Newsletter (March 8, 2012)

Dear all, Just as we tried to write and send our newsletter last week, we received news that Timothy’s employment permit is ready for collection. So we quickly went down to Lusaka to collect it, as it suited well with other parties concerned. Our SIM director wanted to talk to us and we could give a lift to a Korean couple who need to travel to Lusaka on that very day. We had a very smooth journey and we thank the Lord that we could get the permit without any problem. When we arrived at Immigration, the collection desk was very crowded, with many people of different nationalities waiting to collect their documents. There was no queue and everything was chaotic. Somehow Timothy managed to give the receipt to the officer and somehow he managed to retrieve his file without much problem. So within half an hour everything was done and as we left the place, most people were still waiting. It is always a miracle to be able to get what we are supposed to get at Immigration. We could only give thanks to our Father who listens to your and our prayers.

Not only did we have a good time with our SIM director and his family, we were also very thankful to be able to catch up with our SIM administrator who is a good friend to us. She helped to direct us to several other places where we needed to get things done. We also went to buy some books and journals for the College library at UNZA (University of Zambia) Press. So we visited this most prestigious university in Zambia where only the cream of students in the country can get admitted. Then did we realise how fortunate the university students in New Zealand and Hong Kong are compared to this part of the world.

We had not driven to Lusaka for more than a year and we were amazed to see so much development that has taken place in the capital. There are new malls, new buildings everywhere, some roads were sealed. The economy seems to be thriving in the capital, but still for many people living there it is a daily struggle to survive. Traffic is a big problem and during peak hours there are lots of traffic jams. Once your car stops in the queue, there are many people trying to sell you things. It is so interesting to see the things they sell, the most common would be talk time, shirts, trousers, shoes, fruit, vegetables, newspapers, but then we have seen people carrying live geese, puppies (and other odd things) to sell as well. Talking about driving, people may not have money to fill up the fuel tank, so they will drive with a minimum amount of fuel, and it is a very common sight (especially in town) to see people pushing a car towards a filling station. In those situations people are very helpful and everyone will help to push. Same for cars that won’t start and again everyone will help and we also helped pushing several times.

Ndola seems to have more rain than Lusaka and Livingstone, so in a way we have cooler weather in the Copperbelt. Possibly March is the last month to see constant heavy rain and we do have heavy rains in the past few days. When it rains, we may have rain overnight, then it will stop in the morning, and rain may start again in the afternoon and evening with long and great thunder and lightning. That is the normal pattern. However, sometimes it may rain in the morning as well, like today. It also happened on one Sunday morning and then we noticed very few people could go to church. In Dunedin, people may not be able to go to church because of snow and frost. Here it is rain. Not that the rain is too heavy, but that most people must walk to church. It is very difficult to do that if you have to walk for more than 30 minutes, and the roads are so muddy and slippery. Not that people do not want to go, but sometimes it is quite impossible to do so.

From time to time, we can eat some of the fruits from our garden. We counted one day and thought we have about 12 different types of fruit—strawberries, raspberries, mulberries, guavas, avocados, bananas, paw paws, tangerines, lemons, some we don’t know their names. Most of them taste good. The trees may not bear a lot of fruit, but we are very thankful to God to provide such nice fruits and vegetables for us. We are trying to grow different types of vegetables. Some grow well and some don’t. At least the success rate is better than when we were in Dunedin!

People were so excited Zambia has won the Africa Cup of Nations. We do not have TV so could not watch it live. Timothy could follow it on the Internet, which was a few minutes late. At least we could tell what was happening from the noise in the neighbourhood. There were loud cheers at one stage and we thought Zambia had scored a goal, but it turned out to be a penalty miss by Drogba of Ivory Coast. During the penalty kicks, it was very tense for everyone and it went on and on until Zambia won and it was so joyful afterwards. No one could possibly sleep whether they are a soccer fan or not. For the next day or two everyone was so excited, and the unity and the commitment shown by the national team encouraged so many people, and many pastors used them as examples to illustrate their sermons. It is certainly a very good thing for Zambia, people are reconciled with each other, many people are encouraged in the midst of huge difficulties in life. Sometimes in this part of the world sport can achieve more than politics. With Christian love.

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