Saturday, 29 November 2014

The party must go on!

Despite the lack of electricity following yesterday's severe storms, the farewell party for Chitambo School of Nursing's first intake went ahead by torchlight. Please see these touching photos supplied by Dr.Siame, Medical Officer in charge. Such typical Zambian resilience in the face of adversity!

Friday, 28 November 2014

Freak winds and rain leave Chitambo roofless

Mickey Bailley, Agape Village Orpahange Founder, has shared this alarming news just in from Chitambo:

"After the heavy rains today around 15: 00hrs, some infrastructure at the hospital had roofs blown off. About 5 Chitambo hospital staff houses roofs have been blown off, 1 mother shelter, 2 toilets and the IRT clinic's roofs have been blown off. The DC is still working to see if they can find them alternative places while waiting for their structures to be roofed."

Such freak weather is surely unusual at Chitambo? We understand, from Levi Chifwaila, Senior Nurse Tutor, that it could have been a whirlwind which did it. He managed to say, before his mobile phone died, that there was no electricity and that they were holding a party for the Finalist Students Nurses by candle light.

 We wish them all very well. Indeed, our hearts go out to everyone at Chitambo and we hope that they are safe and no one is hurt. We hope that the structural damage will soon be repaired and that people are not too inconvenienced. At least it is good to hear that the rains have come on schedule? Isn't technology amazing that we can hear this news almost immediately, half way around the world? If only it would also enable us to 'teleport' practical help as quickly!

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Walking in aid of a Chitambo Nurse Training Sholarship

Please help us to raise £500 for another Nurse Training Scholarship at Chitambo School of Nursing, central Zambia. We supported two such scholarships in 2014, for particularly needy student nurses, and we wish to support another two in 2015. With a fresh intake of 47 new students in January, there is plenty of scope. An anonymous donor has already pledged to cover one whole scholarship. Thank you so much to them for their generosity! Here in Scotland, we are fundraising for the second, and our Friends of Chitambo Trustee, Nicola (a former volunteer in western Zambia) has highlighted this brilliant opportunity, a sponsored Christmas run/walk: She, being young and fit, is running it. Others (less fit) will walk it here in Edinburgh, Scotland, on Sunday 7th December, 2014. We are, therefore, approaching you to please sponsor us whatever you can manage. Please see our 'Support Us ' link opposite for payment details or pass the funds to Jo Vallis (Friends of Chitambo Coordinator if you live locally in Penicuik or Edinburgh, Scotland. If you are in Zambia, perhaps you could pass your contributions direct to the Chitambo School of Nursing, or give them to contacts when next you meet? Thank you very much in anticipation of your help. You will be making a big difference. Please kindly pass on this message to anyone you know who could to help.

Chitambo School of Nursing's First Finalists!

It has been all go at Chitambo School of Nursing in recent weeks as First Intake sit their Final Exams! They sat their theory papers on Tuesday and Wednesday 18th and 19th of November and are sitting their practicals this week. We wish them all the very, very best with their exams and results and are hopeful that the Chitambo District, and Zambia as a whole, will soon benefit from this new wave of well qualified Chitambo graduates. Congratualtions to staff and students alike for reaching this historic milestone. We are so proud of you all. A particular thanks to Mr. Levi Chifwaila, Senior Nurse Tutor, for supplying some photos of the students before and after their theory exams. Did you ever see such a smart group of nursing students anywhere? That the school takes its responsibilities very seriously, is apparent in the good-natured checking of students before entering the exam room. Not that anyone would cheat of course but, with youth unemployment high in Zambia, the stakes are certainly very high for everyone concerned.

Ambulance update

Good news from Dr. Mmamulatelo (Telo) Siame, Senior Resident Medical Officer (SMRO) at Chitambo: "Just wanted to update you on the servicing of the vehicle. The vehicle heads out to lusaka tomorrow (20th November 2014) with the driver and officer. We hope the works will be done by Saturday. Will update you further once they are back." She adds that, meantime, work is 'crazy busy' at the hospital.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Agape Village Foundation proposes sponsoring an 'Eye Camp' at Chitambo

 News just in from our Agape Village Foundation Friends, who founded the Chitambo orphanage:

They are also supporting projects at Chitambo Hospital and have proposed an 'Eye Camp' to be held at Chitambo next February.  This would entail an ophthalmologist from the Lusaka eye hospital visiting Chitambo, over several days, to conduct cataract operations and give medical advice to local citizens with eye problems.  

This seems a very valuable proposal and Agape Village Foundation is currently in communication with the local District Director of Health about taking it forward.


Fundraising and finances

We have two pre-Christmas fundraising event in the offing here in Scotland:

Saturday 6th December, Penicuik Christmas Street Fair:  The Penicuk Mayos (Margaret, Gillian and Jo) will be doing their usual stuff, selling various produce in support of Chitambo.  They will be glad of any help they can get with fetching, carrying and hosting 3 stalls.

Sunday 7th December, Christmas Charity Festival:  Our Trustee, Nicola, has proposed this excellent event, which includes sponsored runs and walks:

Nicola has signed up for the run, Jo for the walk (her knees won't permit running these days I'm afraid!).  We hope others will join us.

We are setting up a Just Giving line in the hopes of attracting support towards further projects at Chitambo Hospital and Nurse Training School, including 2 further Nurse Training Scholarships for the 2nd intake, starting in January 2015.

Our Treasurer, Fiona, has created an online accounting system for us, making future transactions and reporting all the easier.  This is despite working around the clock on her day job, and travelling widely. Thank you very much Fiona, for this valuable contribution.  We  are indebted and feel very lucky to have someone of your financial calibre at the helm.

Good news from Chitambo

Despite the sad national news in Zambia, there is good news from Chitambo.  The funds which Friends of Chitambo raised at the Golden Jubilee celebrations here in Scotland, and transferred to Chitambo for maintenance of the Chitambo Centenary Ambulance, have arrived safely.

Dr. Mmamulatelo Siame, or Telo as she kindly invites us to call her, is Chitambo's first ever Zambian lady doctor.  She is, by all accounts, proving popular with the community, and is also a great source of local news to inform our activities.  For example, she has mentioned a recent visit by Christiaan van der Hoeven, son of Dr. Frits van der Hoeven, who served as a doctor at Chitambo from 1972-79 and is a signed up member of Friends of Chitambo.

Christiaan spent his early years at Chitambo and was about 6 years old when the family left.

Apparently he is very willing to join us in Friends of Chitambo and, assuming so, we welcome him with open arms.  What a small and wonderful world we inhabit!

Friends of Chitambo join hands with Zambia in mourning today

Today, Tuesday 11th Novermber 2014 Zambians bury their esteemed, President Michael Chilufya Sata, who died in office in London on Tuesday 28th October 2014.

Here at Friends of Chitambo, we are flying the flag at half mast, as a mark of respect.  Our hearts go out to First Lady Dr. Christine Kaseba Sata and to all her family as well as to all Zambians and Friends of Zambia.

Mutende mukwai, Peace be with you 

Team NZ fly the flag for Zambia at 50!

Our Friend of Chitambo, Dr. Marion Currie/Taylor, pictured in the Scottish/Zambian tartan waistcoat, reports on the flag flying ceremony which she organised in Wanganui, North Island New Zealand:

"Here in little Wanganui, on 24th, we had a Zambian flag-raising ceremony at dawn,  at the District Council chambers,with a saxophonist playing the  Zambian national anthem. The small crowd of people with Zambian connections was invited back to our place for dinner last night and we had a most exuberant evening of swapping stories. One Peter Frost is the son of the DC from Luapula province before independence. Peter went to Lusaka Boys and Kabulonga. He's an ecologist and ornithologist and goes back to Zambia on wildlife trips. He's an amazing fount of knowledge. He insisted on making the nsima and  did it to perfection. The saxophonist, Ken Chernoff has lived in the Borders until recently and is a friend of Norman Chipakupaku's. He and his wife met in Kenya, and Ken played in the Zambian bands, MosiOTunya and Shakarongo. Doug Davidson was born in Mwinilungu of Bretheren missionaries and is the (atheistic!) editor of one of our local papers. Robin Smith, one of the nurses I work with at the hospice, has travelled through Zambia, and worked in Sudan with the peace corps.
With our nsima we had Zambian chicken stew, ifisashi, bobootie and roast pumpkin and sweet potatoes. Dessert was fruit salad  and 'melk tart' with ice cream. It all seemed to go down well.
Afterwards we watched the DVD of our 2008  return trip. Ken had a DVD of his band playing in Scotland but  sadly it wouldn't work on our machine. We talked about having an African festival in Wanganui and there was  great enthusiasm for this. Let's see where this leads."

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Zambian Independence Jubilee Scotland Celebrations: A stunning success

The celebrations were indeed the party of the year.  They lived up to expectations and were a stunning success.

The day began early with around 18 exhibitors setting up their stalls before the opening ceremony at 10.30.  Stalls included both commercial companies and charities/NGOs supporting a mixture of causes: health, education, enterprise etc.

 Friends of Chitambo SCIO had a good vantage point, close to the entrance to the venue and we attracted a steady amount of interest, including generous donations to meet Chitambo's request for help with servicing the Centenary Ambulance.

Our Patron, Julie Davidson, was present at the event and sold copies of her book 'Looking for Mrs. Livingstone' on our stall.  We also had copies of Marion Currie's book, 'Livingstone's Hospital: the Story of Chitambo', on sale alongside a variety of other items.

The Chitambo stall was 'manned' by a team of 7 Friends of Chitambo including Jo Vallis, Margaret Coull, Bea Chitambo (visiting from Leicester), Charlotte Mitchell, Nicola Boyle, Agnes Ngulube Holmes, and Mr. Chola Mwelwa (visiting from Chesterfield) (See photo of Team Chitambo below).  All these volunteers gave their time willingly, selling items and encouraging donations.  In addition, Mr. Mwelwa 'worked' the crowd with our donations bucket and the ultimate result was well over £300 pounds towards the requested ambulance maintenance.

L-R: Julie Davidson (Patron), Margaret Coull, Jo Vallis, Charlotte Mitchell, Bea Chitambo,
Nicola Boyle, Agnes Hgulube Holmes, Chola Mwelwa
We have been in direct contact with Dr. Siame, Chitambo's new (lady) Doctor-in-Charge and have passed on the good news that we are able to forward the requested amount for the ambulance repairs (£1,250) in full.

Alongside the exhibitions, were samples of the 30 Memorial scarves designed by Heriot-Watt textile students (Pictured).

The designer of the winning scarf and the 2 runners up were present to receive their awards (see photo) at the Opening Ceremony.

This took place at 10.30,  in the main Auditorium for the Opening Ceremony, and  included keynote speeches by key Zambian and Scottish political figures.  Please see the following YouTube links.   Friends of Chitambo even gets a mention in Dr. Kaunda's speech:

DR GUY SCOTT - Message To Zambia's Independence Celebrations in Scotland

Dr Kenneth Kaunda: Dr Kenneth Kaunda - Message To Zambia's Independence Celebrations in Scotland

Humza Yousaf MSP: Humza Yousaf MSP - Message To Zambia's Independence Celebrations in Scotland

After a truly Zambian lunch of nshima and many great delicacies, there were Workshops on Health, Education and Enterprise.  The  Health Workshop was also a success, with 7 specific suggestions raised for contributing to improving Zambia's health at 50.  These included, for example, exploring ways to:

  • Improve coordination between external health groups and the Zambian Government
  • Strengthen relationships between the Zambian Diaspora in Scotland and elsewhere and health contacts in Zambia
  • Make mobile health (mHealth) technologies more readily available an affordable to Zambian health workers

A more detailed summary will be posted in due course.

After a very stimulating day, we retreated to ready ourselves for the evening Dinner.  This was a wonderful event, heralded by both African drummers and Scottish pipers.  However, the greatest highlight was the  Mthunzi Culture Group, a youth group visiting from Zambia, which provided a stunning display of music and dancing (see photos).  They really stole the show. 

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Scotland Celebrates Zambia at 50!

We are ready for you and it's not too late to book your place: 
There's a packed programme, including a health Workshop 
featuring top Zambian doctors talking on challenges and opportunities in Zambian healthcare at 50.  This is followed by an Indaba (discussion) about what the Zambian Diaspora 
and Friends of Zambia could usefully contribute.  We hope to come up with one or two specific initiatives to follow up.
Questions for you:

1) How can external Development groups better coordinate 
with the Zambian Government on healthcare delivery on the ground?
2) Is a health insurance system the best way forward in terms of funding Zambian healthcare?  What would that mean for the poorest elements of society, such as in remote Chitambo District villages? Please comment.  We'd love to hear from you.

Chitambo's Centernery Ambulance is in urgent need of help

The Toyota Landcruiser ambulance donated to Chitambo as a Centenary gift, in 2008, is said to have made a real difference  in terms of getting people to hospital more quickly, in case of emergency, and saving lives.  However, 'she' is not getting any younger and our Chitambo partners report that 'she' is now in need of repairs amounting to 12,500 Kwachas or around £1,250.  This more than the hospital can afford.  The ambulance has been lovingly nurtured by the local driver mechanics, who have kept her going despite the  long distances and rugged terrain involved.  They would like to keep her going as long as possible but, although the Zambian Government contributes a certain amount  to ambulance servicing, it is never enough.

One of our stated goals, within Friends of Chitambo, is to help to support  maintenance of this ambulance.  Reasons for this are not hard to see if  you watch this short Vimeo video from Pulse, an organisation which supports better access to maternal and child healthcare in Uganda and Zambia (

Village Ambulances, pulled by bicycles or motor bikes, are certainly valuable and, as the video shows, they can save lives.  However, how much more so a 'healthy' motor vehicle which can transport an expectant mother, sick child, trauma victim or other emergency case rapidly to hospital?

Dr. Siame, Medical Officer in Charge at Chitambo, has forwarded the following breakdown of costs:
  • Servicing of Injector Pumps..............................................£650
  • Fuel to the capital and back..............................................£180
  • Labour..............................................................................£76
  • Driver's allowance (3 days)...............................................£135
Full Servicing, including:
  • Oil change.......................................................................£54
  • New diesel filter/air cleaner...........................................£40
  • New oil filter...................................................................£40
  • Stabiliser Rubbers...........................................................£50
TOTAL: …................................................................................£2,500

Friends of Chitambo is covering the top 4 (£1,041)

We need your help to raise the remaining £184


To make a donation, please see our Donations Page on this site, under Support Us.  
Thank you in anticipation of your help.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Chitambo has new doctors

News just in from Chitambo is that, there are 2 new doctors.  It will be the first time in many years that the hospital has 2 doctors.  They are a dynamic young husband and wife couple, by all accounts, who have recently re-located from the capital.  They will undoubtedly have many up-to-date skills to share with Chitambo's rual community and we wish them very well in this lap of their careers.  Contributing to improvement of rural health care is a very worthy cause, especially when it is our special Chitambo.

We will, of course, miss Dr. Jean-Paul Kandolo Nzinga, who has dedicated himself to rural healthcare at Chitambo for the past 6 or 8 years.  However, we wish him very well in his new post in Kabwe, where he will undoubtedly be just as much of an asset.

Friday, 12 September 2014

1st AGM - Chair's Report and Presentation

Many thanks to Dr Jo Vallis, our Chair, who led us through our very first AGM on Sunday 7th September 2014.  

She started with a wonderfully personalised presentation, outlining the Friends of Chitambo's journey from David Livingstone, through her childhood at Chitambo, to Penicuik for Africa, up til today.  Then we spent time looking forward to discuss where we go from here and how best we might direct our efforts to support those at Chitambo itself. 

You can click below to view the presentation and read the Chair's Report here. (The Treasurer's report is available on application).


Thursday, 11 September 2014

Zambia Independen​ce Jubilee Celebratio​ns Scotland, 2014: Celebratio​n Scarf

Zambia Independen​ce Jubilee Celebratio​ns Scotland, 2014: Celebratio​n Scarf

Created by a student (pictured) at Heriot-Watt University, Scotland, to honour Zambia's 50th birthday.  The scarf will be on sale at the Independence celebrations (Sat 18th October 2014).  

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Penicuik Street Fair: 23rd August 2014

It was mixed weather but it stayed mostly dry and we managed to make a reasonable amount to make it all worthwhile.  fantastic contributions, as usual, from Margaret and Gillian...home baking and a children's lucky dip proving particularly popular.  The raffle was also popular, with many quality prizes, including hampers, fancy cushions, toiletries, CDs of African music, and..a star prize, a copy of our very own Patron (Julie Davidson)'s book, "Looking for Mrs. Livingstone":

However, it was our Trustee, Ba Agnes Ngulube Holmes, who really stole the show with her glorious Zambian crafts and materials.  These drew people like bees to the honey pot and it's amazing how many Penicuik people with Zambian connections we discovered.  Agnes was interviewed for the Midlothian Advertiser, including being photographed alongside our Friends of Chitambo banner (pictured).

Jo Vallis was also interviewed for our local Radio Crystal radio station and told about the historical connections between Scotland and Chitambo, where David Livingstone died.

She also managed to make a plug for our first AGM on  Sunday 7th September, 2 pm (UK time), Community Room, Penicuik, Library:
Options also to join us by Skype.  Please contact Jo for further information.

Scotland and Zambia Strengthen Healthcare Ties

Our poster, "Scotland and Zambia strengthen healthcare knowledge exchange ties", was presented at the NHSScotland Event, Glasgow, June 2014:

It will again be presented at the THET Annual Conference, in Birmingham (25-26th September 2014:

And it will also be shown, alongside the Friends of Chitambo SCIO stall, at the Zambian Independence Jubilee Scotland event, at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, 18th October 2014. Book now to ensure your place at this most historic event:

View our poster here:

 It seems that the Scottish and Zambian Governments are now set to join forces on strengthening healthcare ties.  See this article in the Zambian press, following on from the Vice President Honourable Dr. Guy Scott's recent visit to Scotland, for the Commonwealth Games:

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Just Festival at St. John's Church, Edinburgh 5th-30th August 2014

You might be interested to see this NIDOS exhibition, which features Chitambo as one of the Health Case Studies

It's on show at the Just Festival at St. John's Church, West End of Princes St., 5th-30th August 2014.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Friends of Chitambo News - Issue 5

Access the latest packed issue of Friends of Chitambo News here. 
(Archive issues are all here).

You can read all about the recent achievements of several individual Friends, learn more about others, both old and new.  

You can also read about recent events, note the dates for your diary for future activities, and learn about how we are growing our membership and developing our ability to support genuine and positive change for those at Chitambo.

Let us know what you think, and any suggestions for future events and issues are always welcome! 

Chitambo School of Nursing 2nd Student Intake

Tutorial staff at Chitambo School of Nursing  have been working flat out over the past 2 weeks, on interviewing potential candidates for the 2nd student intake.  Interviewing has now closed and news just in  is that over 700 candidates were interviewed for 40 available places.  Who will be the lucky ones with a place at our special school?      

Friends of Chitambo SCIO Annual General Meeting

Our first Annual General Meeting (AGM) takes place on: 

Sunday 7th September 2014, 2 pm UK time
At The Community Room, The Library at the Penicuik Centre, Carlops Road, PENICUIK, MIDLOTHIAN, EH26 9PE: 

Everyone is most welcome.  Please come and hear about the remarkable progress which we have made in our first short year.  We look forward very much to joining with you on the day, either in person or virtually, by Skype if possible. 

Contact Jo Vallis (Coordinator) for more information:
She will be delighted to help.

Ever forward in the name of Friendship!

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Zambian Vice President's visit to Scotland

Exciting news! Friend of Chitambo, Dr Jo Vallis, met Dr Guy Scott, the Vice President of Zambia during his current visit to Glasgow.  She reports that she was able to hand over a copy of Marion Currie/Taylor's book 'Livingstone's Hospital: the Story of Chitambo'.

Dr Jo Vallis presenting Hon Dr Guy Scott 
with a copy of Marion Currie's book
"Livingstone's Hospital: the Story of Chitambo"

Monday, 30 June 2014

Zambian Independence Celebration Coffee Morning - 19th July 2014

Come and join in these local events as part of the Zambian Independence Celebrations, Scotland 2014.

Sat. 19th July, 10.30-13.00, South Leith Church - Coffee Morning
Sat 26th July, Letham Park, Ferry Road, Edinburgh - Barbecue Evening
Sat 2nd Aug, 1000 - 1200, David Livingstone Centre, Blantyre.

For more information visit this facebook page . 

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Coffee, Cakes & Chitambo - Saturday 7 June 2014 >

Coffee, Cakes & Chitambo
Saturday 7 June 2014 • 2.00 - 4.00 pm
Howgate Church, near Penicuik
Event Poster

Friends of Chitambo,
(formerly a Church of Scotland Mission,
a memorial to Dr David Livingstone)
invite you to meet their patron Julie Davidson,
award-winning travel writer and journalist.

Julie has travelled extensively in southern Africa on the trail of David Livingstone’s wife, Mary.

This is your chance to hear about Julie’s adventures and researches which led to the recent publication of her book
Looking for Mrs Livingstone”.

Copies of Julie’s book will be on sale along with Marion Currie’s
Livingstone’s Hospital, The Story of Chitambo.

Enjoy a light refreshment and cake whilst you discover the amazing things that are happening at Chitambo in Zambia today - in no small part due to support from in and around Penicuik.

All welcome
Saturday 7 June 2014 • 2.00 - 4.00 pm
Howgate Church, near Penicuik
(car park entrance on Leadburn side beyond church)

Donations welcome in support of Chitambo Hospital
For more information contact: Janet Knox 0131 654 2296
Friends of Chitambo is a registered charity No: SCO44337