The task of restoring Shiwa was and remains a massive and on going task that is time and fund dependant. The concept of restoring a run down old house seemed naively “do-able” in the year 2000! Reality loomed when we discovered it was not just the “simple” restoration of the house or the 80 worker houses, three other large houses, the essentials needed to run a commercial livestock farm, two schools and the 20 bed Government hospital but also a disillusioned unproductive community of 11,000 people! Work began in March 2000. Sorting out how to repair the leaking roof was perhaps the most daunting of tasks particularly as the bulk of the roof stood at a height of 12 meters from the ground on a 45 degree pitch! However, the local Bemba carpenters showed no fear and easily scaled the heights climbing up precarious home made ladders that they were more than comfortable using.

Thousands of 3 x 3 inch eucalyptus wooden battens had to be cut by hand with a pit saw. They removed Sir Stewarts home made lipped clay tiles one by one and settled them down on the upper side of the ceilings, replaced the rotten wooden beams and replaced the tiles. Very little replacement or reinforcing was needed of the main truss beams that had stood the test of time.

Apart from some earthquake induced cracks and fissures , the walls of the house remained structurally sound. The internal refurbishment began with stripping the old paint and some of the flaking plaster, filling cracks, rendering the inner walls and repainting. Under the direction of Jo a team of 6 largely unskilled men re-plumbed bathrooms, painted and restored old furniture, a gang of men and women worked tirelessly to clean out old flower beds. Earth and old manure was moved by the ox drawn wagon loads to restore the lawns and flower beds and by 2003, the old house had taken on a new life. The library and archives were drawn into one area and over the next three years were slowly put into their rightful place. Cataloging of the Library was made possible compliments of Lydia Peterson from Boston and friend Peter Siderman. The archives are now housed in the tower room with Sir Stewarts drawings and maps stored in big metal drawers. Seventeen of his photograph albums have been scanned and rebound. The binding of his letters and diaries follow shortly.

Charlie’s efforts concentrated on getting internal roads, fire guards, 120 km’s of game fence finished, reestablishing the use of the lake , 8,000 hectares of cattle fields, three cattle dip yards, a sheep yard, piggery, dairy , functioning workshop and office and then stocking them. What few hours remained in the day were and are spent clearing the woodland of non-indigenous growth and establishing the natural savanna.

In 2007 Mpandala house was deemed worthy of restoration and Tom undertook to redesign and supervise its transformation from a goat shed to a house and today plays host to many guests.