As we come to the end of this tumultuous year, I feel obliged to present an update of the great facility that you all combined efforts and resources to bring into existence. This is, of course, the Community Center of the United Church of God at Madzimawe in Kasenengwa district of the Eastern Province of Zambia.
Originally, this project included a strong perimeter wall fence all-round the 50m x 40m main area, with a strong metal gate. Inside this was a borehole first fitted with a hand-pump but later upgraded to solar power with accessible water points for the surrounding community of two thousand plus villagers. Other structures included a storeroom and quarters for the caretaker. This was followed by the main structure, a commodious events hall for Sabbath services and other activities of the Church, e.g. Passover, Feast of Tabernacles, training workshops etc. A water-borne ablution block for group gatherings was also constructed on one corner.
These were the gist of the project. However, the budget was big and your three entities graciously decided to share out portions of the project. LifeNets International appeared to coordinate the input by both Good Works and LifeNets-Australia. On the other hand, the local brethren also contributed labor whenever required. This included clearing the land, digging the foundations, providing the aggregates like crushed stones, building sand, including actual building works, for no building contractor was hired.
Within three months, most of the structures were in place and the site even hosted the Feast of Tabernacles in 2020. However, it was noticed that more needed to be done by the local brethren after the donors had done their part.
First, there was need to find means of generating resources for the day-to-day running costs of the facility. This was secured by establishing a citrus orchard that now has almost 100 trees in second-year fruiting, in addition to bananas and guavas. These are sold to the public and already bring in a bit of money for maintenance of the premises.
Next, challenges of food preparation and eating were noticed during meetings. The food was cooked in the hot sun and brethren squatted on stones in the open to eat.
Consequently, local mobilization of resources saw the building of a cafeteria where food cis now prepared under hygienic conditions and partaken in a respectful environment. No appeal was made to our good donors for this particular structure.
In similar vein, work on yet another structure was started through local effort. This was to comprise a library for UCG resource materials. Initially, it was also supposed to include a facility for producing and reproducing translated UCG resources for the surrounding community. However, funding for this could not be secured. Nevertheless, the brethren have been able to collect sand washed over by the rains and make cement blocks.
Right now the foundation box for the structure has been built and awaits more resources for the building to grow.
It is planned that this particular building should also accommodate a nursery school for the small children in the surrounding villages.
Other rooms will also be used for short-duration courses for youths who fail to continue their education. The aim is to equip them with simple survival skills that can keep them away from juvenile delinquency and help them achieve productive livelihoods. These will include bricklaying, woodwork and carpentry for male youths and cookery and tailoring for the girls.
Yet in the offing is a small but very useful structure to be built on an anthill in the orchard. This is to be a two-bedroom private guest house for any visiting member of the Church, e.g. pastors and deacons from other congregations. It will be a wonderful alternative to expensive hotels and amid air-pollution. It is planned to have self-catering facilities with fully furnished living room and bedrooms. Hopefully, this dream will be realized within the coming year.
Generally, Chief Madzimawe and the community have come to regard Madzimawe UCG Center as a facility that can contribute towards the betterment of the people and improvement of character through teaching of good Christian values. For the Church, Madzimawe offers the opportunity to Preach the Gospel, and Prepare many People for a better existence in the Kingdom of God.
-- Filius Jere