Newsletter 53: October to December 2012

Download – Newsletter 53: October to December

Dear Friends,

I hope you are well.

We are now home in Mwandi and it’s lovely to be here with our baby girl Cora Lieto Waddell born at the Port Lincoln Hospital on 12/9/12 at around 1.45pm by caesarean, she weighed in at 2.9 kg.  Cora came three weeks early due to my high blood pressure.  She was bit jaundiced at first and was in the incubator for a day.  Cora was very small but now she has put on the weight. She has a small amount of hair but its carrot red; she has big blue eyes and already is quite the character. Cora is a Scottish name meaning” Maiden” and Lieto is Lozi meaning “Journey”. The Senior Chief gave her the Lozi name.  It’s been terribly hot here in Mwandi so I haven’t really taken her anywhere and until she gets her next lot of immunisations she will just stay home.  She is a very light sleeper and her foghorn sister doesn’t help matters.

Lucy is so excited to be home and happy to see Keith, Ida, Mubi and Charles and Mwaka.  She is doing well and happy to be back at pre-school.  Everyone was so excited to see her at the OVC Project, saying she is all grown up. She never stops running here and there and misses Australia.  She hasn’t quite grasped that Grandma and Grandpa and her friends are not a small drive away, so we often talk to them via Skype.

The other day while she was swimming in her pool, she spotted the local crocodile that has been killing heaps of the chiefs and villagers cows. The croc is called Mr Crunch and he has been around for years and is at least 5m long.  Rury took off with a rifle and some locals in his little aluminium boat (dingy) and paddling down the river chasing this monster.  After some time he returned saying he managed to shoot it twice.  Its body was found later by some fishermen in the river. Rury has become quite the legend in the village for killing the animal and the fisherman are a lot more at ease whilst they are putting out their nets.

We have had some serious thunder storms for the past few weeks and it’s been raining most afternoons since the beginning of December. The winds have been so strong that our reed fence that borders our house and the visitors house was blown down and a lot of huts in the village were flattened. Pastor Mudenda’s new Church building was damaged too. Thankfully the bricks were able to be salvaged so work continues on the building. Charles managed to fix our fence, it is looking a bit worse for wear but it keeps the dogs out and our sheep in. Talking of sheep we have a little lamb, it’s so cute and it loves eating all my plants in the garden. Lucy has named her baa baa lamb and the lamb chases my poor cats and thinks Morris our giant dog is pretty cool.

The rains are so consistent that the members of the community have been preparing their fields for crops and many people already have planted their annual maize crop. The majority of the people in Mwandi are subsistence farmers so please pray that the season continues to be good so crops can last for all of 2013.

Our special needs kids are now home from St Malumba special school. Lifaliza has grown, he was so excited to see me the other day and was asking for “Morris and Baby” (Lucy). Namachana has put on weight and is looking smart and all grown up and Mutafela has grown taller and the head teacher said that he has come a long way this year. We just need to work on his toilet training. Next year brings other challenges at the school and all the teachers and students who attend the special school are constantly in our prayers. They are amazing children and our kids at the feeding program now look after them as members of the OVC project family. Our UCZ Deaconess has organised with a UCZ deaconess from Choma (the town where the special school is) to be visiting our children regularly to see how they are doing and coping with life away from Mwandi. This is a wonderful opportunity for the Choma Deaconess and our children to make a bond of trust and love.

There is one boy in the community called Joel who is 12 years, who has been accepted into St Malumba next year and we are looking for support for him. He has a mental disability too. If anyone is interested in supporting Joel at special school please contact me as they are starting school on the 9th Jan 2013.  The cost for the whole year is $515 this includes tuition, boarding, uniform and part of the transport costs (as the children cannot travel on public transport due to their incontinence).

Thank you to those Education Support sponsors that have paid for their 2013 sponsorship already , if you are in Australia and have received your re-sponsorship form for 2013, I encourage you to respond asap.

If anyone is interested in supporting children in school in 2013 from Grade 1 through to University please contact Sandra Pugsley (for Australian residents) and me (for Non – Australian).  Education is an extremely important gift and we can help our children achieve high school level and beyond.  This year Sandra has put together a lovely “Education Support Christmas Present Package” (for Australian residents only – sorry) if you are interested in giving someone a Christmas present with a difference please contact Sandra.

The OVC Project is now at the stage where we have nearly completed our main construction on our initial vision/plan and now we need to concentrate on maintaining and running what programs we have in place. We are able to achieve that through growing our own local produce and selling locally to the community. Milk, beef, chicken meat and eggs and pork (to be sold in Livingstone). The Agriculture project will be merged with the OVC project so we can achieve this. Through the infrastructure that is in place already. Rury has sourced a really good market for pigs and the company is constantly ringing him asking when he is bringing more of his pigs to Livingstone to slaughter.  And with the new school opening at Sooka with 800 students in boarding it is a great opportunity to increase the dairy size, piggery and chickens to flood the market.

We are looking at purchasing some cows that are a Jersey and Boran cross for $1200 each, we have sourced some at Batoka about a 4.5 hour drive from Mwandi and we feel that the cross will produce a good amount of milk but a tough animal to withstand our tough rural conditions. Point of Lay chickens cost $12 each and we want to order 1000 and pigs $300 each plus and we need to construct a new piggery, we are looking at needing $5000.

With help we would be able to achieve our plans to start sustaining the Admin costs at OVC Project and reduce the cost of the feeding program as we will be producing our own food (Milk, chickens, eggs and beef) at cost price.

Recently we have had to reduce the amount of milk we give to the children because of the increased costs that are involved. Also we have reduced the amount of rice meals and bread rolls we have per month also, due to the high cost.

The feeding program continues to give our children the nutrition they need and deserve to stay healthy and strong. I visited the feeding program the other day to see all the kids making a lot of noise and reading books. Some of the children that were part of our 20 when we first started feeding program in 2005 are still on the program and looking great. We continue to buy our multi vitamins in Livingstone and our Ready food “looks like peanut paste” multi vitamin from South Africa ( no one sells it in Zambia anymore ) its brilliant stuff , we give it to the children who are sick and boy it makes a difference to their health.

The project has also been supplying to Mwandi and the greater Community Health support with transport for paediatric patients and their guardians to travel to Lusaka for life changing surgery for many years. Through the amazing support for this program we continue to send 5 patients per month to Lusaka. These families come to our office in tears of complete despair that their children will always “look” different or never walk or eat because of facial or body deformities, but after the surgery they return to us with tears of joy. Some children have to travel several times for operations but it’s amazing how the children heal and scars gradually disappear.

While I was home a team of devoted friends put together an awesome OVC Project Calendar for a fundraiser. The pictures in the calendar are of our children who attend our feeding program and the photos were taken by Port Lincoln local photographer Timothy Berry, who visited Mwandi last year with his wife Abbie. The Calendars are $15 each and if you want to purchase some or resell some for the project please contact Leonie Dixon-Thompson (Mum) on robswatersystems@bigpond.com or mwandisupportteam@gmail.com or phone : 08 86842065. We all really appreciate your support with this fundraiser. I really wish to thank Erica, Peter, Tim, Julie and Sarah who helped put it all together for us.

The OVC project garden is doing pretty well for this time of year. The guys have worked hard while I was out to come up with some new ideas and initiatives of different varieties of veg to grow in the rainy season. The gardeners have planted a lot of maize this year and staggered it that we should have maize for the children’s lunch for some time, especially if the rain keeps up. We only lost a few trees this year due to the frosts so I have come home to seeing our fruit trees looking the best yet. Even the avocado tree looks like it’s going to produce some fruit this year for the children.

The project staff and volunteers have done so well and I have come home to the project running well, stores department is changed and so well organised, so clean, Asset register up to date and I am so please the way Mubiana has it all done. In fact all departments at the project are looking clean and organised. The staff and volunteers have done so well. And I feel that when the staff are doing their jobs well that the children have a better environment to come to each day.

We have started to build the projects Recreation centre. A building that our youth can come in the afternoons /evening and play pool, foosball, watch TV and just” hang out”. We also will have computer classes for the children and the area will be good for visiting physio therapists, doctors and large counselling groups. I am very excited about this building as I pray that it will give our youth something to do instead of hanging out at bars to play pool.

Our Sewing club student’s graduation will be held this month and this graduation will have the biggest number of students for an intake yet. This has taken time for us to get this many students but it’s wonderful to see these woman of our community being empowered with skills. I only hope that many women enrol for the next intake.

The Carpentry centre has a new intake of 9 students and there are some young students this time around (Under 20 years). It’s great to see that they are growing some flowers out the front of the centre so it looks smart. The guys are taking the course very seriously and Pascal is a very good teacher. In the afternoons Pascal works our new industrial machines planning, cutting and edging wood for carpenters in the community. The machines are not at all noisy and the community are very impressed with them. The income we get from these machines will help cover the costs of the projects electricity monthly bill.

Micro-credit scheme ladies are doing very well. They have been repaying back their loans each month without fail and we have given the ladies a large order of school uniforms for our sponsor’s students and they are doing a good job. We only pray that the ladies remain well and have enough work to pay back their loans. Pastor Mudenda has been visiting them regularly to encourage them with basic business practices.

May you all have a wonderful Christmas and please remember the reason for the season and share that wonderful Christmas story with friends who may have forgotten.

This year we have had some amazing visitors to the mission and I wish to thank you for coming to give part of your lives to our children and staff at the OVC Project. So many of you have given so much for the Mwandi Community and we thank you for all the hard work you do for US.

I ask for your continued prayers for all of our programs and for continued support to keep them running.

Thank you for becoming a part in our children lives and our family. Your support, handwork and prayers keeps our children supported in so many programs.

May God bless you

Fiona, Ruairidh, Lucy, Cora and all the OVC Project Family.

 

Prayer Points

  • Children and families who are suffering from HIV /AIDS
  • Local and international volunteers who work on the Mwandi UCZ Mission
  • Financial support for all of our programs and new sustainability program
  • Mwandi Children are safe during the school holidays
  • Planted maize crops continue to grow well

 

Urgent Project needs

Sustainability program

Pig (large white)                                               $300

Chicken                                                                $12each

Piggery                                                                $5,000

Internet monthly charge                              $150 per month

Support for our feeding program – If groups or individuals can tithe to program would be great.

Tiles for staff eating area                              $600

Pool Table for new Recreation Centre – do you have one “ just sitting around”!!!! If so, you may like to donate, it could go into our 40ft container leaving Australia 2013 – or donate $’s toward one!!!!

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