Zambia Africa 2012′
Originally Posted on September 10, 2012
Reposted July 2021
It is almost 2 months until I travel to Africa again but I woke up at 5:30 am this morning feeling as excited as if I was leaving tomorrow.
I am going back to Zambia to see Njamba and his family for the second time. The first time was August 2011 and this time I will be joined by my wonderful husband Carl
This time his mother Simutumwa and twin sister Ngebe will not be there but we will meet his father Dominic and two brothers.
From left to right, Dominique (father), Mutiowa 14yrs (brother), Mwualuka (interpreter/WV Volunteer), Me, Joanne and Njamba 17yrs. They always seem to look so serious in pictures. I am not sure if it is due to the fact that they are not used to getting their picture taken or if they are posing for the picture. Later when Njamba got comfortable with us he got used to being in photos and he is posing in a lot of them. He is quite a card.
Just in case you haven’t read my first blog I will give you an update.
I started sponsoring Njamba, then a ten year old boy, through World Vision in 2005. He lives in Barotseland, Western Province, Zambia, in a small village in the Barotse Plains near Liuwa Plains National Park.
The Barotse Plains flood every year so it is basically impossible to get there by road from Mongu, the capital city of Western Province from November to May depending on the rain fall. They have since built a road so it is much easier now.
In Zambia the government will allow you to use the land to build a grass hut and live off the land but if the government wants to use that land you have to move.
Often when the rains come people have to move as the area they have built on floods. There are villages scattered in all rural areas of Zambia and from my understanding a village constitutes a family. The grandparents, parents , children & grandchildren all live in an area of huts. They have boys and girls separate sleeping quarters, a cooking tent, a social tent etc. Sort of like a house only the rooms are not attached to each other. The next set of huts you see a long the road is another village and there are many.
I went last year. 2011, to meet Njamba, my sponsored child through World Vision for the first time and my main goal was to take items that he could use to make extra income. His parents are sustenance farmers who grow maize & rice and have a few cattle.
I took many things and these are a few items. A chisel set, saw, tape measure, material to make quilts, wind up flash light, battery operated flashlight, notebooks, harmonica, clothes, soccer balls, pots, a blanket, Corelle dishes and a single mattress. They sleep on the ground.(see last years blog , Gifts to earn extra money)
I took 75lbs of stuff in two big suitcases.
I am going back again this August 2012 and my focus will be education.
With my husband Carl, coming with me this time, he will see what I have been obsessed with for the last year.
To say that it has been a lot harder to organize this trip is an understatement as I do not have the help of World Vision.
While researching my trip I came across a blog from Kimm who’s husband is working with the Ministry of Agriculture in Zambia. Kimm & Thom are originally from Michigan and are living in Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia, for an 18 month period. Kimm’s blog( Letters from Lusaka)
http://kimmxjayne.wordpress.com/ was so helpful describing life in Lusaka it took away much of the anxiety of traveling to another country. Kim has since moved back to Michigan so you to look back in her blogs to learn about Lusaka. She is quite a comedic writer and well worth the read.
Here is a letter explaining in a nut shell what has happened trying to arrange this trip.
Hi Kimm & Thom,
Well, So much has happened in the last little while.
On June 6
I called Max –
I am sure you know, but just in case you don’t , he was the driver who drove me to Kalabo last year to visit Njamba and I was calling him-to tell him I had some business cards etc. made up for him here in Canada. He didn’t sound well and he told me he had a cough. I asked if he had gone to the doctor and he said he wife was looking after him as she is a nurse. He said he would be fine.
It was quite difficult to understand him as he was so weak, but he said that he would email me the name of a friend of his who could arrange a 4×4 to take Carl & I from Mongu to Kalabo. That turned out to be Freddrick.
Jami my friends daughter came with me last but this year we had planned to use Max’s 8 seater bus and take our WV guide David and his wife, Max & his wife and Carl and I to visit Njamba again in 2012.
The plan was that would drive us and Max was not sure if his 8 seater bus would be able to handle driving in the sand road. They had completed ( supposedly) the new construction on the road for 13K, but understandably, he was not sure if the rest would be done by the time I got to Zambia.
You have to drive on 75K’s of sand with dunes from Mongu west to Kalabo north of the Kalahari desert and often there is water on both sides. Details to follow.
The next day I received the email to contact Frederick so I called him. It turns out he was the driver in the second vehicle who drove the family back to their village after our visit. I remember him perfectly as he came to the window of the WV vehicle and held my hand as I was crying after just leaving Njamba. He no longer works for World Vision as he was also laid off when WV closed the project where Njamba lived in September 2011.
He said he could arrange for Carl & I to pick up a car in Lusaka for 5million Kwatcha, which I have since priced and it seems reasonable, and Carl has an international license so he can drive us to Mongu.
Then Frederick will take us to Kalabo.
I called Max back on Mon. June 11
to tell him that I had spoken to Frederick and a friend of Max’s wife answered the phone. I asked if this was Fair, his wife and the woman said , Fair is doing OK. I asked if this was Max’s phone and she said yes. I then asked if I could speak to him and she said” No, Max passed away on Saturday.
I was dumfounded, and said that I had no idea and to tell Fair, his wife, that I am so sorry.
( I cried many times over the next few days)
That same day I received an email from David- the guide who still works for World Vision- who was going to travel with his wife Grace, Max, Fair, Carl & I to Kalabo for a vacation. David was thrilled to be able to spend a few days with his wife as he works away from her most of the time.
David informed me that because he still works for World Vision he will not be able to have any contact with me at all unless it is approved by WV Canada & WV Zambia.
The head office here has told me that they promise the families that no one will contact them after a project has closed and I am not to have any contact with David.
So in one fell swoop I have lost our driver, guide and two people whom I thought were my friends.
David had almost lost his job over this and I have been sick with worry that I may have caused this. He is still working for them so I will not contact him for fear of him losing his livelihood. He has three sons he is trying to put through school.
I have emailed Max’s wife Fair to send my condolences but I am not sure she will check Max’s emails and respond to me. I have all of this marketing material for her which is now redundant. Magnet signs for the doors of the Bus, fridge magnets, hats, T-shirts, business cards.( Note on this trip, I did manage to find out where Fair worked in Lusaka as a nurse and was able to get all of the merchandise to her.)
So thank you for letting me know about your furniture moving and for emailing the High Commission that we were visiting you.
I just spoke to Frederick this morning and he has borrowed his daughters car and will meet us in Lusaka and drive us to Kalabo to meet the family again. He has finally spoken to Mwauluka, the interpreter who was with us last year and the family have agreed for us to come
I hope things are well with you and Thom.
What is ironic about Max passing, is that I later found out he died from complications from Diabetes and I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes March 2016 at age 58 so this is close to my heart.
Stay tuned for the next blog in two weeks time if you are still interested in reading about our adventures in Zambia.