Things are moving along as they should be
on Wendy Margolese (Zambia), 08/Dec/2010 12:22, 34 days ago
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I can’t believe that it’s been almost 2 weeks since I’ve been here. On 1 hand it still feels brand new and on the other it feels like I’ve been away from home for so long now. I have semi- settled in to a routine here and it feels nice knowing what’s coming next. Just as I’m settling in it’s time to change it up.. next Friday marks the beginning of our winter vacation. As you all know we’re headed to Livingstone and if I’m lucky to Botswana as well; maybe we’ll even spend New Years there, you can never tell.Last night my roommate and I were talking about what we would like to see happen over the next several months.. . SNG does a lot of work within different communities educating women’s groups on AIDS, farming, alternatives to Nshima (which is corn porridge that they eat with every meal) , and the benefits of breastfeeding. SNG has so little money that it’s difficult to get the volunteers into the field to teach; so it’s a vicious cycle. Adam (another volunteer at SNG) has a lot of pressure on him to bring in some funds so that 2011 can be a more productive year. Adam worked at raising money for cancer for more than 13 years so I’m certain he’ll get the job done.Because we are expats we’ve had the benefit of speaking to a lot of white lodge owners, some of them second generation. We as volunteers have been questioning why the people of Zambia don’t want to take responsibility for making their lives better. There are a lot of theories on the subject.. I’ll save them for another day because I haven’t made my mind up as to what I believe just yet.Our market is very small and a lot of the vendors sell the same things.. so as an example there are at least 8 women who sell tomatoes.. and at least 4 who sell mangos’ but no one does anything with the produce.. So they haven’t yet come up with a way to preserve their crops ... so they have money in harvest time and then starve the other 8 months of the year.. The problem is deeper than that as well.. they don’t seem to have the drive to decide they want something different from themselves. There are at least a dozen women who sell Jitenge (a 2 metre piece of brightly coloured fabric that we use for curtains, skirts and tablecloths) no one in the market has taken the initiative to make shirts, skirts etc out of them. They have at least 2 tailors in the market who could do it.. but they haven’t taken the next step.I mentioned earlier that SNG has no money, so we were trying to think up new initiatives that SNG could be initiating right here in town.  There are 4 restaurants in the market and 1 that we’ll eat at! The other 3 are dirty and don’t have very good light and aren’t clean. SNG is responsible for teaching people about nutrition so why don’t we get involved to change this. I joked with a colleague yesterday about opening a restaurant. .. and then talking about it further with Joi; We decided that we’re going to investigate opening a community restaurant.. that way we can supply the ex pats with good clean food while teaching thearea how to keep a clean kitchen; and we can do workshops from there and also make a profit... it would be something interesting to take on... down the road if it was successful we could have people farm specifically for the restaurant and use the farm as a teaching facility.Although there are many problems in Zambia and across Africa, it’s very easy to plant an idea and watch it grow.. there is very little red tape and if you have the funds there are lots of people willing to help out.I feel as though a lot of my time has been spent thinking about what we can do to help and not knowing where to begin.. but a community restaurant is a beginning.Ben, 1 of the other VSO volunteers along with another volunteer named Alistair, built a school with the help of some scouts in the UK, the scouts had the money and Ben is an engineer and Alistair did the business side. Their efforts resulted in 43 kids being educated this semester and not having to walk 2 hours each way to their old school.. it’s really inspiring!