Newsletter (June 5, 2008)

Hi.  We have been here nearly four weeks now and we are a bit familiar with the city and how things are run.  After two weeks of quite good power supply, this week is not as good.  We have a power cut every day from about 6:15 am and that will last for about five hours or more.  The only good thing is that it does not happen in the evening, so at least we can cook and do some work at night.  But because of that, work in the library in the morning is seriously affected as most things can not be done without power.

Last week the parcel we posted from Hong Kong arrived but there is still no sign of the seven that we posted from New Zealand.  So please continue to pray for their safe arrival.  One possibility for their late arrival is that they were sent by sea.  We always thought international economy is still air mail but they don’t send it as quick as air, but we may be wrong and international economy means surface mail.  If this is the case, then it will take three months at least for them to come.  Most mail by sea possibly is entering this part of Africa through Durban, South Africa or through Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania.  We just heard that there are serious congestions at these two ports so things may be further delayed.  We have started receiving letters from the UK and the US.  They take about two weeks to come.  We just got a packet of our New Zealand mail from Louise today (thanks Louise!).  It took 21 days.  There is no postal delivery to houses, so anyone who wants to receive mail has to rent a post box from the post office.

Zara’s employment permit has been approved but is still being processed and we hope to get it soon.  Zara is helping a missionary kid with mathematics at the moment.  It seems that most students here are scared of this subject.  However we do notice that the cashiers at shops are very good in arithmetic by heart.

We are taking minibuses to town very often.  There are two types, the bigger ones can seat about 30 people and are more spacious and comfortable, but they are not so common.  The smaller ones can seat about 16 (the size of a normal van) but most often there are more and they are normally very crammed.  The most interesting thing about these buses is that most of them have “names”.  Some can be very religious, e.g. “My Redeemer lives”, “The Foolishness of God is wiser than man”, “Christ the King”, etc.  A few are about soccer, e.g. Arsenal, Chelsea, etc.  The names have no bearing on the conduct of the people who drive the buses.

We are now in the cool season and the morning can be quite cool.  However by late morning the temperature will rise up to 25 degrees.  The weather is very predictable, every day is fine, sometimes a bit of cloud, but mostly clear and the sun can be quite strong.  It will be like this throughout the cool season, then the temperature will start to climb up in September.  Sometimes there is a breeze and it is quite comfortable.  It is good that we could come at this time as it will be easier for us to get used to the weather.  However the problem here is dust.

There is not much of a pavement.  Pedestrians mostly walk on dirt and the pavements are not level.  We have to walk very carefully in order not to fall over.  Zara tripped one day and her finger got an infection and she has to be on antibiotics for a week.  As this is the dry season, you can imagine that it is very dusty here.  Added to this are dust particles from the cement works nearby.  So after a day, everything is covered in a layer of dust, which is not too good for one’s health.  Worse still, half the cars that are on the road are not roadworthy and they give out huge black smoke.  Clothes get dirty very quickly and need to be washed frequently.  We have to wash them by hand as we do not yet have a washing machine.  After sunning the clothes, every item needs to be ironed since a certain type of insect (Putsi flies) may lay eggs on wet fabric which may then hatch onto bodies.  Now we understand why we were told the conditions here are hard on clothes and shoes!

Life here is gradually getting into a pattern now.  However, we still find life here difficult to adjust to.  Not that we encounter things unpleasant, but many small frustrations are adding up to stressful moments from time to time.  Please pray for us.

Prayer requests (all previous ones are still valid, including the following):

  • We will soon find a good church in Ndola which we can relate to.
  • God will lead us into some opportunities to serve him in Zambia.
  • We will be able to adjust to life in Africa soon.

Thank you for supporting us in your prayers.  In Christ.

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