This third wave has hit us far harder than the last two. Lots of local people do not get tested and are sent home with medication. Unfortunately, a lot of people are not wearing masks and many are dying, mostly “cause unknown”. Coffin makers in Lusaka are overwhelmed by the sharp increase in demand for their products, the news reported yesterday. The mortuaries are full, the official burial sites in Lusaka are fully booked. Positivity rate of tests is at 25 – 28% at the moment.
The Zambian watchdog’s post on Facebook today showed an article written by someone who had family in hospital with Covid and was desperate to show the appalling breakdown of Covid care. It tells of patients dying of neglect as the few exhausted nurses cannot cope with the increasing numbers and no visitors are allowed in to help, give water, food, oxygen etc. The situation is beyond belief, both alarming and very worrying.
Only a very small number of Zambians have received a first vaccination of Astra Zeneca and doctors have only just started with the second doses. First doses are no longer available but apparently we should receive the Sinopharm vaccine from China soon as well as the Johnson vaccine that is to be donated at some point.
Last Thursday Covid guidelines were issued: all schools to close for 21 days, Colleges and Universities to close and students to work online for the next month from home, churches allowed to conduct only 2 one-hour services per week, all conferences and workshops to be suspended, restaurants to operate on take away basis only. Weddings to be approved by health authorities and funerals limited to 50 mourners with masks and physical distancing to be observed on public transport and in general. Almost a total shut down to try to contain the numbers of Corona cases. Some head and deputy head teachers at the schools and colleges our pupils attend have passed away just recently as have other people in high positions, who seemed healthy and strong, so it shows it is not only the poorer people who catch the Corona virus but anyone can be fatally affected.
FCTrelief had to make some quick decisions. As lots of our pupils and staff had shown ‘flu symptoms, had coughs and colds these past weeks and were now getting worried after hearing that the army would come round to check on the new guidelines being observed, we decided to close operations for the 21 days and not offer take away lunches this time.
Instead, the teachers helped pack up food packages – mealie meal, soya, cooking oil and vegetables from our farm and these were distributed to the pupils and their families/guardians in two groups – the first on Monday and the other on Tuesday, while Eugene and Peter delivered the packages to the 12 pupils in George compound so there was as little mixing as possible. We told everyone to be very careful, stay at home and not to mix with other people.
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The 2 boys who completed their skills training year in Chikupi in 2020 have now found work together on a large farm and FCT gave them food for the first month and wished them well – if they work hard they will get contracts. Misheck and Memory received 2nd-hand laptops from their sponsors and were very grateful. Some of the students we sponsor came to give career talks to the older pupils about life at college and University and their courses.
Alex and Gift talked about studying medicine – over 2000 students start in the first year and only about 200 can continue in the second year – they are both determined to be among the 200 and continue their studies – Zambia needs good doctors and nurses. Life is challenging for our older students too, but it is a privilege for them to be able to study with our support and they are very grateful for this chance – for themselves and to help make Zambia a better place.
In these very challenging Covid times, more people are asking for our assistance and we are dependent on our sponsors to help them meet their needs, whether it is for food, medical expenses, for their families or to meet funeral costs. Thank you for your continued support which is highly appreciated.
Alex in his home on the Uni grounds
How Alex and his colleagues dry their clothes
Memory got a new laptop for her 3 year pharmacy college course...
... and Mishek as well for his last school year at David Kaunda college plus Uni next year. He also needed new shoes.
Prekeria is a student nurse, who FCT sponsors.
In the pink house, Prekeria and 38 other colleagues live together during their practical attachment at the hospital for a few weeks, then the other 40 in her class come to live there when the first group return to college – or learn from home in the present situation.
Our caretaker and gardener, Peter, receiving his first ever birthday cake! He is not sure of his date of birth but we used the one on his ID card. All our staff receive a cake on their birthday, a small token from FCT and they really appreciate it.