June 2019 Newsletter
Spring has almost slipped away and summer is waiting! Meanwhile, our students in Zambia are layering up and wearing knitted hats. I have been in Kalomo in mid-June and it is cold! In some areas it can freeze overnight.
Term 2 is well underway and most of the students are doing alright academically – it is normal for some to soar and others to struggle. Each term Mrs. Mbumwae organizes a ‘meet the parents’ event and every student is expected to have a parent or relative come and represent them. It is helpful to have parents be a part of the ‘team’ to encourage the students to do their best.
We have a chess player in the sponsorship program! She is in Grade 11 and her name is Lister Munsaka. We met her in February as she was heading to Choma to participate in a chess competition. She won. She told us that she watched the movie “Queen of Katwe” and was inspired. This is her background written last year when she entered the program: **she is from Kalomo where she lives with her grandmother. Her parents divorced and she does not know where her father is. She is the eldest of 4 children. Her mother works at the market in Kalomo selling vegetables**. Her mother must be very proud of her, as are we.
The past rainy season did not bring much rain and the staple crop for most of sub-Sahara Africa is rain-dependent maize. This drought impacted all of Southern Province in Zambia and most all of Zimbabwe. Food distribution has begun in some areas and will need to be in place until April of next year when next year’s crop is harvested. Meantime, it is a blessing for the students to be in boarding where they are fed fairly nourishing meals.
In 2018, ZMF-C expensed $100,000 (Canadian) to schools and colleges on behalf of your students. In addition, funds were spent on shoes, drinks and buns, a Grade 12 graduation party and gifts. This year exactly 150 pupils are in the sponsorship program: 105 are in high school, 36 are in various colleges and 9 are in Basic School.
Thank you very much for giving these young people an opportunity they would not otherwise have to learn and thrive in this world.
The rainy season in this part of the world usually begins in November and tapers off in late March or early April. Rain falls in the summer time after a time of intense heat. This particular rainy season began late - in December - and in mid-February it abruptly ended. In the photo gallery for 2019 some pictures are posted of fields planted with maize that are a complete failure. For those families and communities there will be almost no maize, their staple food. ZMF-C has a lunch program already in place in the five schools we support and due to the drought this program is being expanded to include more hot meals each week. As well, will extend into the holiday breaks this year. Students cannot learn unless they have eaten! Food relief has already been delivered to the Simakakata community for the disabled.
Greetings from Zambia – my husband Steve and I have been here for several weeks and have had the joy of meeting many of your students.
The school year in Africa follows the calendar year and therefore begins in January. The intake of new high school pupils took place in late January and they are all nicely settled in now. Twenty Grade 10’s were added to Kalomo Secondary School and close to ten at Namwianga Christian Secondary. In total there are now over eighty pupils at Kalomo Secondary in Grades 10 through 12, and 26 at Namwianga Secondary.
Yesterday was the annual ‘welcome’ day for the new Grade 10 students. We all met at Kalomo Secondary – including the students from Namwianga Secondary – and enjoyed games, singing and poetry presented by the pupils. The coordinator of the program, Ruhtt Mbumwae, was in fine form playing with the students. She had them form a large circle (nearly 100 pupils) and count by 9’s. If they delayed with their answer, or gave a wrong answer, they had to leave the circle. It became a fun way to review our nine times table Several students recited lengthy poems that related well to their culture and struggles and we were impressed at their capacity to memorize. Following the presentations by students we took their photos and gave each one a small bag of personal care items including soap, toothpaste and a toothbrush. Taking photos of Zambians is different from taking photos of our grandchildren… Our youngsters learn from an early age to smile when a camera is pointed at them. Not so with our Zambian students. They tend to look very serious when facing a camera and when we encouraged them to smile many lips quivered – not knowing quite what to do… As soon as the shutter was pressed and picture taken – a big smile would emerge! Ah well – if your student is not smiling in their photo is it not because they are ungrateful or uninterested! It was wonderful to put faces to the names that were previously – for us - only on spreadsheets.
And now – we will see how they do in this big arena of boarding high school. The students have almost all come from small village schools and the student population at Kalomo Secondary is over 1000. Quite a shift! We will see, and encourage, and pray that they can dig in and manage to pass each Term all the way to Grade 12.
The Kalomo Secondary students are divided into 3 groups and each Saturday 1 of the groups comes here to Seven Fountains where we are staying. The students are assigned various tasks for a couple of hours and then they all congregate for buns, juice and a short Bible lesson. It is fun, and lately there have been ‘volunteers’ from the high school who join our sponsored students here at Seven Fountains just to partake in the activities.
A number of college students who are in Year 3 of teacher training are doing their Student Teaching Practicals (STP) at Siabalumbi and Nalabumba. We will be seeing them this week to also take their pictures, deliver your letters and encourage them. It is not easy teaching in a country where resources are as limited as they are here, but more and more we are finding young people who are training to be teachers because they have a passion for children to learn. Thank you Lord.
We are grateful to know each student in the program and we are grateful for Ruhtt Mbumwae who tracks each student’s marks – each term. The students are very important to her.
And thank you to each of you! You make it all possible.