Ed's Blog

Ed Stacey is a PEPAIDS volunteer who is part of the team helping to set up our Growing Futures project. In early November 2013 he headed out to Zambia to meet up with SAPEP and finalise our plans for Growing Futures. Ed, who lives in Oxfordshire, has been volunteering with PEPAIDS since September 2013 and hopes to go into a career in International Development after working with PEPAIDS. Ed has been helping bring the best that SAPEP and PEPAIDS have to offer together on this project and will keep us up to date with regular reports of his trip and the work he is doing on this page.

Thursday the 14th November

Today was the start of our meetings with communities in the Mazabuka district. In the morning we visited Mabanze and in the afternoon Maunga. The Maunga district was particularly enthusiastic about our plans for Growing Futures and they showed it by appearing with the greatest range of stakeholders present in any meeting, we even had a counsellor present who will now take our plans up to regional counsel meetings and inform them of the work we are doing. After the meeting we sat and ate with him, he regularly attends very local level meetings with the community and it was great to see how positive he was about our project.



Left picture: Wilson, far left, starts the meeting at the Mabanze community school. He explains how Growing Futures builds on top of our previous work in the area and how all of our projects support each other and the community.

Right picture: Here is the Maunga community meeting, I am on the far left hand side and the district counsellor is the seventh from the right in the beige chequered shirt. What I really like about him is that you cannot, by the way he dresses, tell him apart from others at the meeting. After all, how can you represent the community if you are not one of the community?


Wednesday 13th of November

Today we visited the last of the Monze district communities in a place called St Patricks. This community have already created an incredibly detailed list of vulnerable children, with a little work it will contain all of the information that we need in order to run the camps. We have now visited all 4 of the Monze district communities and it is safe to say that they cannot wait for Growing Futures to get started around March and April next year.


Here Wilson looks through the lists and shows the member of the St Patricks community what other information we need and how we want it to be displayed.


Tuesday the 12th of November

Today we continued our tour of the Growing Futures communities and visited both Chisila and Kafwe-fwe. The meetings went really well and the communities are incredibly enthusiastic about the lessons we want to teach the children on the camps. What is really fantastic to see is the village headmen taking responsibility for the development within their communities and encouraging people help them move the rural areas forward. There is such a tremendous sense of hope on everyone's face when you talk about where they want to be in the future.


Members of the Chisila community are told the details of Growing Futures by Oliver, the project leader in the Monze area. Now we have informed them of the details that are required they can get to work producing a list of vulnerable children in the area.


Monday the 11th of November

After spending the weekend at Nina's farm I was dropped back off at Wilson's house so that we could head off to the Mujika Community School where we were meeting important stakeholders. This community is one of 7 we hope to work with next year during the Growing Futures project, we are visiting the others throughout the week starting with those in the Monze area and finishing around Mazabuka.


Pictured here are the SAPEP team (Oliver in the white SAPEP t-shirt and Wilson kneeling down) with the key members of the Mujika community in front of the Mujika community school which was a part of our Schools of Good Hope project.


Friday the 8th of November

Today SAPEP and I held our second meeting, it followed up where we left off in the last meeting and once again I took A LOT of notes! We started off looking at the budget, monitoring and evaluation of the OVC camps and making sure that we were happy with it all. Once this was done we looked at the next stage of the Growing Futures project; this part aims to help orphans and vulnerable children through strengthening the financial situations of the families that care for them. We plan to introduce, where appropriate, a range of different Income Generating Activities (IGAs) such as bee-keeping, increased vegetable production and herbal-product production. The meeting, like the previous one, was held at Nina's farm and this was where I was going to spend the weekend so once the meeting was finished Wilson, Oliver and Kenneth headed home and I got settled in.



Thursday the 7th of November

This morning Wilson and I took Sandra and another patient to the Hospital in Monze for their chemotherapy treatment. Once we had dropped them off the two of us headed for a meeting with community stakeholders and representatives from the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme), Wilson is one of the stakeholders being consulted on a proposed project involving tree planting. Sadly the project needed more work before it could receive the go-ahead from the UNDP, it had been several years since the application was made and so several aspects will need to be revisited. By this time it was late morning and we headed back to the hospital to see if the chemotherapy treatment was complete. When we arrived we discovered that the staff had been unable to give Sandra her treatment due to the fact that they couldn't find a suitable vein. On one hand the treatment is delayed but on the other Sandra has got a bit of respite until next week. We waited at the hospital for the other patient we brought to finish her treatment and then drove back to Wilson's house.

Later that afternoon Wilson's son Baldwin arrived, along with around 20 children and another teacher from the primary school that he teaches at. The students were a mixture of reception, grade 1 and grade 2 and this afternoon they were practicing for an end of year performance. Once they had all gotten over the "Muzungu! Muzungu!" (white man) reaction, which by the way I am becoming quite blasé about now, they were happy to let me sit there and watch. I was pretty impressed but couldn't help but laugh as Teacher Baldwin shook his head in exasperation as the children aimlessly wandered around and bumped into each other.


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