Greetings from sunny Eden Farm! We have off course lovely sunny day but surprisingly really cold nights!
The new baby, Christian, is doing well, nearly 6 weeks old and taking an interest in his surroundings. It’s hard work looking after a baby’s needs with no hot water on tap and all the washing done by hand but Mich and Bea are really doing a good job sharing the load and trying to get enough sleep!
I’ve already been here a week, it has flown by.
I’m sitting I the truck having returned from a morning session with the Nurture group. The ladies look well and are excited by the new building that is rising before their eyes.
Yesterday Michael introduced the training for the project to go out to the community under government guidelines to identify children at risk. As well as helping collate this vital information the ladies are also visiting the clinic at the hospital talking to newly diagnosed HIV+ patients.
The new statistics for the Chingola area mean that there are over 48,000 people with HIV+ status. This is a shocking growth and accounted for mainly in the younger generation. Prayer is really needed that education can reach the vulnerable in a meaningful way to stop this appalling increase.
On the farm the groundnuts and the maize have been harvested. The bush fires began at the weekend so we are happy to have got all the maize in from the furthest fields. The children helped with the last of the groundnuts on Saturday and although it is quite arduous work they were cheerful and laughing together as they worked. Right now the farmworker are busy ‘grating’ the maize cobs to remove the kernels for storage.
The electrician came for a day on Saturday for work on the lodge and the interior painting is progressing well.
Yesterday Michael and I delivered the wheelchair kindly donated by STOP AND LOVE (thank you Olivia) to Catherine. You cannot imagine the pure delight of the whole family when we arrived and said why we were there. It was so moving to see the excitement and to imagine what a huge difference the gift was going to make to Catherine and the family. When we left Catherine and her sisters had already set out laughing and giggling on an adventure down the road which was bringing neighbours and friends out to see this extraordinary happening.
“Does anyone fancy doing a mud run and obstacle course?” said someone at the exercise class I attend at my local gym. It sounded like a bit of fun, so I said I might be interested. However, when I googled The Nuts Challenge, I realised that it was going to be much more than a bit of fun. That was when I decided that, if I was going to do it, it would be for charity – and the one closest to my heart is Life Support. I bullied another classmate into being my race buddy, and was delighted when she too decided to do the run for Life Support.
Having signed up and paid the race fees, we decided that, in addition to just getting fitter, we needed to get some practice in actually coping with the obstacles, so in June we attended a training session, which we thoroughly enjoyed. But the instructor did warn us that conditions would be very different on race day, when 2400 people take part, with staged starts every 20 minutes.
We had enjoyed a fabulous summer and we thought the mud would not be as challenging as it might have been. Wrong! For 7 days before the race, it rained every day and we knew it was going to be very slippery underfoot. We just prayed it wouldn’t be raining on the day.
Praise God that race day (30 August) dawned bright and sunny and the weather was perfect. We arrived at the race site (near Henfold Lakes, in Beare Green) in plenty of time and soon got into the spirit of the day. We got our race numbers (which we had to wear on the front of our tops) and also number recognition tattoos which had to be strategically placed in case our large number came unstuck and fell off (which mine did!) And we had timer tags which we had to attach to our shoes. I just hoped that my trainers would not be sucked off in the mud, because we had to pay a penalty if we failed to hand our tag in at the end!
Eventually it was time for our warm up and start and we were off! The course covers about 7km and there are around 100 obstacles all together, ranging from climbing over tree trunks and farm gates to sliding down fireman’s poles, crawling through tunnels and, of course, lots of water and mud.
We walked a lot of the way because it was so treacherous underfoot. The atmosphere on the course was fantastic; everyone was helping one another out of ditches and over muddy banks. We just laughed the whole way round, at ourselves and at others.
We were quite relieved when we realised the finish line was in sight, but the course veered off and we had to tackle another 3 or 4 obstacles, including wading, chest-deep, across a lake before we eventually ran up the home straight. Our tags were cut off, we were given a foil blanket and then our medals! We were both very proud that we had stepped out of our comfort zone and completed the course.
The money is still coming in but I think that we will have raised around £1600 (including gift aid) – maybe a little more. But I appreciate that my running around in mud would not benefit the kids at Eden Farm without the generous support and sponsorship I have received from so many colleagues and friends – and I am truly grateful to each and every one.
And would I do it again? Not on your life! 🙂 Val x
If you have visited Eden Farm then chances are you will know Michael and his role on Eden Farm! What would we do without him! Earlier this month Nathanael flew out to Zambia for the wedding of Michael and the lovely Beatrice! Beatrice is 22, she has just finished her teachers training and got distinction for Supervisors observation. She is now awaiting her government placement. She has lots of sisters (5 I think) and 2 brothers. Her family and friends all came to help clean and paint farm house before the wedding. Beatrice works very hard and loves the children on the farm and really supportive of Michael. We wish you both an amazing life together and are so pleased you are part of Eden Farm.
Well I am not sure where the last two weeks went but the team from Kingham School have come and gone already! So now I just have two further weeks and I am hoping they don’t fly by quite so fast.
The group’s arrival was a little challenging for them as half the luggage was left in Nairobi because the plane wasn’t big enough! Fortunately it did all arrive the next day, but of course that meant another trip to Ndola and as usual it was time sensitive to avoid either another trip or charges for storage. Once again Michael managed to talk the situation round and all the bags were collected safely.
This was the first group to stay in the visitors lodge and although it was not quite finished they had the luxury of running water, showers and electricity from the genset in the evenings! They were soon settled into their new home and working out the challenges of brazier cooking and washing by hand.
The young people were, of course, lovely and enthusiastically threw themselves into activities both here on the farm and with the Nurture group and visiting the clinic. They helped build a fence at the front of the Lodge, did the first coat of paint on the outside walls, prepared the fields for sports activities including making a net for the volley ball pitch, ran a great sports and activity day on their first Saturday and ended with a lovely day of fun and games for the children here on the farm on their last day.
The evening barbeque and bonfire was a huge success with lots of singing and dancing, good food, presents for the children and an enormous birthday cake. The children here have really enjoyed having the team around and spent lots of time after school making friendship bracelets, playing ball games and hanging out with them.
I am sure that Athena and Gareth will write a comprehensive blog about their trip.
Whilst they were here I sorted all the donations they had brought in the extra suitcases and found storage space for them.
I enjoyed the evening team times when we shared our highs for each day, sang some worship and considered some biblical themes. It was lovely to see the young people relaxing and sharing their personal journeys. We also had a lovely evening with Judy and Oscar Fernandes in their new home. Oscar was on top form making a very positive impression to the students with his exuberance and positive attitude. Judy treated us to some delicious Indian snacks these also made a good impression!
I got to go to school, being privileged to be allowed to teach a group of 60 students. I was rather nervous when I woke up in the morning and had to talk to myself severely to enjoy the experience and not feel like it was a test I could either fail or pass. What a wonderful experience! The children were all responsive and attentive and I thoroughly enjoyed my time.
We also visited a nearby game park and met the zebra, impala and turkeys!
Hello from the lovely Edenfarm! I arrived here on 18th June after a long but uneventful journey. The farm looked great when I arrived with lots of progress since last year. Everything was neat and tidy and the farmhouse had been polished within an inch of its life. I was soon settled in ‘my room’ and ready for my adventure to begin
It was a slow start as I had somehow managed to pick up a bug with a cough and generally not feeling 100%. Now two weeks in it’s all hands to the pump as we prepare for the group of 13 arriving next Tuesday.
The builders, painters and plumbers are hard at it completing the last bits and Michael and I have journeyed to Kitwi twice in one day to buy the bunk beds (from the road side!). A new experience on the last trip back was being stopped at a road check for driving in the dark! I had visions of sleeping overnight in the truck by the road side but with Michael’s great negotiating skills we got away with a payment (bribe) of £3.40 which was all this mesunga had on her. I think they were hoping for something more substantial from the white Madame!
The new water tank to help with the water supply to the Lodge and for irrigation arrived and was hauled up the anthill.
Everyday has its own challenges and there always seems to be a long list of last resources that are needed for the completion of all the work.
All the children are looking well and happy. The school trips are quite punishing and they are very tired at the end of the day. I have been putting together a timetable for daily life and hope that this will help them.
Agnes the new house mother is settled in well and looking after not only the children in her house but also keeping an eye on Gogo.
They and Mrs Malenbeka and Mrs Mathews have been clearing the roads to form fire breaks making me at least feel a bit more secure for when the fires come! I am reliably informed that they WILL come.
The oranges, grapefruit lemons and limes are ripening in the orchard and the groundnuts have been dried bagged and sealed for sale.
The maize is drying on the roof, the resourceful chickens have worked out that with a hop and a jump from a nearby tree they have a feast laid out for them. We will pack and seal the bags of this next week.
The farmhouse is getting a face lift and being painted pale yellow and later the roof will be painted blue ….. Protea Hotel eat your heart out! The lodge is to have the same colour scheme.
Work has started this morning on the hut outside the kitchen door, it is being ‘improved’
All and all a hive of industry here on the farm!
It has been a while since we last posted! We really are going to try to be better and putting news of all aspects of Life Support up here on the website to keep everyone updated. In fact our last update was our 2013 Trustee Report and it is only a few days before our 2014 AGM where our next trustee report will be released … watch out for that!
So with our latest website update we have added a Gallery Page! Have a look and if you have any pictures from a visit to Zambia or Congo or if you have held a fundraiser for Life Support and have some photos to share then please send them over. If you don’t have our contact address just message us through the website contact form and we will be in touch.
Thank you all for your continued support!
I’ve just returned from a trip to Chingola, Zambia, visiting Eden Farm – Life Support’s flagship project. The trip was way overdue for me as I hadn’t been there since 2008! I knew that this time around I wouldn’t be involved in much practical work (as with previous visits) but I was looking forward to meeting the Eden Farm kids for the first time, and seeing how much the farm had changed/progressed.
There’s lots of great things to share from the trip but here’s a few of them:
- Meeting and spending time with all the Eden Farm kids we support (we started with three 5 years ago, now we have 15)
- Walking into the first children’s home, and seeing the second one being built
- Eden Farm looking very much cared for (thanks to Michael and the other farm workers), flourishing with various crops and fruit trees
- Meeting Jacala and seeing the look on her face as we presented her with a new wheelchair
- Spending time with the Nurture women – singing and dancing included! 🙂
- Members of New Life Church, especially Oscar, his wife Judy, and their kids
- The spontaneous baptisms on Easter Sunday
Needless to say it was a very worthwhile trip – my passion and heart for the project has been renewed; I was able to get a better understanding of the day to day work/activities of the farm, and I got a real sense of what’s going well and not so well. I will particularly miss:
- Julius (one of the Eden Farm kids) – his English vocab mainly consisted of ‘yes’ and ‘this one’…sooo sweet!
- Waking up to blue sky and sunshine
- Evening chats with the team (Nat, Dorrie and Zoe)
- Judy’s cooking
- Oscar’s jokes
- Michael’s ironing skills
Please remember the work of Life Support in your prayers. There’s so much more we need to get done. And please join us on a future visit to Eden Farm if you’re able to.
Recently, Zoe (another Life Support volunteer) and I were invited to St Mark’s Church in Wimbledon to talk about the work of Life Support-Eden Farm. We almost never made it due to the snowy weather, but I’m really glad we did.
The service was very organised and structured and I didn’t want to mess things up by missing my cue to start speaking. Thankfully this didn’t happen. I gave a short update which included: showing one of our dvds; thanking them for their generous support, and encouraging them to continue praying for various aspects of our work.
After the service, we had some interesting chats with people at the Life Support stand. One lady in particular asked if we offered ‘gap year’ volunteer opportunities in Zambia for students. I explained that although we didn’t have a formal programme in place, the opportunity was still available. She took our contact details and hopefully we’ll hear from her again. However it got me thinking that maybe we should work harder at getting something more formal in place. It’s a successful model that other charities do, and it has so many all round benefits – for us (the charity), the volunteer and, more importantly, our community out in Zambia.
Hmmm, I think I’ll raise this again at the next trustees meeting.
In appreciation of our time at St Mark’s, Zoe and I were presented with a bottle of champagne EACH!! Goes without saying that we both felt it was a worthwhile visit 🙂
We’ve been working hard over the last few weeks to get a new website up and running, one which we will be able to keep up-to-date much more easily and more interactive too so please have a look and leave us some comments! If there is anything that you think we have missed out please let us know or if you find any problems tell us so we can fix them! Otherwise we hope you like the new site and find it easy to use! Thanks for your support.