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Fr David’s October letter from his parish in Zambia

Dear Maz and Bernard, Maggie and Bernard, & Everyone Else at the Soup Lunch,

It was a great blessing to receive your September donation of £231.20 despite all the problems you tell me of as regards parking places for those coming to Sunday Masses as also presumably for the Friday Soup Lunches.

Here the news is that I’m still with this wretched shingles but the pain at times seems to be less severe and anyhow I see so many worse off than me, especially at the hospital and prison, but also in the compounds where the poorest live, that it helps me to be less concentrated on myself. I’m keeping up my usual apostolic tasks; last Sunday at the prison for Mass and yesterday visiting the sick in one of the wards, and of course every day at my office there are those with problems, sometimes asking for a prayer, but mostly for financial help, money to pay the bus fare after discharge from hospital and prison, food, emergency help to pay the rent, sometimes as little as £10, emergency fees, food, and many more.

With money good people like you send me with Sr Juster and my two faithful SVP members, Patricia and Blackson, last week we took what we could to the prison, food, soap etc. to the 19 men in the so-called sick bay cell, most of them needing better food than the once a day boiled maize, beans and/or cabbage supplied by the prison, to be able to cope with the ARVs; and then we took to the female section soap, sugar, a change of food, something extra for the 6 out of 29 women who had babies or very small children, plus a few other items they had asked for, including 3 big plastic tubs for bathing and washing clothes and babies in.

We have had to help three pregnant women who were not able to cope one way or another, two of them being not physically or mentally all there, one of them not even knowing who the father of the child in her womb was. We bought baby clothes and other necessities for them. The good news is that two days ago one of them, Mercy, gave birth to a healthy boy and yesterday we paid her bus fare home with him. I’ve promised two women, subsistence farmers, to help them with fertilizer for their maize crops and also one young man at college who prefers to have about £100 to do business with and make enough money for himself to pay his fees rather than be coming back to me at the beginning of each term to ask for help. I had nevertheless to help one of the student nurses who came with an emergency appeal less he be sent home and be required to repeat the year. He has though, as several others, given me a letter promising to repay all that he has received after graduation and when he is in employment.

All of which is to say how grateful I am for your regular donations.

With best wishes to you all plus a special prayer for those wishes to be given by the Lord in great abundance,

Fr David Friday

23rd October 2015