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Message from Sr. Cathy Crawford 27 July 2021

Message from Sr. Cathy Crawford 27 July 2021

Greetings from Mongu, a cold Mongu for us as temperatures have been down for the past few weeks. We have had some nights down to 9 degrees C which is unusually low for us and even during the day a cold wind. I'm glad you are getting a little sun but if it's getting too high it's not pleasant either. Anyway, enjoy what you can of it as it probably won't last too long!

My apologies for not getting to write to you for such a long time. I have been struggling to keep on top of things for a while - so many strange things happening and not knowing what is coming next; it has certainly has been a very strange year all round with so many uncertainties and anxieties.

Overall, we have done very well and we can't complain but it has been hard going. Thankfully so-far we have all managed to survive Covid -19. A few of our sisters were positive in spite of being careful and following guidelines closely, including Sr. Mary (Vianney) in Kaoma. I was very shocked and worried for her when she got it at the end of January. She was admitted to the Levy Mwanawasa Hospital covid section and was on oxygen for a number of days. But against all odds she pulled through and has made a full and complete recovery. I think it was definitely prayer that brought her through. 

A number of our staff have also been positive, a few very sick but again thank God all survived and have made very good recoveries -with good care!  All the children have been very well and we have succeeded in protecting them from becoming infected.

One of our staff at the Lodge passed away in February but not covid related. She had TB and had many problems stacked against her. Liseli had been with us for 12 years and was a loved and trusted member of staff. It was a big shock to us all and very unexpected. 

Many of our local people passed away - Police Commissioner, Head of Emigration, Heads of many of the Churches and Lecturers at the Teacher Training College across the road. A number of Bishops, priests and many sisters have gone - we get a new list of people every day. Many prominent politicians and local leaders. The Jesuits lost two of their priests to Covid. Many of our priests here in Mongu Diocese as well as the bishop were positive but thankfully have recovered well, we have been trying to support and care for as many as possible in our area.

Last year we went into lockdown in March which was very difficult. The children eventually had to go home - Ministry of Health regulations - but we were allowed to reopen in June.  This year we went into lockdown again in May, all schools, colleges, churches, bars and restaurants have been closed since early May.  

Thankfully we have remained open and have put tight measures and guidelines in place to restrict entry from the public and, so far, we have succeeded in keeping the children safe and well. We have had the usual visits from our visiting surgeons both last year and this year so far. The third visit this year will be from September 30th. It has been amazing that we did not have to cancel any of the visits. This term we have 75 children again and it has been busy as usual. We have been working throughout which has been good.  We will close at the end of July for a short break and hopefully then be able to have our usual third term up to December. 

We have been fortunate so far to have been able to keep all our staff on full pay while many places have had to let their workers off. Our two Projects – Producing blocks/ selling building materials and our Conference Centre have continued although at a low ebb with work and business down to rock bottom. We are confident they will revive as soon as things change again, and we have to learn patience which is difficult but necessary!

Zoom meetings have taken over this side of the world as I'm sure they have in many places. They can be good to keep in touch but can become too much with so many groups wanting meetings for every small thing. I find myself choosing what and whatnot to attend, they are so time consuming and tend to go on too long!

A small number of vaccines have reached Zambia with only a few hundred thousand vaccinated so far. People are very afraid and sceptical about it and are refusing it. We briefed our staff at Cheshire Home and our Projects and gave them as much positive information as possible. As a result, about 90% have been vaccinated, we gave them the lead and sixty of us had our second vaccinations yesterday which we are happy about. Thank God not many people had side effects, a few people including myself have a sore and painful arm with headache but it's probably only a 24-hour thing.

I hope you have all been able to avail yourselves of it. It's the only way to go in spite of the constant stream of fake information that is scaring us. Hearing and following BBC World News we know what people have been through world-wide with so many devastating and tragic situations. We pray daily for people suffering and dying. We pray for friends and families so far away to be kept safe and well. You and all our friends in St. Teresa’s Parish Beaconsfield are in our prayers constantly. 

Interestingly the boxes you sent last year and in 2019 arrived a few weeks ago. God only knows where they have been all that time. But they are intact and in good condition! 

Thanks to everyone for the generous and ongoing support. Without it this past 18 months I do not know where we would have been or how we could have survived. 

We send our best wishes and blessings to each one of you for good health and safety. We keep trusting and praying that eventually all will be well ad that our world 🌎 and all people will be healed and renewed.

With love and gratitude to all at St. Teresa’s

Sr. Cathy and all in Cheshire Home, Mongu. 

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