Monday, October 12, 2015

Adjusting to life in Lusaka and beginning school visits

I arrived here in Lusaka Thursday evening.  Dr. Chilenje and Nancy Collins were at the airport to welcome me.  Nancy is the mission co-worker for PCUSA will be my host during the coming weeks.  Bob and I have stayed with her on many occasions in the past.  Nancy lives on the campus of Justo Mwale University, a theological seminary.

The weather this week has been fairly typical for this time of year.  The temperatures reach into the 90s and cool down a bit in the evenings.  Nancy’s house takes awhile to cool off so it can be in the 90s inside her house until late in the evening.  I avoid going outside once the sun goes down even though it is a bit cooler, due to the mosquitoes. 

Since Zambia relies on the force of its great rivers to supply hydro-electric power to the county, when there is a shortage of rain there is a shortage of electricity.  Zambia has been experiencing a drought for a while now so Lusaka is participating in “power shedding,” or rolling blackouts. Life revolves around the power schedule which the power company posts on their website.  The power is generally out for 8 hours at a time each day.  The time varies depending on the day.  It can be during the day, evening or night.  There is also a time everyday when the water is turned off.  Therefore some planning is involved before taking a shower, washing dishes, doing laundry etc.  This also means access to the internet and for me, the outside world, is limited. 
Yesterday I went to the Mtendere church where my friend Rev. Gerald Phiri is the pastor.  
I was honored to witness the instillation of my friend Mabuchi who will be overseeing the community schools and the Strengthening Children groups for all of CCAP.  Mabuchi replaces Kondwani Nkhoma who passed away in June.  Mtendere is in the process of completing their new church building.  From the photo you can see they are waiting for the metal sheeting for the roof.  The service took place on what is left of their old building (now just a cement slab).  This will serve as the foundation for their new school building. This photo below shows some of the teachers with the blocks that will be used in the building.

Today began visits to the CCAP schools in Lusaka.  I went back to Mtendere to visit classrooms.  The teachers in the photo below are posing with blocks that will be The teachers who have attended trainings in the past were utilizing strategies they have been taught.  The new teachers however could benefit from training.  The grade one students were sharing their answers while the grade 5 teacher checked to make sure the students understood the math.

Finally, I was honored to help Dr. Chilenje, a distinguished professor at Justo Mwale University with his homework on education and teaching.  I found it rather humorous that I would be helping him.  He seemed to appreciate it.


  1. Machelle,

    As we read through this together this evening, I was filled with excitement and a longing for our time back in April. You are going to make such a difference working with the teachers there! Your understanding of the culture, the people, and the education system are the perfect trifecta for affecting positive change. I wonder if you feel a luxury of time given our last efforts there were fairly intensive for the short amount of time we spent with teachers. Congratulations to Mabuchi! She will make a wonderful leader of those programs. I wish we could easily join you and support your work. Know we are supporting it here through prayers.

    Have you seen Febi or the other teachers we worked with? We are curious if you can see if the building blocks from our teacher training are visible and effective.

    Please say hello to Dr. Chilenje from David. Take care, Brenda and David

  2. Dear Machelle, Through Nancy we received your name regarding the work you will be doing in Kachere. Our church (UPC of Millstone Township in New Jersey) has sponsored the well in Kachere which is finally ready to operate. We are very excited for Kachere and would love to get any photos you can provide of Kachere to show to the congregation. Sincerely, Anne Haines, Mission Team Leader for UPCM