News from Zambia

Lubasi Home developments.

We have received some news from Mrs Sarah Bramble (expedition coordinator), who is our link with Lubasi Home in Zambia, for which we raised the wonderful sum of £1,400 earlier in the year.  This is what she has to tell us:

‘It was a very exciting meeting of St Augustine students, their parents and staff on a bright Saturday morning back in February when we discussed all the final details for the first school visit to Livingstone, to take off in July. Little did we realise at the time how plans would be impacted by Corona virus.

The very good news is that £1,400 of fundraised money from all the efforts of the St Augustine’s Priory community was wired to Lubasi Home at the beginning of June. This urgently needed sum was spent on renovating bathrooms, showers and toilets in the Home to comply with Health Inspection legislation – which they had repeatedly failed. A team of local men have done a fantastic job to improve the facilities for children and staff. In a time of Covid-19 maintaining good health and hygiene is of paramount importance, as I am certain you can also relate to. The guys also did a basic repair on a dormitory roof to try and stop leaking before the October rains arrive.  The outside meeting shelters also received a very bright coat of paint inside and out. Due to the pandemic the 40+ resident children didn’t attend school during the summer so the shelters are where outside activities are held throughout the day – out of the strong sun, even though it’s winter in Zambia. Only those in exam classes were allowed to attend school.

I have put together before and after photos for you to see the tangible impact your efforts to fundraise have been. Sister Paulina, the nun who runs Lubasi, has been in frequent communication with photos and videos explaining daily life at the Home. They are all MASSIVELY appreciative of the ongoing support you are providing. Please keep up your efforts to fundraise as there are still lots of ongoing repairs and renovations which are needed at Lubasi and its sister Lushomo Home. These two Homes and Grace Centre in neighbouring Kazungula receive virtually no funding from government and aren’t well known to worldwide charities. The current pandemic has resulted in more children needing the shelter of these caring homes. Money raised by the St Augustine’s Priory community may be directed at also paying school fees, buying uniforms and school materials – none of this is free in Livingstone, even in state run schools, and the children can’t attend unless Lubasi and Lushomo Homes fund these daily costs.

Just as much as it is true here in the UK in Livingstone there is lots of positivity, resilience and resourcefulness arising from the challenges which the pandemic has wrought. Beyond their control is the sad reality that the price of everything including food, clothing and general goods has skyrocketed in Zambia because the local currency, Kwacha, has massively depreciated in value. Imported food is brought into the country and set against the US $, making everything even more expensive than usual.

A ‘warning’ before you look at these photos: the heat and humidity in Zambia causes havoc with any decoration/paintwork and the sad state of bathroom/shower/toilet facilities is an indication of how little money is otherwise available for the Home to spend beyond daily feeding, clothing, paying school fees, utility bills and staffing costs. There is a wonderful spirit of love and support at Lubasi and Lushomo Homes amongst all the children and carers, but what we take for granted here in the UK is not so easily accessible in Livingstone. The whole St Augustine’s Priory community is daily in the prayers and thanksgiving of all at Lubasi Home, in appreciation of the support you are extending to them: “….always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else…” Thessalonians 5:15.

The repair team working at Lubasi Home: before and after photos of the toilets, showers, bathrooms. Assembled materials bought with SAP fundraised money. Evidence of a leaking dormitory ceiling – repair of the roof took place before the ceiling was repainted. Old taps, shower heads and toilet seats were also replaced. Concrete floors have been re-laid and sealed against insects destroying it!

Prayers during the pandemic (spotted on a sign):

May we who have to cancel our trips, remember those with no place to go.

As fear grips our country let us choose love.

May we who settle for quarantine at home, remember those who have no home.

During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other let us find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbour.

Maize being grown in Lubasi Home vegetable garden. Once dried and ground it is boiled to make nshima – a daily staple food in Zambia/Africa.

The children have also been learning to grow green vegetables, rather like spinach, to eat and also sell in the local Maramba market – to generate some money.

Mango trees (fruit in September) and climbing fruit. Chicken houses in the background. Eggs and chickens are eaten by children/staff and sold at the market – also improving their business skills.

‘Greens’ boiled, with onions and tomatoes, to be eaten with nshima. Great self sufficency skills for everyone to learn, especially in times of Covid-19. The grounds are very productive, with care and attention.

Two ‘shelters’ in the grounds of Lubasi Home – both had a bright coat of paint inside and out. Children do their homework here, play games and socialise with each other and the Aunties (who care for them).

Some of the children and the Aunties about to have supper in the main dining/meeting room – it was a celebration meal with the Trustees of Lubasi & Lushomo Homes. Similarly to UK all have been provided with/wearing face masks when inside.’