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Happy New Year from Ndola!

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Hello again, everyone! Happy New Year to you all! The staff of Hope Ministries, the students here on the North Park trip and I all wish you all a very happy New Year, and we’re excited to be spending the start of 2011 in Ndola.

We have had quite an exciting few days, including a great New Year’s Eve celebration with the Hope staff and the community in which Hope works. We had dancing, music and snacks, and I’ll add some pictures once the internet is fully functioning so you can see the fun and excitement!

We got to sleep in a bit on Saturday, as we did not return home until around 2AM, and while the students went to have a tour of Hope Village (where the school and orphanage are located) as well as the surrounding community, I stayed at the Mulandos’ and was able to finish up some work on the financial forecasting for the farm and get started on preparing for some of the work with the accounting staff that I’ll be doing over the next couple weeks. It was nice to have a quiet day of work, as well as some time to unpack all the suitcases that Spark brought over with supplies for the school, orphanage and staff.

Today we attended Hope’s church service all morning. It is a true Zambian experience to attend church here. There’s not a single hip not swaying, not a single mouth not singing and not a single child not staring at the mzungus (a very amiable term for white people). 🙂 I was also very excited to see my old friend, Dorothy, the five-year-old daughter of a pastor here and one of the sweetest and most affectionate children I’ve ever met. It’s always nice reconnecting with the friends I’ve met here, and I’m looking forward to seeing much more of Dorothy over the next couple weeks.

So now I’m in the office, well rested from the holiday weekend and very much looking forward to the work on enrollment, attendance and accounting that will take place over the next week. While the students do some more tours, I will be working with the school staff to ensure that enrollment at the school goes smoothly. The headteacher has asked me to help them work on a computerized database for their student records, and I’m really excited about tackling the challenge. I always find it amazing with projects here; there are always challenges and issues that you would never expect. For example, the school has a laptop that was generously donated by one of our board members, but it cannot be kept at the school because of security reasons and because there is not yet electricity at the school. It is the accumulation of small inconveniences like this that make Hope’s successes (like the recent AMAZING Grade 7 exam results) even more incredible and inspiring.

I’m excited to bring you all more news of our progress together here. Until then, tuka monana (see you later)!

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