July, 2007

Dear Friends of Makeni,

The main issue of our November 2006 newsletter was the reunion in Barendrecht and the visit of Andrew Mukuyamba and Joe Silwenga. Later on our contacts with Makeni regarding the projects discussed in Barendrecht were channelled through mail.

The main daily concerns are heavy rain and electricity problems. This year there was a lot of rain that caused worries about the maize, which must be harvested dry. Due to the power-cuts the water pumps gave up. For so many people living in Makeni, water is essential. Our oil lamps of last year are very useful and provide light.

As we have mentioned before Makeni requires support for some projects. The managing committee made some choices:

The roof of the school in Mwomboshi Settlement Village has to be repaired. We received money for this purpose from contractors from the Haarlem area. When the projects mentioned below have been taken care of we will consider the complete renovation of the building and make it an official school; then it will be managed by qualified personnel.

The enlargement of the orphanage is very much desired. A separate dormitory for the boys and girls has to be built. This project costs about 36.000 Euro. The Friends succeeded to gather half of this sum. The NCDO (National Committee for International Cooperation and Sustainable Development) will double the amount after Makeni has sent them the building scheme and the building permission. In the meantime NCDO gave already its consent to start with the foundations. Makeni also needs money for the beds, bed-clothes, some wardrobes and benches. Concerning these items, Aids Angels for Africa in Canada support us.

The timber workshop received machines from the government two years ago. Extension of the building is a very urgent matter. The Bethelkerk in Barendrecht is taking care of this project. They transferred money and Makeni can start the construction of a new workshop. The old building will also be renovated. Barendrecht also puts money at our disposal for new students. For the moment there are only 7 students but after finishing the extension and renovation Makeni hopes to go in full production with about 20 students. Even now they write already enthusiastically about the new teacher and the items they make.

The biogas installation last year built by the students Maarten, Peter and Michiel from Delft is not functioning yet. Volunteers going this summer got detailed instructions and we hope that they can make it happen and that the kitchen of the orphanage can cook using the biogas.

After the visit from Andrew and Joe it became crystal clear that the knowledge to handle a computer is imperative for children and adults. For many years lessons have been given to adults on the present 5 computers with old software. The next step is to give lessons to the children.

A school in Sneek offered 25 computers for that purpose. Also the Hanzenhogeschool Groningen offered us 10 computers. With the help of different companies and the Rotary ICT they can send some students to Lusaka to install English Windows 2000, for which licenses have been donated by Microsoft's Freshstart programme. In September a container of a car dealer will sail to Lusaka. We hope we can put the computers in the leftover space. We need to finance this transportation.

The extension of the school in Makeni from grade 9 to grade 12 currently has a budget of 28.000 Euro. They would like to start giving lessons in January. In the meantime we are hoping for a miracle to happen: For the tables, chairs, blackboards and books 3.700 Euro are needed. The estimate cost for the "practicum" (student worker placement) remains open.

Last November Andrew and Joe visited the Wateringse Veld College. This school started sponsoring the extension of the Makeni school. They promote the idea: "We are going to build, so we will help also the African school to build." By ice-skating, the first 8.000 Euro have been earned by the students. The following school year they will continue with new actions.

Geeske Meems and Cindy Schotte have been working some months as volunteers in the school and in the orphanage. Like all the previous volunteers they were very moved by the orphans. They brought some extras and could give them some special personal attention very much needed by these children.

Geeske and Cindy also made special efforts by giving extra lessons to those who badly needed them. Sometimes there are over forty children in a class room. For some of them it is impossible to keep up. They also started to give computer lessons. Very important for Geeske and Cindy was the warm hospitality they received from

Wendy Dil and the Makeni staff. Sometimes the evenings are long and dull.

In July, volunteers Albert and Annie Meems and Jack Rusthoven were in Makeni for 3 weeks. They took with them a long list of activities. An important task for them is to finalize together with Makeni the building schemes and budgets for the above mentioned projects.

Beyond the question of syllabi, extension and housing of education is the question of teaching supplies. Is it wise to gather all the materials for a practicum in the Netherlands and send them over or can we find and buy all the necessaries in Lusaka?

Jan and Truus Veldkamp hope to visit Makeni in September.

The visit of Ton Linthorst through PUM (Project Uitzending Managers van VNO-NCW) was very important for Makeni. They were taught how to slaughter a pig, to make sausages and smoke ham. All this was completely new for teachers and students. Through Nol Nieuwenhuis, also sent by PUM, there was already a new session of lessons and a further visit has been planned. The cooling necessaries compulsory for the slaughtering and fresh keeping of the meat have already been bought. The next plan is an outlet where Makeni vegetables and meat can be sold in a responsible way. Through Rotary Club of Cape Town and the people of PUM the first actions have already been started.

Besides the first initiative of the grandparents to donate money for the education of the orphans, Elise Snijders organized a foundation in order to give the opportunity to the older orphans to go on with their studies outside Makeni. They will be able to choose the training they like best. Even when they live outside of the compound their lesson-money will be guaranteed.

We consider also the possibility to relate more with the schools in the Netherlands. It would be very interesting for the Dutch students to bring them in closer contact with Zambia and to open for them the world of exchanging experiences with the African students.

In order to make this project possible we appeal to old-volunteers and the friends who have contacts with various schools.

Makeni is still looking for knowledgeable volunteers to work in Makeni. More information can be found at and at the Dutch friends website

Together with Mukwa Origin we have started a project for a timber-workshop located in the North of Zambia. This is a Dutch initiative taken by St. Op Eigen Benen, where handicapped people get a new chance to learn a profession. President Ds. Herman Heijn will visit Makeni in August and discuss the possibilities to continue the cooperation.

Jane's call to provide the children with extra fruit has raised 900 Euro during the Christmas period.

We want to express our utmost gratitude to a lot of people:

With very best regards!

For the board,

Truus Veldkamp