Newsletter (November 25, 2010)

Dear all, Before we left New Zealand, we shipped a cubic metre of books, Bibles and used computers to Zambia. We found a company which said they could ship things to Zambia and the price was not too expensive. After travelling half the globe and two hemispheres they finally arrived in Ndola on Tuesday. The freight arrived at the Zambian border earlier this month, but it took a few days to clear customs. SIM Zambia used to have import duty waiver so that all incoming goods addressed to them need not pay duty and VAT (equivalent to GST). However, because of widespread abuse of the system, the revenue authority cancelled everyone’s waivers and any organisation that requires such a waiver has to reapply. SIM Zambia has not reapplied yet, so the tax had to be paid on the freight at the border.

Books and Bibles are exempted from tax, but not the used computers. That caused the delay at the border as we need to tell the agents the cost of the computers. We are thankful that the tax we needed to pay was not much. And because of the delay, the transport company wanted to charge us US$800 and that was surely excessive. In the end the agent was very kind and he talked to the transport company and got them to agree to waive the charge. We are extremely grateful and thankful, and also very happy to get the goods. The computers came at a very good time as most of our computers in the library are no longer usable, and only three or four are still working.

It seems that the low voltage problem has gone and we do not have further problems. The lights can be quite dim at night, and then suddenly become bright for a while, but at least all the appliances are working. However, this year is very dry so far, not much rain at all, so the water level at the borehole must be very low and so like last October, we have no water from time to time. Thankfully, we did have some rain today, although not very heavy, but at least it cools down the air and the ground is wet. We pray that we will have more rain soon, otherwise the crops will die and we will have food shortages next year.

Since June this year a Chinese restaurant, the only one in Ndola, has been opened. We know the owner and we have been going there once in a while, sometimes with friends and sometimes on our own. The food is good so many expatriates like to go there. Of course there are many Chinese customers and most of them we have never met before, and we always wonder where they are from. Last week we met Middle Fan, the lady who is now working in one of the mining companies north of Kitwe, at the restaurant. She was just passing through Ndola and we were so pleased to see her again and we had a good time catching up with her. We do not have much time to visit our Chinese friends here since we came back in August, as we have been very busy and quite exhausted with the work that we need to do in TCCA.

This is malaria season now and so many people, young and old, are having this disease. We have brought back plenty of doxycycline from New Zealand and it seems the tablets are better than those that we bought here. So far, after four months, we have not contracted any malaria yet and we thank the Lord for His protection.

One of the biggest Baptist churches here asked us to set up a table to sell Bibles, books, CDs and cards last Sunday. So many people wanted to buy things from us. Some of them were so eager that they came to TCCA to buy Bibles and Bible covers days before we went to the church. Many people came to buy giant-print NIV Bibles and they are so pleased when they see the text as they can read it easily. As we said before, most people can not afford to get glasses, and even if they have them, most likely they are no longer accurate. So a large-print, and better still a giant-print, Bible is always in demand. By popular demand, the church asked us to go back again in December! As a result we have raised quite a lot of money for TCCA. With Christian love.

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