nearly the end of a second year at school

Wow time flies. It’s a year since I posted almost. The last post I did was indeed quite dark! They were strange times for us all with the cholera and the drought. The harvest was dreadful as we expected and in two weeks I’ll return to wells running dry because the water table wasn’t replenished during the last rainy season. We’ll see what this year brings but it looks like climate change is happening, and the rainy season comes later and later.

St Francis Hospital

I got ill myself after the previous post and was hospitalised in the little mission hospital nearby. We thought it was malaria; the tests were negative but oh my I was in a bad way. They don’t have nurses to look after you so a family member comes and sits by the bed and attends to any needs. Alice (Ketty’s mum) came, bless her, and dealt with me lying vomiting on the floor and generally being a very sick person! Once I was a bit better I made some more new friends because being the only white guy there, everyone wants to talk to you. Though obviously not while you’re vomiting.

Ketty has had a relatively uneventful year, though our language is not yet good enough for her to share her adventures so I rely on her mum to keep me updated. She goes to visit twice a term and

Ketty at Magwero school with her mum Alice, and Rachel

last time two of my good friends, Rachel and Catherine, went also. Ketty turned 9 a couple of months back. She was 6 when I first met her but she still has the same joy of life. There’s a video below, with the short clip I put in a post last year but some more stuff that gives you an idea of what the NGO, Tiko Lodge, looks like. This is where I first stayed and met Ketty, as her mum Alice runs housekeeping there, and sometimes the kitchen. Ketty has obviously been watching some kung fu movie or something (they have electricity now in the house and a little tv they were given). I guess she’s been watching MTV also, judging by the extravagant gestures as she sings to me from the swing, and in the garden as I’m watering the plants. She is so full of life, what a joy she is to be around.

I’ll tell more when I get over to Zambia, in just over 2 weeks now. This time I fly Kenya Airways via Nairobi, and Alice is excited because she’s coming to Lusaka to meet me off the plane. Cool. Ketty’s still at school so she can’t come but I’ll go and pick her up for the long christmas holiday a few days after I arrive.

 

A very special school….

This year the rains have been good. Very good. The road that I described last time as looking like the road to paradise is even more so; verdant wetlands bordering a lake, big fields of maize every so often, and all framed by the towering wooded hills that bring the rain clouds. It looks like how you imagine a tropical country to be.

This last stage of the trip along the winding dirt road, Ketty’s eyes are shining; I look round at her and she gives me a big smile and both thumbs up. Excited. The generosity and kindness from all of you who’ve donated has led to this moment. Our heartfelt thanks once again. I can’t give you the first hand feeling of this delightful adventure, but I can give you some pictures, below.

Nora, the principal of Magwero school for the deaf greets us with a hug; everyone here is soft, kind. Gentle people. Ketty has her hand in mine as we wait to pay the fees, a father of another small first-time deaf girl asks me, ‘are you her father? ‘ Quite funny when you see how black Ketty is and how white me!! I laugh, ‘no, but I wish I was, it would make me very proud’.

The house ‘mother’ who will look after the 9 little girls who are here to learn sign language in this first year, before starting the academic year 1 ‘proper’, signs to the older girls to help Ketty with her things in the dormitory, then all too soon she takes Ketty kindly but firmly, waves goodbye to us, gestures Ketty to do the same (her experience says no prolonged farewells), then turns with her and walks off.