Newsletter (July 2, 2009)

Dear all, The weather suddenly turned cold this week after a very warm June, but we suppose it is still very warm compared with what all of you are experiencing in New Zealand.

The boy who used to work two hours a day, Monday to Friday, in our garden has to go to a rural school to continue his study.  So he stopped working for us since late May and moved to a village far away from Ndola.  We are supposed to have another person working for us, but his wife is sick and up till now he has not yet turned up.  Fortunately it is dry season, so the grass is not growing, but we, especially Zara, have to spend lots of time watering the plants and the vegetables.  In New Zealand we could never get things growing, but here we do have some success.  We have lots of socalled Chinese cabbage which is quite unlike to those in New Zealand and Hong Kong.  We also have lettuces, a few of bananas and strawberries.  The strawberries were so attractive that some young kids came to steal them.

We have a tangerine tree which has lots of fruit this year.  It needs lots of water and we are constantly watering it and hopefully we will have some nice juicy tangerines soon.  We also planted some tomatoes, onions and spinach (which is not spinach at all but silverbeet), so we should be quite self-sufficient in vegetables, and we can even give some away.

Sometimes we buy seeds from the supermarkets and shops but recently people told us that we could buy seedlings from the prison nearby.  This week we went there with a Bembaspeaking friend and it was indeed an eyeopener for us.  The prison staff live just outside the prisons and each family grows all kinds of vegetables for sale.  People can buy seedlings or vegetables from them and some families ask prisoners to look after their vegetable plots.  Conditions in the prisons here are very poor and overcrowded.

The nurses finally went back to work, after the Government threatened to dismiss them and employed Zimbabwean nurses instead.  Many sick people suffered because of the strikes and some died because of lack of care.  The whole episode is very sad and shows that there are lots of tensions in the society at present.

TCCA students hosted an African night last Saturday in order to raise some money to renovate the student lounge.  The dress code was African but we do not have anything for that.  Anyway not everyone came in African dress, but for those that did, some outfits were really colourful.  Quite a lot of outsiders came to TCCA and it is good to have some publicity for the college.  The female students and the TCCA wives started cooking two days ahead.  It was the first time we had so many varieties of traditional African food and they were very nice.  As usual we did not bring our camera, so could not show you how everything looks like.

Since Dr Fan came back in early June, we still have not been able to restart Bible studies with him.  We should be able to do so this coming weekend.  Please pray that his heart for God is still there and he will grow spiritually.  We understand that it is difficult for him to maintain his faith as he is the only Christian among all his friends here and there is no suitable church for him.  On the other hand, Timothy has several Bible studies with Dr Niu and he even came to church with us last Sunday.  We had a family and friends service on that day and he listened very attentively.  He later told us and Dr Fan that he enjoyed going to church.  He has been here eight years now so his English is better than Dr Fan’s and he could follow what people said quite well.  We are very encouraged by this and hope he will come to church again soon.  He is very keen to know the Bible more, so please continue to pray for him.  With Christian love.

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