this place was like nothing I had seen before. Just a field with a few buildings at the end. A far cry from the scale of Nairobi and Heathrow, and it felt like we had finally arrived in Africa.

Ndola airport. Man this place was like nothing I had seen before. Just a field, a narrow runway, and a few buildings at the end. A far cry from the scale of Nairobi and Heathrow, and it felt like we had finally arrived in Africa.

Ndola, in north Zambia. Petrol stations every 100 metres, and a wide range of buildings from imposing muti-story offices to the smallest humble home.

Ndola, in north Zambia. Petrol stations every 100 metres, and a wide range of buildings from imposing muti-story offices to the smallest humble home.

From Ndola we set off for Kitwe where the Harvest church is based. An hours drive away and we must have seen over 30 of these signs all awaiting someone to place their advertisements on them. The road connecting the two towns was well made (Chinese investment) with only a few potholes that would have snapped the car and your back in two.

From Ndola we set off for Kitwe where the Harvest church is based. An hours drive away and we must have seen over 30 of these signs all awaiting someone to place their advertisements on them. The road connecting the two towns was well made (Chinese investment) with only a few potholes that would have snapped the car and your back in two.

Can't beat an African selfie. And Mr Vivian Callard no this hasn't been photoshopped. I would have if my face was showing though.

Can’t beat an African selfie. And no Mr Vivian Callard this hasn’t been photoshopped. I would have if my face was showing though.

Kelly will love this - the buses in Kitwe are very distinctive with a white top and blue panels. This  particular one had God Is Good on the back and All The Time on the sides. Amen to that.

The buses in Kitwe are very distinctive with a white top and blue panels. Kelly will love this particular one as it had God Is Good on the sides and All The Time on the back. Amen to that.

Transportation Zambian style (and most African nations it seems).

Transportation Zambian style (and most African nations it seems). There is a very wide range of vehicles from most manufacturers here. Though not a Vauxhall Zafira in sight… Hallelujah!

 

The driving style here is fairly haphazard - first to the junction generally wins and it works as people drive slowly. I have only seen a few traffic lights so far and this one really caught my eye.

The driving style is fairly haphazard – first to the junction generally wins and it works as people drive slowly. I have only seen a few traffic lights so far and this one really caught my eye.

Two things you'll see Zambian with - a beaming smile and a mobile phone.

Two things you’ll see Zambians with – a beaming smile and a mobile phone.

At around 7pm we made our way to the homes we would be staying in. Ali and Hannah with Pastor George, Len and Ian with Pastor Stephen, and Farayi and myself with Matthew, a Harvest church member. There were some locals outside so I joined them for a kick about as daylight faded.

At around 7pm we made our way to the homes we would be staying in. Ali and Hannah with Pastor George, Len and Ian with Pastor Stephen, and Farayi and myself with Matthew, a Harvest church member. There were some locals outside so I joined them for a kick about as daylight faded.

Matthew's wife Sharon, and daughter Natasha. We were warmly welcomed and it was clearly a huge privilege for them to have us staying in their very humble home. Sharon quickly got some food together (forth meal of the day for me!) Holding the plate of rice and fish in front of her she knelt down and offered it to me. Here was gratitude in service that I had never seen before.

Matthew’s wife Sharon, and daughter Natasha. We were warmly welcomed and it was clearly a huge privilege for them to have us staying in their very humble home. Sharon quickly got some food together (forth meal of the day for me!) Holding the plate of rice and fish in front of her she knelt down and offered it to me. Here was gratitude in service that I had never experienced before.

Matthew - an immensely likeable chap despite his Arsenal top. All Zambians seem to be football mad and support an English Premier League club. I've been asked where Northampton Town are in the football league and at that point I hastily construct a language barrier.

Matthew – an immensely likeable chap despite his Arsenal top. All Zambians seem to be football mad and support an English Premier League club. I’ve been asked where Northampton Town are in the football league and at that point I hastily construct a language barrier.

Matthew's son, Matthew Junior. When I first entered his house he came running over and threw his little arms around me with the warmest welcome ever. I think I'll enjoy staying here.

Matthew’s son, Matthew Junior. When I first entered his house he came running over and threw his little arms around me with the warmest welcome ever. I think I’ll enjoy staying here with characters like him and his parents around.

A lot to take in, and that was only the first day. I’ll post more when I can but the next few days are likely to be very busy. Lots of love to you all back home. Thanks for your support and prayers.