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."