Tag Archives: Zambia

Libraries in Zambia

Have just posted in the Reviews section a review that was sent on to me by the Lubuto Library Project , written by a volunteer who was working with the library in Lusaka. It brings to mind a library I have written about a few times on the blog, the Nkhanga Village Library. It was officially opened on December 8th 2012 and it now has 3,798 books with a capacity for many more.

Nkhanga Village Library

Congratulations to Prof. Mwizenge Tembo and all of those who worked to make this dream a reality. I am sure that many hours of pleasure and learning will be had under its roof.

More details on Prof. Tembo’s website and in Rainbow News

Mosi-oa-Tunya, The Smoke that Thunders

BBC Documentary on Mosi-oa-Tunya, the Victoria Falls, in Zambia. Some incredible footage of the mighty Zambezi River accompanied by the story of those whose homes are near its banks and who depend on it for their livelihood.

Happy Independence Day Zambia

At Midnight on October 24th 1964 Zambia became independent. So, Happy Independence Day Zambia!

My brother John Leyden was born in Kitwe, Zambia in the year of Zambia’s independence so here’s a song for Zambia from his band Mango Groove. The song when it was written was dedicated to Spokes Mashiyane, known as the King of Kwela. But for today I feel like dedicating it to Zambia, a Special Star.

CBI Eilis Dillon Award 2012

Absolutely thrilled to have won the Eilis Dillon award for a First Children’s Book at the CBI Book Awards .  Just to say I am delighted. A great honour for the Butterfly Heart, for me and, I think, for Zambia.

Here is a pic of the certificate and the lovely trophy (which one of my daughters reckons would make a good weapon….?) Mega thanks to everyone – especially my extended family!

Trophy and beautiful window (not legible I know)

Slightly more legible picture

Craft and Ingenuity in Zambia

I am lucky enough to be on an email forum of Zambians in California. I found my way onto it through Vukani Nyirenda. Last week someone on the forum emailed out this brilliant picture.

This generated a lot of discussion. One of the responses that came in was from Victor Mwaba who describes himself as a thirty something father of two young girls, husband of one wife, who was born and completed high school in Zambia, but went to college and now works as an engineer in the US.

I am reproducing his response with his permission below.

Victor said … “I must say I find this picture quite mesmerizing because it brings a profound sense of nostalgia with it. I can relate to the subject because I used to be quite a craftsman when I was little.

A cousin of mine from the village taught me how to knit fishing nets. This process first involves reinforcing/twisting (ukupila) the polythene mealie-meal sack fibres with which you make the net. I would put a few strands of this fibre between my shin and my hand, row it down my shin, and let the fibres twist on themselves upon release, making a very very strong cord. Then I would also make big strong nets to put on soccer goal posts and bar made out of bamboos. This prevented a lot of arguments as to whether someone scored, or not.

I went onto making badminton racquets with the same ‘reinforced’ fibre. Get some strong thick wires and pieces of wood and the fibre; I have a raquet! For the badminton shuttle, I would get the stem of a cob of maize (umuseba) and shape it smooth appropriately on one end. Then get chicken or duck feathers and glue them to the maize cob stem; you have a perfectly flying shuttle. Of course the badminton net would be made with two bamboo sticks on two sides and the reinforced fibre net in the middle.

With this much fun, lets just say mom used to force us to go and eat nshima (The Zambian corn meal staple), else we would play all day long. Nintendo what? Wii? Video games were for the top 1%. 99% of us just figured out how to have fun blissfully with whatever material we could lay our hands on.The good ol’ days.”

Thanks Victor (pictured below) for letting me post that – it is no wonder you became an engineer it was in you from a very young age.

Victor Mwaba

Play Pump in Katapazi, Zambia

How’s this for a simple but brilliant idea?

A Play Pump at Katapazi School in the Mukuni Chiefdom

I came across this on The Butterfly Tree website. An organisation that unusually does not apportion funds it receives to large overhead costs and salaries. All the money raised goes straight to benefit those who need it, and the project is involved in very practical work that is not imposed – they work with rather than for the communities they work in.

This Play Pump is located in the Katapazi Basic School which is in the Mukuni Chiefdom not far from Mosi oa Tunya , and enables the children, through play, to pump up clean safe water from the underground borehole into a 2,500 litre tank.

Water is life, and in the West it is taken for granted. I know in Ireland it is, we have so much of it I sometimes wonder whether the island might just float away! Elsewhere it cannot be taken for granted.

Here are the facts (republished from Just a Drop )
Kid carrying bucket


A child dies around every 20 seconds as a result of water-borne diseases. 

Over 1.1 billion people in the world – roughly one eighth of its total population – do not have access to clean, safe water.

Around 2.5 billion people do not have access to adequate sanitation – almost two-fifths of the world’s population.

Over 2.75 million people die from diseases every year because of unsafe water. 

1.4 million children die each year from diarrhoea alone caused by unsafe water. 

Over 40 billion working hours are spent carrying water each year in Africa.

In parts of Africa women and Asia women often carry water weighing as much as 20kgs (the same as the average UK airport luggage allowance) on their heads.

Source: World Health Organisation, UNICEF, Cosgrove & Rijserman

Room to Read

I recently came across an organisation called Room to Read which is working in Zambia, South Africa, Tanzania, Laos, Bangladesh, India, Cambodia, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

Their aim is a simple one: We envision a world in which all children can pursue a quality education, reach their full potential and contribute to their community and the world. To this end they have focussed on literacy and gender equality in education.

What has impressed me in reading about them is that they employ local teams to implement the programs – ‘local teams who are personally invested in their nation’s educational progress, and familiar with the challenges ahead. They speak the language, know the customs, and understand what it takes to implement each program successfully.’ Once this happens the success of programmes such as these is a whole lot more likely.

To date, according to their website, they have achieved the following:

Schools 1,556
Libraries 13,152
Books Published 707
Books Distributed 11 3 million
Girls’ Education Participants 15,388
Children Benefited 6 million

Pretty impressive.

Below are some pictures from their website as well as from the website Passports with Purpose  who last year worked with Room to Read Zambia and are now busy building libraries with monies raised.