Richard told listeners he’d worked in Zambia for ZCBC (Zambia Consumer Buying Corporation) between 1972 and 1977 and explained that ZCBC were the stores in which Zambians shopped before there was Shoprite! The company was a parastatal (quasi Government) organization. He must have shocked our audience telling them there were so many shortages in those days, that when the stores were due to receive a consignment of cooking oil, sugar or other essential commodities, the first thing management did was to call the police, asking them to come and control the inevitable crowd who would flock to the store the moment they heard that a commodity was back in stock! Long queues and rationing were the order of the day.
After Richard returned to UK amongst other positions held he was the managing director of Scripture Union‘s chain of retail book stores. Ruth had been working for the same chain. Steven told listeners his first wife Susan had died in 2005 and in 2007 he and Ruth had married. In the same year Richard established Mission Possible with a mission to advance the Christian faith by serving the poor, forgotten, and marginalised by serving children and families at risk, training Christian leaders and distributing Christian literature. Mission Possible works in Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda as well as Zambia in Africa, and in some European countries too. While back in Zambia Ruth and Richard would be conducting leadership training for upwards of 100 interdenominational pastors in Livingstone. “Great stuff!” We said, and meant it!
The music on the show was right up to date. We opened with Jesse J’s UK number one ‘Domino’ back to back with ‘More Than This’ from One Direction. George’s Zambian selection promoted CQ featuring Exile with ‘Ndekeleni’ and ‘Ikashishita’ by Pilato featuring Chif. Milli Jam dropped ‘Losing’ by Joe Thomas and ‘Try’ by Frank Ocean. We usually give away a prize of a dinner for 2 at Chanters Lodge every week to the first person to text us telling us who’s singing our oldie of the week, but this week no-one listening knew it was Paul Simon singing ‘Boy In the Bubble’, so no prize! Sometimes I do make it tough! My pick of the week was Madonna’s ‘Masterpiece’ and we closed with hot Nigerian Davido’s hot ‘Demi-Duro’.
We wondered whether Ruth and Richard would have time to do any of the tourist activities during their week in Zambia with daughter Anna and grand-daughter Beatrice. “Well” said Ruth “we’ve already seen, heard and felt the Falls!”. “Felt the Falls?” I wondered. “Yes” said Ruth “I’ve never felt so wet in my life!” We laughed. “Do you work?” I asked Ruth and she explained to listeners that apart from helping Richard with Mission Possible she drives a mobile post office for Royal Mail back in England. Richard also revealed that he chauffeur drives for a limousine company to help meet the expense of running their NGO. “Any famous passengers?” I wondered. “Sometimes” he said “recently Ken Clarke”, explaining to listeners that Clarke is currently Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice in UK.
This Christian, engaging and loving couple told listeners that when they left Zambia at the end of the following week they would be proceeding to Rwanda for more missionary work. Their answer to the inevitable question? In ten years’ time they hoped to be still fit, strong and fulfilling Mission Possible’s mission! Bet they are too!