Update on Richard

I know I've just posted my menus for the week, but I wanted to also post an update on Richard.

For those of you who might be reading this who are new, last year I challenged myself to ride 1,000 km on my bike, in 6 months. Not a great challenge, but for a terminally unfit Fat Dormouse, it was challenge enough. But not only that, I wanted to raise 1,000€ in sponsorship - I knew that if people had given me money, I would have to do the challenge. I need motivation, people! I completed the cycling in time, about a week before the end of August, and thanks to a donation from my sister in October, I raised the 1,000€.
Here is my first blogpost about the Challenge.

This money was destined for the Chisomo Community School (link to site here ) which is supported, in no small way, by our friend Richard, who is renovating a house here in St Just. But also, he is trying desperately hard to build new school buildings, with help from the people of the Chisomo village in Zambia, despite his own not-very-good-health. He puts in a lot of his own money and cares passionately about the children of the community.

But, for some reason which I still don't fully understand, he has been persecuted, falsely arrested and spent time in prison. In his own words: "Police cells, prison, court appearances, threats of deportation, death threats, loss of personal possessions, three robberies etc etc." For nine months he has had the threat of a long prison sentence hanging over him, for, as far as he knows, stealing his own property...All this seemingly instigated by the greed of certain people who wanted to take the property that Richard had provided for the school. Unfortunately, due to what has happened the school building plans have had to go on hold:
" By now the 1000 pupils at Chisomo Community School should be in new classrooms, with a sports field and library. Instead they are still in the cowshed we built, using two pit latrines which are foul. Because of the kindness of two donors, we have been able to start work on securing the cowshed, and we are looking at an appropriate toilet technology to build new ones. Maybe one day, we can revive the plans to build a new school."

Finally, on Thursday, we heard that the case has been dropped.Finally. As he says "Hardly a surprise as they admitted to me several times they had no evidence." Unbelievable!!! Richard included in the email a recap of what he had gone through during his time in prison - really quite distressing that this could happen to someone who has only cared about the poorest people in the country and tried to make life better, using his own money, resources and time.

But we can, at least, be thankful that he is out and his name cleared. But, quite incredibly, he plans on returning to continue his work. Me, I'd be out of the country like a rat from a drainpipe, never to return. But not him, he says "I haven' t decided what to do yet long term, or even medium term, as a lot will depend on Immigration and whether they will allow me to stay as a permenent resident. This status means I can come and go as I please." So, while I wouldn't want to go to Zambia, I will be trying to continue to support Richard and the school, through providing resources and money, wherever possible. Maybe you could also donate something to help Richard continue his work for those who need it so much.


  1. i am so relieved that your friend is free now -- what a horror and in the name of helping and caring for these precious children...thank you for supporting him -- he needs that so much right now so he can continue his wonderful work -- bless you all! hugs...


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