To volunteer, to me is really one of the most rewarding things one can do in this life. This has been my fourth trip to Zambia, and the second time with Namumba Foundation, the organization I founded together with my wife Joyce Namumba.
We really needed to organize, because in that way we can manage a lot more, than if we would try all these things privately. Even though it wasn’t my first time in Zambia, it still was very exciting and challenging in so many ways. Zambia to me is a very strange country, with so many contrasts.
People are so friendly and kind, and we have always many beautiful experiences. But then there are also bad things happening, like people are also not aware of many things in many ways. Polluting their own country with rubbish and waste for example, throwing it everywhere, and even burning it in their backyards, even burning plastic waste. Poisoning themselves, their children and friends, the air and the soil, where they grow vegetables.
Another thing I observed, many refuse to sleep under a mosquitonet. Even though I have not met one Zambian who did not have had Malaria at least once in his or her life. And still people do not easily use preventive measures. And that is, why still too many die of Malaria. But what can you do, when people do not care about themselves enough? These things are again and again a big challenge that demands my utmost patience and diplomacy.
Having grown up in Germany and spent a major part of my life in Denmark and Norway, I have lived in systems that basically take good care of their weak, sick and old citizens. The challenge now is, to implement similar systems in Zambia, that are fit for the culture and mentality of the people, without forcing an european style health system upon them, which would just be another way of supremacy colonial thinking. That is, how the public and most private hospitals are operating in Zambia today. They are bad copies of Western hospitals. And most of them lack much basic equipment. Not to talk about the nursing culture, which is very, very diffrent from how we do it in Norway. We simply need to find a better way. We need to rediscover and reinvent the Zambian way!
That is, why we are trying diffrent approaches to the matters at hand, as can be seen on our homepage. We need experiment a bit and learn from others, to develop systems that can be implemented in a most useful way, to serve Zambia. We are looking forward to do this with many Zambian volunteers, and of course, if volunteers from other parts of the world will join, we say «welcome!»
Our trip to Zambia in February/March 2016 had three main objectives:
To gain an overview over the diffrent possibilities and plots we currently own and continue building the Lifestyle Clinic
To discuss and plan further steps for the organization and have a closer look at the sustainable agriculture approach
To further develop the concept of the Cup of Hope football tournaments
We were a core of 3 volunteers this time, my wife Joyce, Jan Haugg and I. Jan was invited as an advisor in strategic planning and to inspire us for the sustainable agriculture program.
Following an overview over the achievments during this mission and the next steps ahead.
To point 1)
We currently prosess and work with 4 plots/fields,
One house plot in Chililabombwe, which is the headquarters. We have ordered an architect to make a drawing and construct the headquarters, so a maximum of three foreign volunteers can stay there. The drawings are done, construction will most likely start as soon as we move back to Zambia by the end of this year.
One plot in Kasumbalesa, where the Lifestyle Clinic is being built. We were surprised when coming there. Last time Joyce was working on the plot in august 2015, the walls were raised to roof level and the rooms were also being raised. Unfortunately, we did not think about a care taker. Now the grass had been growing so high, that the building was covered. And bypassers had used some of the premises for toilets. We had to clean up and then decided to put a temporary roof on one room and a door, so a care taker can move in and slash the grass and chase people away that want follow the call of nature on our ground. This has been done. We are aiming at finishing most of the building by the end of this year. By the start of next year we want to drill a borehole for water and finish the sanitation and electricity, mainly solar panels.
2 hectars in Fitobaula, were we originally are palnning a care center for the elderly and some organic gardening. We have not been able to further communicate or meet with the leaders of that community to continue developing the cooperation at this time. Wes hall continue on that side by the end of the year, when we move to Zambia.
5 hectars near Kabwe, here we had meetings with some neighboring farmers, to establish an organic agriculture school for the youth of the surrounding villages. The preliminary soil testing was promising, and the support from the local farmers is given. The last thing we need to do, is test the soil for led, since there is a possibility of led in the ground, because of the mining activities in that area. We shall continue this when coming back to Zambia by the end of this year. If we find led in the soil, we need plant plants with detox properties and help the land to regenerate itself, while looking for an alternative to start the school.
Additionally to that we are communicationg with the civic council in Chililabombwe, to support us with farmland near the Lifestyle Clinic, to establish another organic farm for healthy food supply and medicinal plants production.
To point 2)
We had a fruitful meeting with our two main administrators, Henry Mwansa and Bob Mtonga. Here we discussed the next steps for the organization. We concluded on a few points, such as
Local insurance policy for future employees and volunteers of the Foundation
Discussing further the means and possibilities of employment for the Foundation in the future. What can be done by volunteers, and where do we need to employ professionals?
These things will be followed up in July and by the end of the year, when we move to Zambia.
Concerning the sustainable agriculture projects, we identified 2 key partners, that can help to train the pioneers that will be spearheading the projects. These pioneers shall receive training at either Riverside Farm Institute in Kafue, or Dawn Trust Community in Ndola. Both places have good approaches and principles in these matters. Key personell will be sent to train in one of these places as soon as we identified these individuals. This is an ongoing process.
To point 3)
The Cup of Hope concept is having already a remarkable impact on the communities involved. During this mission trip we could host the tournament in 4 diffrent districts, in Kabwe (Central Province) and in the Copperbelt in Mufulira, Ndola and for the first time Cup of Hope girls in Chililabombwe.
We have been developing a Cup of Hope organizers Manual, and are in contact with the Ministry of Education, with very committed staff who want to see the Cup of Hope succeed in Zambia.
In July we will be hosting the second Cup of Hope for the male youth in Chililabombwe, where the Cup started last year. From July we be having a series of meetings with our key partners, like the Ministry of Education, School teachers, health missionaries, to find out as to which extend we will be able to secure the Cup of Hope in 2017. These meetings will be intensified by the end of the year, when we move to Zambia.
Unfortunately we were not able to committ fully to the outlined agenda, as one of our close relatives, namely the brother to Joyce, fell ill. Much of our time was spent looking out for him, and planning his extraction from Zambia to Denmark, where he now receives a more safe treatment, since diagnostics and medical guidlines are more advanced. But this experience opened also our eyes, for the need of well equipped Ambulances in Zambia, and we are aiming to provide such services also in the future.
All in all have these four weeks been very intensive, since we had a tight schedule and much to accomplish. The heat and the fact that we not everywhere had access to what we would consider proper hygienic sanitation was also putting a strain on the mood. But then we are in love with Zambia and the Zambians, and that made the whole mission a success! As we want to do business: Of Love for the People. Whenever you feel frustrated or down, think of our motto!
So the last three days we were invited to one of our family members, Cathrine Musola Kaseketi, a Zambian Filmproducer, to take a time out and get some respite at her place in Livingstone. That was so much needed and appreciated. We used a couple of days to visit the great Victoria Falls and took a tour in the game park, looking in amazement at the breathtaking, wonderful, beautiful things that displayed before our eyes. Again, this is Zambia for me. A country of extremes and contrasts.
Beautiful beyond imagination, and ugly in so many ways. Let’s change the ugly!
We need to be, where the need is. It is about teaching each other. By example. We are all teachers, and we are also all students. A teacher that ceases to study and learn, cannot be a teacher anymore. Yes, mistakes are made, but through these we learn even more. At the end of the day, we lived life together and stood side by side through the hardships but also rejoiced together in counting our blessings.
Come and join us. Be the diffrence!