How would you summarise the work you are doing as a mission partner?
I have two strings to my bow, that of lecturer and development worker. As a lecturer I teach two modules to the Pan African diploma students and one to the Social Work Diploma students at Mindolo Ecumenical Foundation. I also have a contract with the United Church of Zambia Theological College which is on the same site, and there I teach a couple of modules to the prospective deacons. I am at present helping the theological college develop a Social Work Diploma course, to start this year. I will also have teaching input on that. The rest of my time is spent with various projects in Kamatipa and Ipusukilo, two of the poorer compounds of Kitwe. Here I work mostly with HIV+ groups of people educating, encouraging and skills training.
What has been your greatest challenge?
There are several but the top three are - Learning the language - in which I am miserably failing! Eradicating the cockroaches in my flat (another losing battle!), and working effectively in the compounds. This involves a certain amount of cultural sensitivity and protocol as well as trust building and creative thinking about resources. Although I have had a great many workshops and taught many skills, it is only when these people have lifted themselves off the breadline that I will feel I have been effective.
What impact do you feel you have made?
Mostly in the areas of human relationships and practical helping.
How do you think God is guiding you in your work?
I thank God every day for placing me in Africa. I have experienced so much support from friends both in Kitwe and in the UK. Originally I was to do psychosocial counselling with youths, but I firmly believe I am called to the areas I am now working in. I can relate to the saying of Confucius, which goes "if you don't want to work, get a job you really enjoy".
What has surprised you most of all?
That despite huge cultural differences, I think I fit in here quite well.