Newsletter (Apr 1, 2010)

Dear all, Term 1 at TCCA ends this week, with students taking exams at the moment.  Just before the term finishes, the College formally says farewell to Drs Rich and Kathy Stuebing who are retiring and will return to America at the end of April.  The Stuebings have been in Zambia exactly 40 years and they were the founding members of TCCA when it was started in 1982.  This web page www.theologicaltraininginafrica.org may be of interest to you to find out more about them, and there is some information about TCCA as well.  They are truly amazing people and we are honoured to be able to meet and know them before they retire.  They have been extremely good and kind to us and we (and many people in Zambia) will surely miss them.

At the far northwestern tip of Zambia, very close to the borders of Congo and Angola, is a small mission primary school—the Sakeji School.  It was established in 1925 and throughout the years many missionary kids and children from Zambian families have received their primary education there.  We know several families who have children boarding in the school at the moment.  We nearly went there last year but at the last moment something happened and we couldn’t go.  The reason for telling you about the school is that the road leading to the school was recently washed out by heavy rains.  A long stretch of it was badly damaged and the road is quite impassable.  So the school is nearly cut off from the rest of Zambia.  In Zambia you wouldn’t expect the road to be repaired quickly, especially in such an isolated area.  So the problem facing the parents is how to bring the kids out during term break which will start next week.  The school belongs to the Brethren mission and the small plane belonging to the mission can fly the children out, but at a cost.  We know a family who has three children there and the cost of flying them out runs to US$800 for three of them one way.  This is a huge amount of money and we are sure many families are facing financial crisis because of this.  They will have to raise money from many sources for this.

This is another aspect of life which we come across fairly regularly.  People here do not have spare money.  The money they earn is just enough for their daily needs, or they spend the money once they have it.  Either way, when there is a crisis they need to find/borrow money to deal with it, even for middle class professionals.  Unfortunately there are too many unexpected things happening in life here—funerals, malaria, other illnesses (especially their children), school fees, relatives suddenly turning up, and many others, plus the really totally unexpected events like the one mentioned above.

Recently the power supply to part of TCCA was very erratic and there were huge surges of power from time to time.  As a result lots of electrical appliances and lighting in the student flats were damaged.  The power company is supposed to compensate us for the damage done but we don’t know if they will ever pay up.

We thought the rainy season is coming to an end but in the past few days we experienced some powerful lightning and thunder.  One afternoon we were at home and suddenly saw sparks in the corridor and shortly after heard some tremendous thunderclaps.  They seem to have struck just above our house, and our lights dimmed and then brightened again.  We quickly checked our fridge and computers and everything seem OK, except our phone went dead.  We do have a lightning arrestor installed and most of our appliances have surge protectors, but not our phone.  So this is the third time that our phone was struck by lightning and had to be replaced.  We are getting the cheapest phone that we can get, as we may soon have the fourth, fifth time.

The laying of network cables for the library project finally started yesterday and we hope to finish this work early next week.  New equipment will be coming in two weeks’ time.  The packages held up by Customs should finally be released today or next Tuesday (as Friday and Monday are Easter holidays).  So we praise and thank the Lord that things have made some progress and we hope to do as much as we can before we leave in May.  With Christian love.

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