Tuesday, May 31

An Exorcism In Zambia

I wrote an article about a Zambian exorcism I attended and it recently won Transitions Abroad's 2006 Narrative Writing Contest. Check it out!

Tuesday, March 29

Blue Wildebeest

In Liuwa Plains National Park, you can see the blue wildebeest.
"Driven by their need for water and their partiality for fresh, sprouting grass, blue wildebeest have an amazing ability to track down a rainstorm - even if it is many kilometres away. Sometimes in herds of thousands, they will follow the sound of thunder, or perhaps the sight of rain clouds, until they reach the freshly fallen rain."
They migrate into Zambia annually, towards the end of the year.

Thursday, March 24

16 Day Southern Sail-A-Way Overland Tour: Zambia to Johannesburg

OK, so only 2 of the Sail-A-Way's 16 days are in Zambia, but it sounds like an awesome time. I'm not a big fan of overland trips, generally, but I must admit:
  1. I have been on one (in Namibia), and it was fun.
  2. I have spoken to others who have been on month-long (and longer) Overland trips, and they loved them.
  3. Overland vehicles are among the awesomest things on the planet. I don't need one in South Florida, but if I move back to Africa one day . . .

If you have extra time, maybe you can do the "24 day Tropical Trek from Zambia to Malawi & Mozambique."

Zambia Goodies

Technocrati shows all kinds of (Creative Commons) goodies from the web about .

POP Goes Africa

According to a population factsheet published bythe Population Reference Bureau:
  1. The top 15 HIV/AIDS Prevalence Countries, at the end 0f 2003, are all in Africa (Zambia is 7th). Haiti is the top-ranked, non-African country.
  2. "Developing countries will far outpace developed countries in population growth because of a young age structure as well as higher birth rates." (Sub-Saharan Africa shows a ratio of children aged 15 and under to those over 65 of 44:3). How will this affect politics, the economy, hegemony, etc.?
  3. Zambia's "total fertility rate" -- the average number of children born to a woman during her lifetime -- is 5.6. (Much of Eastern Europe posts rates of around 1.2; Afghanistan is 6.8; Somalia is 7.1).

I Wish It Were "Cash"

And while we're talking about GPS in Zambia, you can always participate in a Zambian geocache:
"The basic idea is to have individuals and organizations set up caches all over the world and share the locations of these caches on the internet. GPS users can then use the location coordinates to find the caches. Once found, a cache may provide the visitor with a wide variety of rewards. All the visitor is asked to do is if they get something they should try to leave something for the cache."
As of today, there is only 1 cache in Zambia.

1 incomplete, 7 visited, 62 total

The goal of the Degree Confluence project is "to visit each of the latitude and longitude integer degree intersections in the world, and to take pictures at each location. The pictures and stories will then be posted here." Here's an excerpt from the first people who, uh, confluenced in Zambia:

"Being equipped with a GPS (Garmin 45), map and compass, we realized that pretty close to the street between Mazabouka and Kafue there is the Confluence 16S 28E. We planned to find the point on our way from Livingstone to Kafue on June 18th."

Their pictures are interesting. This sounds like a great, albeit somewhat geeky, project. I wish I were in Zambia with a GPS; I'd help!

Naah . . .Let's Just Go Home

Zambia has closed a refugee camp in the eastern part of the country after refugees, mainly from neighbouring Angola, opted to return home. There are still a lot (55,000 - 300,000) of refugees in Zambia.

Zambia has had problems with Angolan refugees in the past.

Wednesday, March 23

Mutemwa Lodge

Mutemwa Lodge -- owned by former Springboker Gavin Johnson -- is located in Zambia's western province, near Sioma Ngwezi National Park and Liuwe Plains National Park. The camp is relatively isolated; "Mutemwa" translates as "you are cut off."

The Lodge offers guided bird watching, wildlife walks, angling, sunset cruises, and visits to local scenic spots. However, the most interesting thing they provide is a cultural experience with the Lozi tribe during The Ku-omboka Ceremony.

The name means "to get out of the water onto dry ground." Every year towards the end of the rainy season as the flood plain of the upper Zambezi valley rises, the Lozi king makes a ceremonial move to higher ground. The drums signal to his people, they pack their belongings into canoes and the whole tribe leaves en masse.

The chief in his barge with his family and a troop of traditionally dressed paddlers take the lead. It takes about six hours to cover the distance between the dry season capital Lealui, and the wet season capital Limulunga. There the successful move is celebrated with traditional singing and dancing.

This ceremony dates back more than 300 years when the Lozi people broke away from the great Lunda Empire to settle in the upper regions of the Zambezi. The vast plains with abundant fish were ideal for settlement but the annual floods could not be checked, so each year they move to higher ground until the rainy season passes.
Traditional ceremonies are vanishing throughout the world. Take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity before it's too late!

Headed For The Maize Maze

In the past, Zambia has endured droughts and been forced to import maize. Last year, however, Zambia produced a surplus of maize, which it exported to neighboring countries. This year -- although forecasts had predicted plentiful rainfall for the 2004-2005 growing season -- it appears that erratic rainfall will force Zambia to import at least 300,000 tons of maize to avert a food shortfall.

According to Agriculture Minister Mundia Sikatana: "This scanty rainfall has happened as a complete opposite to the weather bureau forecast." Ironically, rainfall in some parts of the country has led to flooding and the collapse of housing.

Stanley Ndhlovu, disaster management coordinator with the Zambia Red Cross Society, claims: "We found 40 to 80 percent crop failure in five provinces . . . [and] We found 100 percent crop failure in the southern province, where we could not even find green maize on the plants."