I am currently in Zambia visiting The Butterfly Tree projects. The temperature is 38 degrees and rising as the rainy season approaches. Not a drop of rain has fallen for almost six months and the earth is parched, the rivers are low and the streams have run dry. Earlier in the week, accompanied by Mupotola, the secretary to The Butterfly Tree in Zambia, I drove to the Nyawa Chiefdom. The village we were aiming for was Muchimbale, 100 kilometers to Zimba then a further 36 kilometers into the bush.
Muchimbale has a small community school where children previously had to walk 5 kilometers every day to fetch water, which took 3 hours out of their time table. Thanks to a generous donor the school now has its own bore hole and it certainly was a joyful sight to see the children pumping and drinking safe clean water. In addition this donor has funded two double latrines for the pupils. In the same Chiefdom we have installed a bore hole at Kauwe Basic School through Just a Drop’s donor Epsom College. A third bore hole has been donated by Attraction Tickets Direct. Unfortunately, as yet, we have not been able to source water at Kanimbwa School. Such are the challenges when working in these remote communities.
Heading towards the Botswana border I drove with Martin, our ground operation’s manager, to Mambova to check on the women’s shelter we have constructed at the clinic. This is for women who live in outreach villages to come and stay at the clinic prior to labour, ensuring a much safer place to deliver infants. After donating some bandages and dressing, which I gave to the resident nurse, I drove to River View Basic School where we recently completed a special education unit, kindly donated by the employees at ENRC Marketing AG, Zurich. This will open at the start of the new school year in January when thirty children, who had previously never attended school, can be taught by trained government teachers. In the meantime mainstream pupils are using it to prepare for examinations as their existing classroom is a tent.
With only one week left before I fly back to the UK much has still to be done. The official opening of the new clinic at Mahalulu, the orphan sponsorship to update, mosquito nets to distribute thanks to Saga’s support to our malaria prevention programme and text books to buy. Most schools lack text books with some classes having only one to share among 60 pupils. At times the need is so overwhelming, but the progress we are making in the Kazungula District is considerable. During a recent survey on the Mukuni Chiefdom made possible by USAID and Share, The Butterfly Tree came out on top as the best contributor! Our work has now spread to the Chiefdoms of Musokotwane, Nyawa and Sikute.