Since teacher Christopher Mukuwa was no more able to supervise the projects due to his illness, maintenance had been neglected, for example in the kitchen and the solar power backup system. These projects are however of eminent significance for the school, because a kitchen plays a key role in a boarding school and because of the present shortage of energy in Zambia (see news Kariba), the solar backup system has to compensate for the power cuts to enable prep in the evenings. I therefore had intensive talks with the headmaster Robinson Mulamfu, caretaker George Mubiana and some teachers during my visit in July and August.
1. Power backup system
Five years ago the solar backup system was installed to enable the evening prep in case of a power cut. The bad rainy season last year caused a serious power shortage in Zambia. Every day there are power cuts which make this system very important for the school. Unfortunately I found that the solar equipment was being used during the day, despite warnings. This often emptied the batteries, which each time reduced the lifespan by one month. The batteries of 4 power backup systems were no more able to provide the electrical energy for the 3 hours prep in the evening. Fortunately the batteries of the labs were not often used. Therefore caretaker George Mubiana (right top and left below) swapped them with the ones in the prep classrooms. To prevent this problem in future I took switches with me from Switzerland to restrict the power usage to the evenings. George installed them in all 12 power backup systems, protected by a metal box which was made by Christopher’s son, to prevent the settings from being changed. Additionally, he will install the power backup system for the new 1×3 classroom block.
2. Cooking pots
When I arrived in Namwala no cooking pot worked perfectly. Often the cooks had to divert to the outdoor kitchen, although the pots were revised by the delivery firm last April. One pot was still waiting for transport to Lusaka in order to weld a leakage. In another pot the heating elements had to be replaced. Another problem was that the school had not used the original MCBs when they repaired the pots, which caused a reduced performance. After my arrival in Zambia I collected these fuses in Lusaka and took them with me to Namwala. Caretaker George Mubiana installed them immediately, and fortunately afterwards six pots were again functioning properly. The heating elements for the seventh pot were replaced and the leaking pot was taken to Lusaka. This way the kitchen was again operational. In order to prevent problems in the future we had a meeting with the cooks and George Mubiana and it was decided that in case of a breakdown caretaker George had to be informed and only he is authorized to do the repairs. The school administration promised to keep the original parts in stock.
3. School furniture
At the moment 250 desks are waiting to be finished at the house of Christopher Mukuwa. Additionally there are about 150 broken chairs and desks in the metal workshop. The wood for the writing surface and the seats is still lacking. The school will provide this wood and has ordered the planing of it at the carpentry workshop of the Catholic Church. Metal work teacher Harrison Martiguluka (on the right of the picture) is now in charge of the repair of the school furniture.
4. Ablution blocks
The number of pupils has increased during the last years from 1000 to 1500, so we decided last year to build four new ablution blocks: two at the girls ’dormitories and two at the boys’ dormitories. Soon we will start with the girls’ section. But first the pipes of the old ablution blocks and the sewage will be cleaned (this has never been done in the 49 years’ existence of the school) in order to accelerate the draining of the sewage.
Teacher Kebby Malambo (below in the blue shirt) is newly responsible for the orchard and will take care of the watering, fertilizing and cutting of the trees. Additionally he will extend the orchard with an area for banana trees and build a second pond for this area.
Near to the girls’ dormitories there is a need for a small incinerator. The present incinerator is near to the boy’ dormitories. This makes no sense and causes blockages of the girls’ toilets.
8. Namstift committee
Apart from Christopher the following teachers are members of the Namstift committee: Mr Mukela Kalunga (deputy head teacher), Joseph Mudenda, Mr Muleya Mainza, Mrs Evalyn Mutenda Chinyama, Mrs Violet Mwansa.
– Johannes van der WeijdenSome new pictures from Namwala
The school, seen from the watertower, with the two new 1×3 classroom blocks left and right