Thunk! Without the slightest hesitation the coveted stamp is pounded into our extended work permit booklets and we are officially in Zambia again. It’s a beautiful sunny morning. The air is moist and already warm; the cassia trees sport their first bright yellow spiked blooms. At the exit Murray Sanderson’s long lean frame waits for us; his big smile and hug is a very warm welcome ‘back home’.
‘Home’ is a tiny apartment at the end of Max’s house at MEF (Mindolo Ecumenical Foundation which operates a peace building and conflict centre). Max is a German development worker with the city council of Kitwe. Two years ago he was our neighbour in a much smaller house. Now he’s married to Clara, a lovely Zambian woman.
Clara has malaria, for the first time in years. On my early morning walks I pluck some lemon grass from a hedge and make her tea – two litres a day when sick with malaria. Already I’m using my Anamed seminar knowledge!
Our first days are spent making our home, and visiting friends. Sister Margaret is the nurse for MEF. I sponsored her to take the Anamed seminar for Natural Medicine in the Tropics, held in Zambia in January. It’s exciting to hear how she’s sharing her new found knowledge with family and friends. We hope to plant a demonstration garden of healing plants on the campus.
Vivienne shared a pot of boiled groundnuts with me (fresh peanuts boiled in their shell – delicious). The secretary to the MEF director, 52 years old, she is the competent business woman on Monday to Friday. On Saturday she turns into a farmer, walking two hours along the dirt road to her farm to plant maize, groundnuts, cassava, and other vegetables for the market. She’s an amazing woman. I’ve shared many of the ideas I’ve learned about sustainable small scale farming with her. The last was to use Tithonia (Mexican sunflower) for a natural fertilizer. A rampant ‘weed’ almost everywhere, this plant is very high in nitrogen and breaks down as quickly as commercial fertilizer. I sent Vivienne an email with some information I found on the internet and she’s already tried it out, with good results.
Tomorrow Pastor Jessy comes with his wife Loveness and Pastor David. This is the team we work with in our farming project in Mpongwe. Last August, 15 leaders took the Foundations for Farming (www.foundationsforfarming.org) training before harvest. We look forward to helping them train their people in sustainable farming methods.
Tito and Mate have been here from Bukuumo Cooperative. This group is still really struggling. We expected them to basically close down last year, but they wanted to try one more year. It seems little has changed. We hope to visit the members this week and hear the different views. Maybe we can find some consensus at the meeting next Saturday.
So, we’re excited to be back. There are many challenges, but also many good things happening in Africa.