With God, nothing is impossible. Luke 1:37

Alistair and I have recently returned from Zambia. Unfortunately the last rains were so poor that the country has had 50% of its crop fail, particularly the maize, which is their staple food.  We were visiting projects around Lusaka and the fields there were just full of dried dead maize. Our partners run a small clinic as well as a school for 205 disadvantaged children, of whom 20 were orphans that they care for. They provide breakfast and lunch during the week for the 205 children and all meals etc for the orphans. They had planted maize to help feed them, but unfortunately all the crop has failed this year. They are now struggling to look after the children in their care. They have some land that they can farm, but no water. Jacob’s Well Appeal is hoping to help them by drilling a borehole to provide water for planting further crops and also buying some chickens (and feed) so that they can have eggs to eat and hopefully sell. Each of these projects will cost around £5,000. They will also need financial help to feed the children whilst the crops are growing. If anyone wants to support our work in Zambia please send your donations to the office, marked Zambia.

The school rooms are very basic and the cooking happens outside!

We were able to buy some food whilst we were there (as well as taking some in our suitcases) so the children had a picnic when we visited them. The maize is ground to flour to make mealie meal, which is what the children are eating, with an egg and vegetables.

The orphanage is really just three mud huts – one of which collapsed recently so that the boys are now in what was the chicken hut – the picture below is inside the chicken hut with a pole helping to keep the roof up! Our partners have bought land locally and hope to rebuild the school and orphanage on the new land, but this is a long term plan. Currently the buildings are on community land which is slowly being repossessed.


It is very humbling to see how some people have to live with so little. It is also frustrating that we had almost nonstop rain after Christmas whilst others are in drought. The whole country of Zambia is facing a very difficult year. Apart from the water shortage affecting food supplies, they also rely heavily on hydroelectricity. Whilst we were there the electricity was cut for 8hours a day – the 1st week we had no electricity from 2pm to 10pm, the second week none from 6am to 2pm. This really causes businesses and homes to struggle and if they use a generator the costs of fuel are very high indeed. When we left we were told that the cuts were going to be extended to 15hours per day. Usually it rains heavy from November to March and there is very little rain the rest of the year. This means that they can not grow crops from rainfall water until next November, and will not harvest any of these crops until next year.

We also met with  Stoma Care Zambia whilst we were in Lusaka. This team of people are all volunteers and provide all the stoma care for Zambia. Their fieldworker Ben Lungu spends his week days visiting patients who have recently had a stoma to give them free bags (which they receive from an American Charity as well as Jacob’s Well Appeal) and advice. He works in the evenings to make a living for his family. Without these bags patients can not lead a normal life as they can not control the leaks and smells from their stoma without the purpose built bags.  In Zambia people struggle to find any bags, and if they do, they cost around $15 each. In one hospital we visited there were no bags available and so the staff had used a plastic glove instead. Most people need a new bag every 3 days (though some require 3 per day), and the basic minimum salary is $42 per month, the average wage being about $200. We also met several people who were struggling to cover the medical costs, including chemotherapy for bowel cancer in a 30 year old man. To help them with free bags which would have ended up in land fill in the UK is a real blessing. We are planning to send Stoma Care Zambia a container full of stoma supplies, which will hopefully last them some time.

Thanking you all for your support and prayers. Though this visit has left us with many challenges, it has also shown us how useful our work can be.