Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The good, the bad, and the sad

I was reminded this week that Kinley Travels hadn't been updated since Thailand.  First of all, thanks to everyone who keeps track of us on the blog, through Facebook, calls on Skype and chatty emails.  It makes the world seem that much smaller and we treasure our friendships with you.

So, here is the latest of the good...the bad...and the sad.

The Good

Thanks to the generosity of many of our friends and family who bought CDs and made donations to the Ndola Lions School for the Visually Impaired, the kitchen larder is stocked, and the children returned to a school that could provide food for them.  I can't thank you all enough and it really touched the school's headmaster, Mr. Chisala.

Another project that has been a long time in the making is providing the students with new bunk beds and mattresses.  Up until a donor from the UK stepped up to help, many of the students slept on the floor on foam mattresses that well....most of you would shudder at the thought of using.
The boys told us how happy they were to return from Christmas vacation and be assigned a bunk bed.
One of the boys' dorms
My cohort in crime, Yvonne, (who has been the driving force in the school's fundraising for the last 7 years) and I noticed that many more younger children had enrolled in the new year.
These two young boys were exploring the pathways with their arms wrapped around each other .  The wide eyed boy had eyes that could barely see, and the other had no sight.  But together, they greeted us and happily posed for pictures they would never be able to see.
This class was learning geography.  I told them that in my country, a big snowstorm was blowing with the temperatures around -20C.  I told them it would feel like walking into a big freezer with the wind blowing.  They laughed at the thought.

I asked the kids if I could take their picture; they all smiled and said yes but when I got home, noticed the young girl in the 2nd seat by the window that covered her face.  Many Africans fear a camera will take their spirit and it's not unusual to see reactions such as this. 
Children with albinism are common at the school. 
Here, Yvonne (left) and her sister Ros, (visiting from the U.K.) and I check out a playground at a nearby church to use as a prototype.  
With the increased numbers of young children attending the school, and the food crisis under control, Yvonne and I have focused our fundraising on having a jungle gym playground built.  A local lumber yard has assured us we can build it in components as funds are raised, and that he will give us a good price on materials.  A mutual friend has offered the services of two carpenters to build -- so the dream that Yvonne has had for years, is getting close to reality. These kids have so little, and a jungle gym will help them physically, mentally and emotionally.  Yvonne is a trained mobility instructor for the blind, so her expertise will be important as the kids are oriented to the equipment. 

I'll update the school's blog with more pictures when the playground is finished.  

We've been warmly welcomed into a great group of friends.  On Sunday, we were guests at Kevin and Glenys Shone's home for brunch.  

My dear friend, Yvonne.  She took me under her wing, introduced me to the school, and has been company for me over many cappuccinos  
Kevin keeping an eye on an uninvited guest
The last time I was at their home, thousands of fruit bats had set up homes in their trees for a few months before moving on in their migratory journey.
Left to right:  Barb, Viv, Glenys, Yvonne and Roger
Yvonne took me to the local watch repair man who is set up on a sidewalk in town

On a recent Sunday, Roger and I went to Nsobe Game Camp for lunch and saw this monkey checking us out
The Bad...and The Sad....

Zambia was thrust into a period of shock and mourning this week when a horrific bus crash claimed the lives of 53 people; 39 of them from Ndola.  
If reports are true, the driver survived the crash, and may only face a fine for causing the deaths of so many.

We've always said that driving is the biggest risk we face (terrorist attacks are not even on our top 10 list of worries) and Zambia is no exception.  The roads are narrow, in poor condition, drivers speed, and overtaking vehicles is commonplace because there are no passing lanes and no dual carriageways heading to the capital of Lusaka.    

Everyone I've talked to knew of someone that died on Friday.  A young woman who lived two doors from us perished, leaving her children to be raised by her parents.  The financial and emotional toll of this accident is beyond comprehension.  Sounds of wailing have echoed through Ndola as grief takes a hold.  

While death is more common in Zambia than in other countries we have lived, I have no doubt in my mind it is felt as deeply as anywhere else.

"Grief is the price we pay for love."

                                                           Queen Elizabeth II

No comments: