Thursday, 13 March 2014

Multiply Zambia 2014 Day Eight - Wednesday

I found I woke up fresh and early.  My body clock has adjusted!  I sat outside on the porch that leads to the Lodge reception, and assembled my thoughts and notes for the day's conference presentations.  The birdsong was noisy and raucous (pied crows) rather than tuneful.  Bishop Stanford arrived on time to take us to the PCM Central Church.  The temperature according to my phone weather widget was 24C; so far Malawi seems a few degrees sunnier than Zambia all round.

Walking through the door, rather unsociably focussed on set-up, I found that their projection arrangement was two projectors suspended from the ceiling lighting two very high and quite small screens.  To make this work I'd need to run the Powerpoints from a USB stick plugged into a computer in the techie room at the back of the hall: far from ideal.  Moses, the techie assistant trying to help apologised that no-one was around who could operate this, so we'd have to fire our own projector at one of the screens.  Mercifully there was a six feet high stand lurking at the back of the hall - obviously designed for the previous generation of equipment - and that worked fine (although precariously).  Moses also did most of the interpreting - a resourceful guy.

The sessions went well, and Len took the whole afternoon leading the delegates through group work on servant leadership.  Lunch was a generous spread of rice, nsima, beef, fish and chicken, followed with bananas.  I managed to ring Mary, who said yesterday's hospital appointment had gone okay.  I got through to Hannah, too, who'd come up with an allergic reaction to an insect bite and had been for a couple of injections.  I also exchanged texts with Jimmie about his impending trip to Livingstone and Victoria Falls.  I couldn't resist one last call to Mary's brother, Tony, who'd been here in November with Gail visiting an aid project that his church in Bath regularly partners. 

Later, Harold introduced his wife, Grace.  There were few ladies there, which I understand is a carry-over from years of a seriously oppressive regime here.  Driving us home, Bishop S made a couple of very astute observations about the teaching.  He'd obviously been listening carefully.

Farayi had spent the afternoon visiting the project that Kings Church is undertaking in September.  He described, at dinnertime, how he'd witnesses a group of eight- and nine-year-old lads stoning a dog round the back of the church premises.  I got an hour updating teaching material on 'contributory culture' as church business have featured in the questions from the delegates.  I hope the event doesn't turn into one long blag for funding, borne of a victim mentality.  40% of Malawi's gross domestic income comes from overseas aid.  The whole point of teaching about self-sufficiency from 1 Thessalonians 4 is to infuse the church with a different mindset.  And there's been a public outcry about corruption in Joyce Banda's administration.  In fact the hot topic of conversation is the elections coming up in May. 

We're scratching where it itches with our input.

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