Why Zambia?

Although I’ve enjoyed visits to Egypt and Morocco this will be my first time in what I consider Africa  proper!

Tourism in Zambia is currently quite tiny, but developing. I’ve managed to pick up a few guide books though and I am busy gathering as much background information as possible!   

During my stay I do hope to enjoy some of the wonderful  sights and experiences that Zambia has to offer, however I will not be there primarily as  a tourist on this occasion  but as a volunteer charity worker.

So why Zambia?  Zambia  is a southern hemisphere country in the developing world.  It is known as the butterfly of Africa but that image does not fit some of the harsh realities facing its population.

The collapse of the economy in the mid-70’s, followed by a bout of political corruption has left  four out five people still living on less than $US1 a day.

Tragically AIDS/HIV has taken a tight grip on the population of Zambia. With one in seven loosing children losing one or both parents to the fatal infection this has now left just under half the population under 16 years of age. As a result many children have had to give up their chance of an education to run the family home or to find work to feed their brothers and sisters.

Coupled with an uphill financial struggle, communities are finding it hard to send their children to the government-run schools. School fees, uniforms and resources are all sadly out of financial reach for many children.

In response to this many communities set up their own schools, known as community schools. The Book Bus charity works with community schools as well as government schools .

Zambia is home to one of the Seven Wonders of the World, Victoria Falls, known in the local Kololo language as Mosi-oa-Tunya – ‘The Smoke that Thunders’.

The Book Bus is based in the frontier town of Livingstone just 10 Km from the falls.  In May the falls should be at their best so during my ‘down time’ I’m really looking forward to what I’m sure will be an awe-inspiring visit.

The borders of four countries converge near Victoria Falls (Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Zambia) .

Apparently Chobe National Park in Northern Botswana is close enough for a weekend safari . Although this will be quite expensive, such an opportunity to spot the ‘Big Five’ is one I would love to experience – so I’ve been saving up!

 

 And finally for today:

 10 things you did or didn’t know about Zambia !

  1. Zambia takes its name from the Zambezi which rises in the NW corner of the country and forms it southern border.
  2. Zambia is larger than you might think.  It is the size of France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland combined!
  3. Landlocked Zambia has eight neighbours, clockwise from the North : Congo, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and Angola.
  4. Zambia’s population is only 11.5 million (about the same as London).
  5. 72 dialects are spoken in Zambia but the official language is English!The Zambian currency is Kwacha (ZMK) with approximately 7000 to £1
  6. Zambia is one of the world’s poorest countries with a major national debt and a weak currency.  15% of its export earnings are through mining – mainly copper –  but 85%  of  its workforce are in agriculture.
  7. The magnificent Victoria Falls form the border with Zimbabwe.
  8. Lake Tanganyika extends into Zambia from neighbouring Tanzania and is the 2nd deepest natural lake in the World.
  9. Lake Kariba stretches along Zambia’s southern border. At 28okm long and 40km at its widest point it is the 2nd largest man-made lake in the world.
  10. Football is a national obsession. The national team are known as the Copper Migets. In 1993  the entire national team was wiped out in a fatal aircrash during the flight to a World Cup qualifying game.   

2 Responses

  1. I’ve noticed you’ve been saving up fir the safari!

    • I’ve been taking a leaf out of your book – short arms & long pockets! Thanks for taking time to read it. I’ve had quite a few positive comments. Top tip from my journalist daughter: “It’s good Dad, you write well (cheek!) but blog shorter and more often!”. I did get top marks for slipping in the TS Elliot reference tho’.

      Looks like it was exciting in the Kingsholm mud yesterday – more than can be said for the affair at Ashton Gate! We got the point but I’m beginning to fear for us in the play offs! Do they have sky sports in Zambia?

      Have a good Easter – don’t eat too many eggs, your waist line can’t stand it.

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