Other Brief Stories....

A remarkably imaginative scheme has been proposed by the United Reformed Church of Wales, whose Moderator has suggested that youngsters might take part in an exchange scheme with their opposite numbers from Zambia. "Teenagers from here who go out will gain an understanding of what it is like to live in a different world," remarks chairman Ron Prosser. "They will, I hope, come back inspired to work for the less well off. The Zambians, for their part, will receive an eye-opener to a wider world."

It is often said that people who have lived in such countries are unable to cope with the affluence of Britain - even a visit to a supermarket is a difficult thing to handle. Is there a danger that Zambians will go home disillusioned and unhappy with their own lives? "No," says the director. "This certainly didn't happen when we brought Willard Chitembo over last year - November 2001. "He went back with a wider understanding of the possibilities of life - and a wider vision of the good and bad things in life." It is intended that our extremely hard-working man in Zambia will be invited to Britain to meet supporters and speak about life in Zambia .

(Willard, however, no longer works for HHI(Z))

Lisa Zara, the American volunteer, has finished her duty at the Hope School for the Deaf, and has returned to America. Unfortunately, the Zambian teacher hired to replace her was offered a better job and did not come to us, but we now have hopes of obtaining a teacher of the deaf from the Zambian government.

A touching aspect of the work is that a local pastor, himself deaf, has come to see the school and has now volunteered to work there regularly.

Lisa's contribution to our work included a notable achievement - it was her desperate and emotional message which alerted us to the true degree of starvation among her pupils, which in turn helped kick off the great Famine Appeal of last year.

At our second school for the deaf, St Patrick's, the progress made with £1000 of British money is amazing. In six months, a building has been found and renovated, a teacher taken on, and 21 pupils registered - some are too young, but have been registered to join when they are old enough.

Ten new double desks for the school, to replace the scrap furniture being used, have now been made in Monze and delivered to the school.

To help fund the cost of each 'mobile clinic', the chairman has dreamed up a 'Bible and Bandages' scheme. It is hoped that churches and individuals will collect 20p coins; if 100 churches took this on and raised £100 a year, we would have the £10,000 we need to run a clinic. Obviously, we need similar amounts for each clinic.

Meanwhile, the motorbike fund has completed its target of raising money for HHi's own transport - in the bush, a motorbike is a very practical way of getting around. The bike has now been delivered, and we wait to see how he is getting on with it.

There is a luxury included in the other new vehicle we have just bought for Zambia - it has air-conditioning! In the heat of the bush, this is quite something.

The new vehicle is a 10-seat Toyota minibus, which has been made possible by an extremely generous donation. It will be managed for the two deaf schools, and used where necessary for other projects. The White Lady, our elderly Land Rover, will continue to handle the trips over rough country. The Toyota has a name, too - it has been christened 'Queen of the South'!

Although HHI visitors to Zambia have reported they were not pleased with some aspects of the pig-keeping project, a new plan has put the scheme back into order.

The scheme was set up with £1,300 raised by the children of the Wales URC, and among the recent visitors was Roger Staley, an expert on pig-farming from Thornbury, near Bristol.

His assessment was that the pigs were being kept healthy, but that the building of the pens left a lot to be desired. Following his advice, the pigmen have been enrolled for a training course.

A most unusual telephone call was received at the chairman's house recently. We have paid for the first telephone in a part of India where Tom Sutherland is working among the poor. Quite typically of Tom, when the phone was installed, he gathered all the local people around - and they all wanted to speak, in turn, to the chairman!

The telephone is part of the 'bystanders' scheme. In India, destitute patients are expected to have a 'bystander' who washes and feeds them, and this phone allows for the local hospitals to call HHI for help when a bystander is needed.

Ian Macdonald of Wigtown in Scotland has run an imaginative fund-raiser for us - he owns a beautiful old vintage car, and gave people rides in return for donations!

The United Reformed Church in Newport adopted us as their charity for the year (2003), and Havelock Street Presbyterian church have kindly donated a video player, very useful at the deaf school.

Kaumba Clinic has established itself to a dramatic degree, in the area where 10,000 people previously lived without any medical care at all. Through generous support from the Three Oaks Trust, we have built a clinic and a nurse's house, together with sanitary facilities and wells, and nurse Phyllis Mwinga is already very busy - on one day, she saw 138 children at her under-5s clinic.

Many churches were kind enough to donate their harvest festival and carol service collections to us. Many thanks to you all.