Sister Margaret spoke of how she felt privileged and honoured to be at our meeting and thanked us for the support which we have given to her and her sister colleagues. Sister explained that her community was based in Itezhi Tezhi in Zambia, a remote location close to a dam of the same name in the Kafue National Park – complete with elephants and other wild animals - some 170kms from Lusaka.
It had taken her 3 days to travel from her community to the airport to get a plane to England, The journey is over rough roads which have no respect for vehicles or passengers! Journeys are treacherous, especially if you have an old car such as the Nuns have, it often breaks down or runs out of water – miles from a anywhere which means waiting for passing vehicle which could be many hours!
In Itezhi Tezhi there are 130 children who she is responsible for, they are mainly orphans living with relatives the children come to the school each day.
The school building was built in the mid 1970’s by Italians working on the construction of the dam, they were meant to be temporary accommodation but the Bishop persuaded the government to leave it intact for the nuns to use; it is old and in a state of disrepair and needs many thousands of pounds to bring it to a decent condition; there is no running water and many window are broken.
Whilst education is chargeable, there are many families who cannot pay and "arrangements" have to be made. The overall mission of Sister and her 3 Zambian colleagues is to improve the education of the children whose ages can go from 4 to as high as 15 due to their lack of any earlier chances to go to school.
The nuns also feed the children at least 3 times a week with rice, vegetables and maize – sometimes much like porridge!
The work is challenging but the children do enjoy their time with the sisters, especially the end of term "graduation ceremonies" when they are loaned mortar boards and gowns to show that they have completed another year at school.
The support of the Council and people of the parish is very important to the sisters as it enables them to supplement any income which they receive thereby letting them do more for the children.
We continue to provide Sr Margaret with funds as and when she informs us that it is needed. But we also plan to provide the sisters with a new vehicle, such that they are able to make safe journeys to purchase food and supplies whenever needed. We shall publish more details as we find out more ourselves.Last updated 11.09.2010