Rain, rain, go to Spain…

Img_4014 Posted by David Gough on Tue, 14 Oct 2008 | Bookmark: digg this Post this to del.icio.us Post this to Facebook

Many of us will remember this familiar saying from our childhood; indeed I still say it to my Grandchildren when it rains at home. I started writing this while still in Kitwe, in the Copperbelt region of Zambia, thinking of the saying again. As loud thunder claps, fork lightening lights up the failing light of dusk and the smell of rain invades your senses your as the rain falls in buckets. In Africa when it rains…it certainly rains – no showers here, in minutes torrents of water flood the hard dry earth, before finally soaking into the parched soil, as the dry season comes to an abrupt end.

Since my arrival the temperature has been between 35 and 40 degrees, it’s been so hot that I had to go to the Doctor one day with, what turned out to be dehydration. Oh yes and by the wonders of modern technology my laptop informed me that it was 15 degrees and wet in Portadown, my home town. It also showed that it would be 34 degrees in Kitwe for the next 5 days.

Rain has followed me on my journey through Africa from a cold wet Ethiopia, where in an earlier blog I reported, “…and finally arrived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to a torrential downpour”, to Entebbe in Uganda, Yei in Southern Sudan and now in Zambia.

Keith Scott, CMS Ireland’s Mission Partner who has been lecturing at The Seminary of St John the Evangelist in Kitwe, Zambia for six and a half years, warned staff the other day that rain was on the way and to clear the drains.

Keith and Hannah picked me up at Ndola airport and then driven the 50km to Kitwe in the centre of the Copperbelt region. My first views of Zambia where that I was impressed with the quality of the tarmac roads, the vast expanse of scrub and bush, the size of the private commercial farms and the sight of Copper Mines and smelting plants on the horizon. On my arrival in Kitwe, I met the other members of the Scott family, Lyn and Adam (18). It was fortunate that both Hannah and Adam were home on half term break from Boarding School.

The Scotts are nearing the end of their time as Mission Partners and are already preparing for their return to Northern Ireland. It’s been great for me to make my first visit to Zambia, a new country in my region, but also to have the opportunity to learn so much about Zambia from a family with so much knowledge and experience of this part of Africa.

Zambia is about the size of France and Germany but with a population of only 11 million people. Lusaka, the capital city, has a population of approximately 1.5 million and Kitwe, the second city around 600,000. The Copper belt region has a 2 million population.

Zambia has 5 Dioceses and interestingly, Bishop Albert Chama, who has been the Dean of the Province of Central Africa, including Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Botswana, is acting Archbishop. Bishop Albert is the Bishop of the Diocese of Northern Zambia, which has 4 Archdeaconries; 16 parishes and approximately 30 Churches and a total of 20 Priests.

It’s been great opportunity to meet Bishop John Osmoro, the Seminary Rector, to specifically discuss future opportunities for CMS Ireland to support the Seminary. Currently the Seminary, has a maximum intake of 12 students and it is the only Seminary in the Zambian Anglican Communion.

Guess what, it was raining when I finally arrived home after a 6 flight marathon! One thing is for sure, I certainly do wish to show my face again in the beautiful country of Zambia. As for the rain it can stay in Spain…and never show it’s face here again…or on my global visits – here’s hoping!