Inverness County Cares

Partners in Development

My Albinism Story

By: Evans Simutami

I am Evans Simutami, born on 25th of November 1996. I am the second born in a family of two boys and two girls, three children are black and I am the only albino child and have limited vision. My elder brother James Simutami was involved in a road accident and lost his right eye at the age of 20, today he has an artificial eye. My two sisters are physically and mentally okay and are very active.

When I was 8 years old and I was supposed to start school but my mother and father didn’t know where to take me. At this time, I came to learn that when I was four years old, my mother left me home and she went to the river to wash clothes for the family. An unknown person come and picked me and took to her home and kept me for one week. It was a terrible situation. Today when my mother is narrating what happened, “Her tears flow like water”.

According to my mother’s explanation, on what she got from the court, the lady said that, “Her intention was to kill me and sell my body parts to a named business man in her area.” He planned to take me to a nearby country to sell to a witch doctor, where my body would be used to make charms and potions. When the woman was caught, she confessed and she was jailed for 9 years, from 2000 to 2010.

My mother from then on, lived in fear and never wanted me to go out and play with friends. She only wanted me safely at home but at the same time she wanted me to be educated.

My father was very passive and he never contributed to my well-being. His solution was to blame my mother and there were times when my father could reach an extent of beating her, “Not simple beating but real beating”. Where was the anger coming from? His anger was from the comments from our community. The community had a very big problem, for it was their first time to see an albino child and they did not understand my condition and considered me to be a ghost. If someone became sick or died in the village, the community will come to my parents and accuse them of causing that sickness or death. My father would then transfer his anger to my mother, because the uncle to my mother was albino. The beatings made my mother leave my father and she started living alone.

 

My three black siblings remained with my father and I was the only one staying with my mother. My mother is good at knitting articles and craft work. My mother shifted from the northern area to the central area of our district. It is in this area that God blessed her by meeting Mr. Emmanuel Simoto who was working in the ministry of education as a general worker. He knew about St Odilia Special School because he had a cousin who is blind and was learning at the same school. My mother and our relatives were more than happy. Mr. Emmanuel contacted the school administration and I was accepted and I started my grade one in 2008 and completed in 2019 at the same school.

 

My father was very surprised about my progress in school and is still shocked even today, because my elder brother and my intermediate sister didn’t complete school and they are still just home with my father. Our last born is trying but with a lot of challenges in her academic works. This June, she has started staying with my mother and I encourage her to finish her education. In 2021, I joined the college in Lusaka (capital city) called Zambia Institute of Special Education. I decided to take up a course in Early Childhood Education. I am enjoying the course and it has helped me to understand child development. This year, 2022 from April to June, I was at St Mary’s Special School for the Visually Impaired in Kawambwa, doing my teaching practice and school experience.  I enjoyed my stay and was counseling my fellow albino and blind pupils who are facing rejection at any level of their lives, “I was the living testimony”. I invite you all to be part of us in adding a smile on our faces, in most cases the society fails to understand us, but be among the few who understand. Come and Let us Go.

 

Inverness County Cares (ICC) is a local charitable organization, founded in 2012 and based in Inverness County, NS, Canada. ICC works in partnership with Chalice.ca, a Canadian charity, based in Bedford, Nova Scotia. Chalice provides guidance and assistance to help us provide a better life for the children at the Kawambwa schools. The Kawambwa Project involves supporting two schools for albino and visually impaired students, in Northern Zambia. Inverness County Cares always welcomes new members. Individuals who wish to donate, can use the donate button on our website   https://invernesscountycares.com When using E-transfer, please include your mailing address for CRA tax receipts and a thank you message.   E-transfer address:  invernesscountycares@gmail.com or send a cheque to Inverness County Cares, 5414 Route 19, Judique, NS, Canada, B0E1P0. Taxation receipts provided for USA and Canada.

 

Evans in class
Evans Simutami with his class

My Story

 By MWABA GOODSON

I am an albino man with low vision and I was born on 23rd March 1992 in Chilubi district of Northern Province of Zambia. I am the fourth born child in the family of 6, where they are five sisters who are poor and not working and one man who happens to be myself. I was born from a very poor family with no acceptance by my biological father and the society where I was born never accepted me. That made my mother to live an unhappy life. At some point some members of the community wanted to kill me for ritual money and that worried my mother so much.

 Due to the difficult circumstances my mother went through, she was forced to find ways and means to take me to a school where I could be accepted, so she had to seek guidance on where to go so I could learn and stay safe without stigmatization. At the age of 10, the Sisters of the Child Jesus helped my parents by giving them information on where I could go and learn.  It was at the St Odilia, Mporokoso school for the blind.  On that fateful day, I met my fellow children living with albinism in Kasama where I was taken by a cousin using a bicycle as means of transport.  Sadly, I was the only child with sores on my skin due to lack of proper lotions, I felt neglected and that day I came to St Odilia in Mporokoso and started learning how to write and read Braille materials. Honestly, it was a difficult moment for me, in that at first, I couldn’t adapt to the environment. However later I became very good in almost all the subjects such that I was liked by every teacher. When I was in grade 8, I was chosen as the head boy for the school, and during my term of office, there came a white man by the name of David Moffat who came to offer support to the school. Fortunately, I was again chosen to give a speech and the speech I gave touched him profoundly. Mr. Moffat suggested that he would offer me a sponsorship from grade 10 to college if I performed well at grade 9 examinations. I was overjoyed and did extremely well and became the best student in northern province. 

Thanks to Mr. David Moffat and his wife Christine, who adopted me as their child and helped me to go to secondary school and up to college without any help from my family who had completely overlooked me as a nobody. After I completed my education program course, poverty came upon my life that I couldn’t even afford to have a meal. I had to move from one place to the other, in order to search for work. I asked the sisters of the Child Jesus to help me by providing me with any work to do in order to earn a living. They gave me a position teaching at my former school for a small amount of Zambian kwacha (currency) just to buy food not even clothes.

I worked there for 1 year, and then by God’s grace I was given a chance to teach at the

St Odilia school. I worked there for a good two years. I thought of getting married so that I could keep my old poor mother, who loved me so much. I was very fortunate to find my wife, Litress Simatembe, who is a beautiful Tonga by tribe lady. She cares very much and loves me regardless of my poor status.

I wish to thank the sisters of the Child Jesus for the support they gave me during my wedding day in a Catholic church in Mporokoso. With the help of Mr. and Mrs. Moffat, I am happily married even though I am earning little to look after my old poor mother, my wife and our firstborn child.

I wish also to give my profound thanks to Chalice for giving me work with them.  I am very grateful for the support given by Inverness County Cares and Chalice to my fellow albino children at school.  I give thanks especially for the wall fence which is vital to protect them from ritual killings which are common in the area where the school is located.

May the good lord bless every hand that is here to help vulnerable children like me in the society of different continents.

Inverness County Cares (ICC) is a local charitable organization, founded in 2012 and based in Inverness County, NS, Canada. ICC works in partnership with Chalice.ca, a Canadian charity, based in Bedford, Nova Scotia. Chalice provides guidance and assistance to help ICC provide a better life for the children at the Kawambwa schools. The Kawambwa Project involves two schools for albino and visually impaired students, in Northern Zambia. Inverness County Cares always welcomes new members. Individuals who wish to donate, can use the donate button on our website   https://invernesscountycares.com When using E-transfer, please include your mailing address for CRA tax receipts and a message of thanks from ICC.   E-transfer address:  invernesscountycares@gmail.com or send a cheque to Inverness County Cares, 5414 Route 19, Judique, NS, Canada, B0E1P0. Taxation receipts provided for USA and Canada.

Goodson and John MacInnis from Inverness County Cares.

Chewe Mupenzeni’s Story

By Goodson

Chewe Mupenzeni Lewis, an albino boy with low vision, was born on 8th August 2007 in Kasma district of the Northern Province of Zambia. He is the third born child (and the only albino) in the family of 6, where they are five boys and one girl. Chewe Lewis has low vision and he cannot see clearly from a far distance, due to albinism. Most of his family members from the father’s side accepted the child but other community members of Kasama district had mixed feelings about the birth of an albino child in the community. The people were fearful that bad luck would come in the village, because an albino lived among them. It is because of this superstition, that albino community members are shunned and isolated for fear they will pass on their albinism to present and future members of the village.

As result of this situation, his parents sought guidance on where the child could learn and stay safe without stigmatization. At the age of seven the Sisters of the Child Jesus helped his parents by giving them information on where Chewe could go and learn, which was St. Odilia special school for the visually impaired in Mporokosa, northern Zambia. Chewe is happy there as he is now protected and more secure. In the past he was isolated from other children in the community because of superstitions concerning albinos.

Seven years was very young age to leave his home but Chewe started learning how to write and read Braille and became very skilled. Fortunately, he did very well in all the subjects and moved from pre-school to grade 7 on a faster pace so that in 2020 he wrote his grade 7 national examination and passed well.

 Currently, he is in grade 9 preparing to write his grade 9 final examination in October 2022. He loves mathematics, social studies and religious studies. He plans to study to be a male nurse when he graduates from St Odilia. He is now able to go and visit the family after the school administration talked to his family on the importance of educating an albino child.

Ever since CHALICE started helping the him, there has been an improvement in his academic work. The security provided by the construction of a wall fence is helping him not to go out of bounds and enables him to spend much of his time studying. Before the wall fence was constructed people used to sneak into the school under the cover of darkness and forcibly cut albino children’s hair which they would sell for witch doctor rituals. In other instances, people would wander on to the school grounds posing as friends or helpers and take advantage of these vulnerable children and steal their meagre possessions (mattresses, clothing) and also steal clippings of their hair.

Thanks to Inverness County Cares community (ICC) and Chalice for the financial support which has made the construction of the wall fence possible. It has changed the life of this young boy for he is now in a safe place and especially safe from ritual killings which are happening in Zambia particularly in the northern province. May the almighty God richly bless the people of CHALICE and ICC for protecting the life of children living with albinism.

Inverness County Cares (ICC) is a local charitable organization, founded in 2012 and based in Inverness County, NS, Canada. ICC works in partnership with Chalice.ca, a Canadian charity, based in Bedford, Nova Scotia. Chalice provides guidance and assistance to help us provide a better life for the children at the Kawambwa schools. The Kawambwa Project involves supporting two schools for albino and visually impaired students, in Northern Zambia. Inverness County Cares always welcomes new members. Individuals who wish to donate, can use the donate button on our website   https://invernesscountycares.com When using E-transfer, please include your mailing address for CRA tax receipts and a thank you message.   E-transfer address:  invernesscountycares@gmail.com or send a cheque to Inverness County Cares, 5414 Route 19, Judique, NS, Canada, B0E1P0. Taxation receipts provided for USA and Canada.

Beatrice’s Story

I am Beatrice Chipulu, an albino child aged 15 years. My family has three girls and four boys. All the boys are black and all the girls are albino and we girls all suffer from low vision. I am the second born in the family of Prosper and Grace. Both my parents are black but with a brownish skin. Albinism was inherited from both our parents. On our mother’s side, l was told, my great grandparents had one albino child and on my father’s side my aunt has three albino children and they live in the Copper Belt of Zambia.

My father is not educated and has never stepped his foot in the classroom, but he knows how to write his name. Despite his lack of classroom learning he is an expert in fishing and he has three nets and a boat. He was taught these skills by the fishermen he worked with. He is proud of his ability to provide for all his family.

My mother reached her secondary level grade nine and she then married my father. Last year their marriage was blessed in church at Christmas, it was a great celebration. She is good at knitting especially baby layettes and people come to buy these beautiful sets. She sometimes works selling my father’s fish. Our family home is at the shores of Lake Bangweulu the only lake in Zambia which doesn’t share with other countries. Bream is the species of fish found in this river.

My father and his family love us very much, especially our paternal grandmother Elizabeth who truly loves us totally. My mother’s family were not very welcoming to us three albino girls. Our mother Grace was happy to send us for extended amounts of time, to her mother in law’s home for meals, bathing and daily living. Our grandmother Elizabeth understood my mother’s attitude toward us for Grace preferred for her children to live with their paternal grandmother and left us there for months. Eventually our father joined us at our grandmother’s home.

Grandma Elizabeth taught us all domestic works, she taught us a love of flowers and vegetable gardening. She also encouraged us to associate with others despite the beliefs and myths perpetrated concerning albinos. The greatest gift she has given to us is praying the rosary. Grandma Elizabeth and my father are strong Catholics.

I entered St Mary’s Special School with the help of our parish catechist who once lived in Kawambwa and knew about the special school for the visually impaired and blind. He communicated this to my grandma Elizabeth. In 2015 when I was 8 and Abigail was 6 she took us to school. Abigail was in the pre-school for two years. In 2022, Abigail is in Grade 6, and am in Grade 8. When we left home to go to the St Mary’s School, our youngest sister Hellen Chipulu was very upset since she was separated from her sisters when we went to the Kawambwa school. At the age of two years seven months, she joined the Kawambwa school after my father talked to Sr Agnes and explained the situation.

The People in our village were challenged by our unusual confidence and activeness. It is common for albinos to be shunned and isolated from their community members because of the superstitions perpetrated by witchcraft and black magic. Grandma Elizabeth taught us that we were clever, loveable persons. With this confidence in our hearts, we became involved in community activities. We can dance all sorts of dances, sing and are very good story tellers. We have joined the Holy Childhood group at church, we read in church and share the word of God. Our interaction with our people has unveiled volume and volume of our being. Everyone is surprised as to our abilities. We are well treated and loved, because, “We have provided a mirror.”

My dream is to be social worker and fight for the rights of the disabled and the vulnerable. Parents and communities need to be educated concerning the cause of albinism and understand albinos are not supernatural or dangerous. I have accepted my condition of albinism and I encourage my young sister Abigail to accept herself as well.

l love St Mary’s School so much for it has enabled me to fulfill my dream, because, “The sky is the limit”.

Inverness County Cares (ICC) is a local charitable organization, founded in 2012 and based in Inverness County, NS, Canada. ICC works in partnership with Chalice.ca, a Canadian charity, based in Bedford, Nova Scotia. Chalice provides guidance and assistance to help us provide a better life for the children at the Kawambwa schools. The Kawambwa Project involves supporting two schools for albino and visually impaired students, in Northern Zambia. Inverness County Cares always welcomes new members. Individuals who wish to donate, can use the donate button on our website   https://invernesscountycares.com When using E-transfer, please include your mailing address for CRA tax receipts and a thank you message.   E-transfer address:  invernesscountycares@gmail.com or send a cheque to Inverness County Cares, 5414 Route 19, Judique, NS, Canada, B0E1P0. Taxation receipts provided for USA and Canada.

An Albinism Success Story

 

By: Christine Chisunka

I am Christine Chisunka, twenty-four and the last born in a family of three. My family was very poor and my mother died when I was three months making it hard for my father to afford a baby, so I was taken to my uncle’s house. He had a wife (Beatrice) and Moses, a seven-month boy. We were breast fed by my Auntie Beatrice as twins. My auntie’s family members didn’t accept me and were not in favor of having me in the family… but I needed to be fed. Beatrice explained to me later that, I was feeding from the left breast and Moses from the right. She thought Moses could not be fed from the same breast with an albino child. When she took us to the clinic for immunization a nurse (Joyce) noticed her because the two of us were crying after being injected. She talked to the nurse and she explained the cause of albinism and that it couldn’t be transferred to Moses through breast feeding. Her mind changed and she started adhering to the words of the nurse and we grew as twins.

As an albino I was always different. My upper eye lids are very weak, I have only a specific angle where light passes to reach the pupil. I am able to read and write with a pen but I am more comfortable with Braille. I had surgery on my eyelids twice. I like darkness because it does not strain my eyes.

When I grew up, I asked why I was different from Moses, my aunty again asked the nurse Joyce. She said, “In the world we are not all the same, we are different, but we are all God’s children and God loves us all”. I understood and she invited me to her home. I noticed her husband was very happy and I saw the difference in the treatment. I was given a warm welcome and played with her children, l never wanted to go home. The routine of visiting her started and the issue of starting school came up. I envied her children going to school. Life was better at Mr. and Mrs. Patrick Chansa’s.

My biological father is a bricklayer and he was hired to build a school in another district. He was providing all what was needed for my upkeep. He identified a suitable school, which was St Mary’s Special School in Kawambwa. He told the family, especially my second family of Mr. Patrick and I was taken to Kawambwa School. There I found a lot of albinos and I was comfortable and St Mary’s was my home from grade one to nine.

In grade six, my earlier question arose of why we are different in colour? I was sick and I was taken to the hospital, where I met a nurse who was friendly and I asked the same question! “Why is my colour different from others?” She explained to me about the genes and she encouraged me to like the subject science. I went to school happy to share with my fellow albinos.

An albino faces hardships at every stage of life. As previously explained, Auntie’s relatives are still offended by me but surprisingly, l and Moses are very close. Sometimes I get upset by their comments but at the same time I am consoled by the love I still get from other members of the family. I challenge my critics by the way I respond to issues of life and family issues. When one is sick in the family, during holidays I make sure that I nurse him or her. I am very hospitable, and visit members of my family without expecting any reward. This is the simple weapon that I use.

I have developed the inner fear since I never trusted anyone because of the witchcraft rituals surrounding my village. Whenever I am at my home village if I have to go out, I need to be in the company of others I trust. This inhibits my social interactions. “Prayer is key, and is key to my success”.

 

Albinism has also affected my biological father’s life. Since the death of my mother, my father has been single. When he brings home a woman he wants to marry and she learns that he has an albino child, she leaves my father alone. She will come up with an excuse maybe of visiting her family members, then that is the end of their marriage plans. It has happened often and he now stays with my elder sister Grace.

My attendance at St Mary’s was not easy, due to my father working at a distant place, I was not reporting to school on time or missing one academic term. It was worse when my uncle and aunt shifted after securing a job in the mines and Mr. and Mrs. Patrick were transferred to another district. I remained in the care of my elder brother Peter and my sister Grace. At school I became close to one of the caregiver’s daughters. She was a preschool teacher who I started staying with and am staying with her yet during holidays. She is my fourth foster parent. I am in the third and last year of my teacher training at Malcolm Moffat school, as a teacher of English and religious education.

One of the things that has helped me to cope with life is gardening. I like growing assorted vegetables, flowers and fruits. All the difficulties that I am going through ends in a garden, I can cry just there, then I go home and life continues. In my life I associate “Green” with creation and I like the colours green and white.

In 2017, when I completed my senior secondary level, I stayed in my village for two years, because my very ill father was diagnosed with diabetes and as his children, we needed to nurse him. While seated in the garden the idea of growing cabbage and visiting the agricultural department came to me. These vegetables (cabbages) sustained us and helped us to buy medicine for my father.

I am in the last year of my teacher training at St Mary’s Special School until April and in December 2022 I will be writing my last examination. I am very happy and I try my level best in all areas of life.

Inverness County Cares (ICC) is a local charitable organization, founded in 2012 and based in Inverness County, NS, Canada. ICC works in partnership with Chalice.ca, a Canadian charity, based in Bedford, Nova Scotia. Chalice works with us  to help us provide a better life for the children at the Kawambwa schools. The Kawambwa Project involves supporting two schools for albino and visually impaired students, in Northern Zambia. Inverness County Cares always welcomes new members. Individuals who wish to donate, can use the donate button on our website   https://invernesscountycares.com When using E-transfer, please include your mailing address for, CRA tax receipts and a thank you message.   E-transfer address:  invernesscountycares@gmail.com or send a cheque to Inverness County Cares, 5414 Route 19, Judique, NS, Canada, B0E1P0. Taxation receipts provided for USA and Canada.

 

Looking Back at 2021

 

Inverness County Cares (ICC) is a registered charity based in Inverness County, Nova Scotia, Canada. Our current project is with two schools in Northern Zambia, called the Kawambwa Project.

The two schools, St Mary in Kawambwa and St Odilia in Mporokosa are schools which provide an education in a safe environment for albino and blind students. Persons in East Africa who inherit the gene responsible for albinism are at a distinct disadvantage from birth. Age old superstitions concerning albinos are still a part of cultural beliefs. Initially at birth, when a black mother gives birth to a seemingly white child there is suspicion as to its true parentage. These children are frequently abandoned or live a secluded existence where they are a source of shame. They are neglected and isolated with the belief that they can pass on their condition to others. These children often lack social exposure and access to an education.

Albinism comes with several burdens for the children. Their sight is very poor or non-existent and deteriorates as they mature. The schools in the communities where these children live, lack the special interventions needed for visual impairment. Therefore, many of these children are developmentally delayed due to lack of stimulation. The sun is also a great source of danger to these people, for without melanin in their skin they have no protection from the sun’s ultra violet rays. Sun screen and protective clothing and hats are in short supply meaning albinos are almost certain to acquire cancerous lesions leading to very serious health consequences.

In addition to these disadvantages, they must deal with the dangers of the superstitions which place great value on the body parts of albino people. Unscrupulous individuals kidnap them in order to sell limbs and genitalia to witch doctors for fantastic prices. It is believed by many, that potions and charms made from albino body parts will bring great wealth, good luck and political success to people who purchase these spells, potions and charms from a witch doctor. The lucky ones who survive will often have their hands or feet amputated to satisfy the body parts trade.

Albinos of all ages live in constant fear of abduction and mutilation. The students at our sponsored schools are provided with an education and the confidence to navigate the world outside their school.

Inverness County Cares has pledged to contribute to the Kawambwa Project in Zambia for four years (2019-2023). Our yearly contributions are divided into two parts.

  • We have pledged $30,000 CAD per year to promote education, provide medical needs and help with nutrition, in partnership with Chalice Canada, an international aid organization based in Bedford, NS.
  • Funds collected above the $30,000 CAD will be used for high priority purposes determined by the school administration.

This past Calendar year ICC, with the support of generous donors, has supported three much needed extra projects.

Wall-fence: St. Mary school had a six-foot high wall which was extended upward another two feet. St. Odilia did not have a perimeter fence surrounding the school compound, making security a critical issue for Sister Agnes, the school administrator. After the abduction of a student from the sleeping quarters –later rescued unharmed — she made the building of the wall-fence a top-priority. She saw that students were terrified of intruders who could kidnap them or steal their personal belongings. The wall fence at St Odilia is nearing completion. The joy and security the wall fence brings is immeasurable.

28-seater bus: Students at the Kawambwa Project schools come from villages both near and distant from the school sites in Zambia. At the beginning of each school term the children must be picked up from their home and returned after the school term ends. The school had a small 12-seater van which required many trips to collect all the students. Inverness County Cares contributed a portion of the cost of a new 28-seater bus, which can make fewer trips while collecting more passengers. The bus is also used for field trips to educate the students and give them life experiences. Its delivery was greeted with joyous celebrations by students and staff.

Sisters’ convent roof: The Kawambwa Project schools are administered by the sisters of the Child Jesus, a Zambian order of sisters. The sisters live in a convent which was in urgent need of roof repair because of streams of water pouring into the Sisters’ residence every time it rained. ICC and Chalice have provided the sisters with the funds to repair the roof in the very near future.

Future extra project: ICC has received from Sister Agnes, the school administrator, a list of priority and urgent needs which the school staff has identified. It is to these areas any additional funds raised by ICC above $30,000 will be directed. The list includes tile repair, toiletries such as soap and sunscreen and special paper for producing Braille texts. 

ICC depends on the generosity of many kind supporters to purchase these supplies and complete this necessary maintenance work.

In addition, ICC members continue to work diligently to generate income through a variety of fundraising projects.  Refundable bottles and cans which are dropped off at our collection sites produce a reliable monthly income. Each November we give back to our own communities by donating that month’s revenues to the local food banks. Thanks to much help from ICC members and our local community, ICC grew a cash crop of 5,000 pounds of potatoes in the fall of 2021. ICC has hosted several popular community dinners, held a large pizza sale event for several years and entertained many with lively community concerts. This fall we planted a test plot of garlic to explore the possibility of selling this crop in the future.

Many, many thanks to our wonderful supporters.

Inverness County Cares (ICC) is a local charitable organization, founded in 2012 and based in Inverness County, NS, Canada. ICC works in partnership with Chalice.ca, a Canadian charity, based in Bedford, Nova Scotia. Chalice provides guidance and assistance to help us provide a better life for the children at the Kawambwa schools. The Kawambwa Project involves supporting two schools for albino and visually impaired students, in Northern Zambia. Inverness County Cares always welcomes new members. Individuals who wish to donate, can use the donate button on our website   https://invernesscountycares.com When using E-transfer, please include your mailing address for CRA tax receipts and a thank you message.   E-transfer address:  invernesscountycares@gmail.com or send a cheque to Inverness County Cares, 5414 Route 19, Judique, NS, Canada, B0E1P0. Taxation receipts provided for USA and Canada.

Giving Thanks

By Sister Agnes Bwalya

In our northern Zambian tradition, when workers go to work in the fields in early hours of the day, parents or elders in the family prepare food to eat during and after cultivating. The food prepared is nicely wrapped and put under a tree, sometimes covered with leaves. Everyone starts cultivating and after working for long hours, everyone sits under the tree where food was left, washes their hands and shares the food. Now it will be time for fun and laughter, everyone will make an effort of cracking a joke, good days are remembered, good dances are danced including songs with a message about hard work. When work is done, now it is the turn for young ones to collect plates and other utensils used. On the way home, young ones carry all tools used for cultivating including their sandals. When they reach home water is prepared for bathing and food is prepared for the workers, (men and women). It is a humble way of saying, THANK YOU to those who worked in the field.

In a similar situation the Kawambwa site would like to thank Inverness County Cares staff, sponsors and donors and everyone who has contributed directly or indirectly to make the dreams of Kawambwa school sites come true. You are giving sight to the blind, smoothening the skin of the Albino child and putting a smile on the faces of vulnerable children. You bring hope and happiness to these disabled and vulnerable children.

We are ready to carry your sandals and prepare your water for bathing, a humble symbolic way of saying THANK YOU Inverness County Cares for everything. In return Kawambwa sites will pay back through prayers. Kawambwa site wishes Inverness County Cares and community, a Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year in style.

Zambian Christmas:

Christmas in Zambia is celebrated in style. It is a great event with preparations both by children and elders. Children of the same age form small groups and share an assortment of food and drink. All ages participate in delicious food and good times. A traditional drink called Chibwanto is brewed using maize and munkoyo root. Chicken is most popular but goat/sheep/game meat/cow/rabbits are enjoyed as well.

Every evening, children prepare games to be performed on Christmas day. The beating of drums is done in a colourful way while traditional songs are sung and danced. Children go in the bush to collect our Christmas flower, which has green leaves and a red blossom. it is very important and shows love and appreciation.

The Christmas church service is a big part of the celebrations and in schools and churches the nativity story is acted out by children. On the evening of Christmas Eve 24th of December, whoever you meet, their greeting will be “Christmas”. The first person to say “Christmas” will be given fruits, food or a token gift. The same applies on New Year, where the traditional activity is to leave a branch or to throw it on the roof and shout “New Year”. The secret is that one should be the first, to say “New Year”. Christmas is celebrated in extended families and the community. It is a great celebration for parents and elders with Christmas carols being an important part of the festivities.  

Decorations are made in a traditional way. Most houses are made out of mud and are festively decorated with different colours of soil. People make sure that money is saved to purchase new colourful clothes for this special occasion.

Christmas trees are not part of Zambian traditions, instead a crown like made out of grass is made, to hold a tin with a Christmas flower. The grass and weeds in the courtyards near the homes is well slashed and tidy. However, these days in towns, some Christmas trees are decorated in shop windows. A Zambian Christmas centers around celebrating the birth of Christ and spending time with friends and family enjoying food, music and dance.

The Kawambwa schools send best wishes for a Happy New Year and many happy days in the future.

Inverness County Cares (ICC) is a local charitable organization, founded in 2012 and based in Inverness County, NS, Canada, with a mandate to assist children who are in desperate need.  Their current project involves supporting two schools for albino and visually impaired students in Northern Zambia. Inverness County Cares always welcomes new members. Individuals who wish to donate, can use the donate button on our website   https://invernesscountycares.com

When using E-transfer, please include your mailing address for CRA tax receipts and a thank you message.   E-transfer address:  invernesscountycares@gmail.com

or send a cheque to Inverness County Cares, 5414 Route 19, Judique, NS, Canada, B0E1P0. Taxation receipts provided for USA and Canada.

 

My Greatest Success: A Marathon Race.

 

 

By: Joyce Chanda

Inverness County Cares (ICC) is a local charitable organization, founded in 2012 and based in Inverness County, NS, with a mandate to assist children who are in desperate need.  Their current project involves supporting two schools for albino and visually impaired students in Northern Zambia.

I am Joyce Chanda age 20 years and the third born in a family of six, five girls and one boy. I have partial-sight, one eye is completely blind and the other eye has a special angle in the pupil of the eye which receives light and allows me to see. My biological mother, one day told me that, when she conceived, she attempted abortion by drinking traditional herbs. These herbs, affected my eyes and I was born with partial sight. My remaining eye’s visual acuity is constant, it doesn’t diminish. When I was young, I thought this is how people’s sight was. Now I have learnt to accept this condition I was born with.

At my family home in my village, I was not allowed to associate with others, for they were afraid of me hurting myself or falling into a ditch. Most of the time I just stayed home. Because of my isolation and sad living situation my cousin Petronella took me to live at her home, (this is where I live now when I am home from school).  She is a house wife and a subsistence farmer. I don’t call her cousin, instead I call her my mother, because she has helped me so much in my education. She has taught me all house chores, including cooking foods mixed with ground nuts and she helped me to be sociable. She has provided encouragement, guidance and given me confidence.

In 2007, a student at St Mary’s Special School by the name of Jonas convinced my mother that I should be taken to St Mary’s Special School in Kawambwa, it was not easy for her to accept, but later on she accepted.

At Kawambwa School I had the privilege to be taught by Mrs. Elizabeth Kinda from grade one to four. She helped me so much in my education. In extra-curricular activities I excelled in sports and Madam Gillian Chileya and Mr. Mwangula Newman coached us well, especially long distance running. During my secondary school period, I was the best runner in my hostel and it was then I developed the habit of running early in the morning on Wednesdays and Saturdays. I still continue this habit and it developed my desire is to compete and win and now my dreams have come true.

Today, I am a pursuing a course in education as a secondary home economics teacher at Mansa Teachers’ Training College and in the third and last year of my course. My final examinations start this month, 30th November 2021, up to 10th December, 2021.

I had the opportunity to attend and compete in the running race called a Marathon. It was organized by all eight colleges in the province and each college sent six participants to the race, including a disabled person (if any). I was chosen at my college, soon trainings started and I become committed.

Many had doubts in my ability including the principal of the college, but I assured them I was capable. My lecturer in charge of the special unit, Mr. Kaoma Matthews encouraged me and emphasised, “Disability is not inability”, and many other friends came on board to support me.

The actual day came, November 13th, 2021, all instructions were given to us. A solider was assigned to run behind us in case I experienced blurred vision. In addition, the solider was to blow a whistle in case I missed the route. I tell you, these considerations, gave me confidence, joy, peace and happiness and inspired my colleagues as well.

We started running in the morning around 6:00 AM, I ran very, very fast in the first 30 minutes and I reduced the speed for ten minutes, again I ran like a jet, for another 35 minutes. I was very constant with my running speed until very close to the finish. When I looked behind I saw a man coming and I felt as if he were chasing me… from nowhere, energy came and I ran very fast and reached the finish line.

I just heard people shouting, “Disa Joy! Disa Joy! (an abbreviation for disabled and Joyce.) Guess! The! Position! One!!!! In 21 km women’s Marathon race for students in higher education.

What a great success! What a success!! I was jubilant.

My winning of this medal, has created in me total SELF confidence. Now I believe that I can do things with practice. I am so happy. My heart has filled with joy and confidence in myself and it has come with a great lesson to me… that I can do anything despite of my condition.  I learned is the heart, not the physical well-being that determines success. What you tell your heart, is what will happen.

My staying in Kawambwa has been a great blessing, physically, psychologically and spiritually. Thank you Kawambwa for giving me the opportunity to realize my dreams. God Bless.

 

Inverness County Cares always welcomes new members. Individuals who wish to donate, can use the donate button on our website  https://invernesscountycares.com

When using E-transfer, please include your mailing address for CRA tax receipts and a thank you message.   E-transfer address:  invernesscountycares@gmail.com

or send a cheque to Inverness County Cares, 5414 Route 19, Judique, NS, Canada, B0E1P0. Taxation receipts provided for USA and Canada.

 

Wall Fence Construction at St Odillia

 By: Nervous Chimba

My name is Nervous Chimba, a totally blind pupil at St Odillia Special School for the blind and albinos in Northern Zambia. I am from a family of four, with two girls who are sighted, with myself who is blind and my brother who is deaf. My brother by the name of Savour was involved in a road accident at the age of twelve when coming back from school. He was hit by a motor bike and lost his hearing and myself I was born blind. My parents named me James, but as I was growing, I was nervous in most situations, especially when it is dark or when left alone. My fears were expressed in dropping tears and I nicknamed myself “Nervous” and it is now my name, and I like it so much.

My mother died of tuberculosis and when I was six and my father died when I was nine. He fell when he was cutting branches from a tall tree on a windy day. In the Northern part of Zambia, people cut branches to burn and create fertilizer for cereal crops, it is called the Chitemene system of agriculture. Today, I live with my grandparents (when I am not in school) and their first grandson who takes care of us. I am 19 and in grade eight, I started my grade one at the age of eleven.

St Odillia since its inception in November 1962, did not have a wall fence and students were at risk. We have experienced a lot of theft from the outsiders, since people from the nearby village can enter our hostels and get our belongings. Inside my heart, I never trusted any one and trespassing was very common. I often wondered what could happen if a murderer entered my hostel and attacked me as I was sleeping. Yes, I could jump and shout, “Thief!! Thief!!”. However, since I am blind, when asked to explain, I could only say, “I heard the voices of men and I felt as if they were advancing towards me”.

Sr Agnes the school administrator explains, “A totally blind person is very insecure inside (inner fear) and this needs to be managed or a blind person will be disoriented and unable to live confidently. Blind students living in an environment where there is fear of abduction, trespassing, theft and unknown voices, experience great torture and terror of the unknown. “Activities for Daily Living” is a very important course in our school curriculum, for it teaches blind people how to come to terms with their environment. Therefore; a wall fence is the greatest tool in managing insecurity for a totally blind person.”

This state of fear and dread I thought was hidden in me, was in reality noticed by many. One day an albino friend Matthews Chishimba, approached me in a friendly way and also expressed his fears for our wellbeing. I tell you I was consoled as he explained to me that he was also afraid to be attacked by strangers. Through this conversation our friendship started and we tried to analyse the situation. One day we organized a meeting and approached the school administration over security at the school. We suggested two things, to increase the security personnel and to build the wall fence. It was not possible for the funds just were not available, what remained was prayer. Here I can strongly and boldly say, “Prayer is the only key.” We started having novena prayers privately in our hostels, our housemothers knew and they also encouraged us.

God answered our prayers in August 2021, through Inverness County Cares, a society in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada. Our site director Sr Agnes Bwalya came and announced to us that the wall fence we so fervently prayed for, would be a reality. We cried and rejoiced. All of us at once said, “Yes”. It was amazing, inside my heart said, “God is great and he is the God of surprise. God is ready to answer to our prayers, God is not deaf”.

The construction of the wall fence is underway with two sides completed and they are still building the other two sides. The completed height of the wall will be 15 blocks from the foundation to the finished point, each block is 8 inches with some mortar between each block. Three blocks will be buried in the underground leaving 12 blocks as the final height or approximately 8 feet or more.

 A great burden will be lifted from our shoulders. We will be able to live and sleep confidently within the walls of our school. All pupils, especially the Albinos who are terrified of the stories about killings and mutilations, will have peace and security. Our privacy which is key to human dignity, will be supported. The wall will be like the arms of the Lord, embracing us and protecting us. We cannot ever begin to express all our gratitude for this act of goodwill, from our friends in Canada.

Inverness County Cares always welcomes new members. Individuals who wish to donate, can use the donate button on our website  https://invernesscountycares.com

When using E-transfer, please include your mailing address for CRA tax receipts and a thank you message.   E-transfer address:  invernesscountycares@gmail.com

or send a cheque to Inverness County Cares, 5414 Route 19, Judique, NS, Canada, B0E1P0. Taxation receipts provided for USA and Canada.

Potato Harvest in Judique

This spring 2021 Inverness County Cares (ICC) members gathered in Judique to plant a potato crop in support of their project helping a school for Albinos in Zambia. The garden plot is situated beside a stream on the John and Theresa MacInnis property in Judique. The brook has probably flooded the area over the years, producing a beautiful fertile flood plain. This fall the ICC garden has produced a bumper crop of beautiful pesticide free potatoes which are being sold as a fundraiser for Inverness County Cares.

In May 2021 many varieties of potatoes were planted, blue (all the way through), Caribe (blue skin), Red Pontiacs, Fingerlings, Kenebec, Harvest Gold, Yukon gold, Highland Russets and Dakota Russets.  Some were purchased as seed and some were saved from our harvest last year.

The garden plot measures 90 by 135 feet and 38 rows of potatoes were planted, each row being 90 feet long. Using two TroyBilt tillers, the ground was tilled many times to loosen the soil and break up the earth into finer particles. A plow attachment was used to mound the soil and create hills. The potatoes were planted approximately 10 inches apart with our calculations showing that 20 lbs of potatoes will fill a 100-foot row. After the potatoes were planted the rich soil was easily mounded on top of the potatoes. The rows were spaced to allow for cultivation by tiller. The field was irrigated using the system provided by Marlanda Strawberry Farms (Joannie and Angus MacDonell).

It was a team effort with people rock picking, cutting potatoes, measuring and marking rows, hoeing the rows, raking to cover, providing refreshments and rototilling. The planting process took about three days. Many hands made light work. Six of the 38 rows (100 pounds) will go to Holly’s Helping Hands Food Bank.

The crop grew well this summer and produced large healthy plants. Part of the field was dug September 25th, with John J MacDonald and Leon Livingstone doing the honors with the tractor and plow as well as 12 pickers. The potatoes (approximately 2600 lbs) were bagged after they had an opportunity to dry out.

Friday, October 1, the potato harvest was celebrated and completed with ‘The Great Judique Potato Lift’, an outdoor picnic organized by Bill Murphy with funding from the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage. There was music, a BBQ and of course the Potato Lift. The remaining rows were dug using Lauchie Rankin’s tractor and a hand guided single furrow plow provided by Leon Livingstone. This lifted and turned over the potatoes for easy picking by approximately 30 volunteers of all ages, who got down and dirty in that fine earth. Approximately 1100 hundred additional pounds of potatoes were uncovered (Friday) from the 7 (90 foot) rows. These potatoes, mainly Russets were very large (up to 8 inches long) and oblong shaped, making peeling very easy. 

Many thanks to the numerous people who came to buy potatoes on Friday and those who bought potatoes in the following days. Your support will help provide life essentials and an education for the blind and albino children at the schools in Zambia. Thank you to everyone who worked countless hours to make sure the crop was successful.

Our two Inverness County Cares refundable can and bottle collection trailers in Mabou and Port Hood, are all sporting new signs designed by Camille Chapman and created by Maple Signs of Port Hawkesbury. We want to express out thanks to Ted Van Zutphen, Stanley Beaton and Raymond DeBont for looking after the collection trailers and to our supporters who donate their cans and bottles to support our project in Zambia and the Port Hood food bank. 

 

Inverness County Cares always welcomes new members. Individuals who wish to donate, can use the donate button on our website  https://invernesscountycares.com

When using E-transfer, please include your mailing address for CRA tax receipts and a thank you.   E-transfer address:  invernesscountycares@gmail.com

or send a cheque to Inverness County Cares Box 99, Judique, NS, Canada, B0E1P0. Taxation receipts provided for USA and Canada.

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