Thursday, 30 April 2009


Yesterday we met Alex who is the Project Officer for all we are doing in Serenje. He is an amazing guy who visits the communities every week and helps them in their fields. So far we have sponsored 190 orphans to go to school and meeting some of them today brings it all home.

Today Simon and Sean lead some training for the lcoal pastors, and Lee and Sarah worked with the children's workers and Catrina and I spent time with the women's leaders.

It is so inspiring hearing from women who have lost their husbands to HIV but who are trusting God for their future. They were very keen to be in touch with the Kerith women and many of them wrote letters for us to bring back.


Wednesday, 29 April 2009


We also met a family who we helped buy seeds. It was great to see their field of crops. Recently because of the cold, their previous harvest ran out but because of the extra seeds they didn't go hungry.

Tomorrow Catrina and I are meeting with the women leaders. Please pray that this is a special time of sharing together. Thanks. Zoe

PS. These messages are quite short because they are being sent as text messages via my mobile phone as there is no Internet connection in the area we are visiting.

Wish You Were Here

I wish all of you could have been with us here today to see what is happening on the ground. This morning after visiting the District Commissioner (the Government official overseeing Serenje) we went to visit Kashitu, one of the four Serenje districts we are involved in.

Although the schools here are on holiday there were 18 orphans who we are sponsoring having catch up lessons to miss up for all the lessons they have missed-how humbling! We also visited a family who have been given seeds as part of the project. Big revelation of the day for me was that monkey nuts(peanuts)grow underground!

From there we travelled about 20 miles to Kankoso School which has partnered with Sandy Lane Primary School in Bracknell-again very exciting to see some of the early results of that-including a garden where they use what they grow to feed the orphans attending the school and to raise money for books.

We also got given a chicken that may be tea tonight! I do wish you could come here and see what is going on here-I think you would be excited by it all.

Hopefully the blogs, as well as the videos and pictures we are going to bring back will provide some substitute.


Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Arrival in Serenje

Having got to Lusaka airport at 6 a.m. this morning Zambian time (Zambia is one hour ahead of the UK) after going to a guest house for a shower and some breakfast we went to the the offices of the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (the partner we are working with in Zambia) to meet the bishop who leads EFZ.

We then had a five hour drive to Serenje (North East of Lusaka) to meet a group of about 20 pastors and then to a guest house for tea and the comedy of putting up the mosquito nets!

We are all off to bed in a minute as none of us really slept on the plane. Tomorrow we go to see what the project has achieved in three of the four districts in Serenje.

Howard Reece-Smith is off to the local hospital to see how they could partner with the hospital where he works-all very exciting.

I have also been praying for the Alpha courses starting this week-can't wait to hear how they went.


P.S. I watched Slumdog Millionaire on the plane-very good but I was expecting more laughs and less challenge!

Meeting Bishop Paul Mususu

We arrived in Lusaka in the early hours of this morning. After a quick breakfast we met with Bishop Paul Mususu. He talked about the enormity of the issue of HIV in Zambia. He explained that although they can't help everybody they can make a difference.

Together with EFZ we can make a difference in Serenje. He also talked about how the recession has increased the price of maize, which is the staple food. This will impact on huge numbers of the poorest.

We are travelling five hours to Serenje now and will meet with the pastors when we arrive!

Zoe Hayes, Lusaka, Zambia

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Welcome to the Serenje blog

We thought this would be a great way to communicate what we're doing in Serenje, Zambia.

Since our first Kerith trip to Serenje in November 2007, we've developed a 5 year plan in partnership with Tearfund and the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ). Here's a reminder of what will be happening over the next 5 years:
• 3000 vulnerable children of school going ages will access education support
• 600 people living with HIV will have access to improved home and community based care through 100 well trained caregivers
• 1000 small scale farmers will have access to improved farming techniques, crop knowledge and seed varieties resulting in household food and income sufficiency
• 120 leaders will be capacitated to initiate and sustain local development programmes.

How exciting to be part of this vision.

In November 2008 we had our first gift day and raised over £100,000! Thank you so much to everyone. A small team of us (Simon and Catrina, Sean Green from the Reading Church, Lee Layton-Matthews, Sarah Boyle, Howard Reece-Smith, Lindsey Reeece-Smith and myself) are going back to Serenje on Monday. We're really excited about seeing everyone again and seeing the difference the money has made to people's lives.

We'd value your prayers while we're away and we'll keep you posted on how we're getting on!