A country called Zambia
The extremely friendly women who worked for immigration on the Zambian border made me fall in love with the country straight away. I immediately felt at home and knew I would like to stay in Zambia for a while.
Mosi Oa Tunya or Victoria Falls
Most tourists who come to Zambia visit Victoria Falls. In honor of Queen Victoria, David Livingstone named the falls after her. While many places have reverted to their indigenous names, (according to western school books he was a philanthropist) that it has remained unchanged.
But in the local Kololo and Lozi language it is better known as “Mosi Oa Tunya”, which means “the smoke that thunders”. There is even a wine called Mosi Oa Tunya and I thought it was made in Zambia – at least some wanted to sell it that way – but it is produced in South Africa. Somehow I prefer the indigenous name more.
Take your bike to Mosi Oa Tunya
I rode my bike to the falls from town. It doesn’t take long and it’s safe enough to go there by yourself! It would be a shame not to have visited Mosi Oa Tunya because I was blown away. I already loved the Iguazu Falls in Brazil and Argentina, but this one is also breathtaking and you feel so completely at one with nature while walking next to the thundering waterfalls. Definitely take a rain jacket – you will get wet in February.
The Falls were seen by David Livingstone in 1855. Also the city I stayed longest in Zambia was named after him. The falls are approximately 1700 meters wide and 108 meters high, part of the long 2574 km Zambezi River. From September to December the flow of the Zambezi lessens and water levels drop. You can then go for a swim at the “Devil’s Pool”, a naturally formed pool which is made by a rock wall that keeps the current enough for a dip and swim.
During the full moon you can even spot a “moonbow”, a rainbow at night! Doesn’t it sound like one of the most beautiful things on this planet? It is when the light from the moon bounces off the spray from the waterfall which creates a nighttime rainbow. Mosi Oa Tunya has several principal gorges. Remember to always be respectful, and remind yourself you could be in danger – crocodiles are common in the region.
Inner Peace at Mosi Oa Tunya
Somehow I felt very balanced when I watched the waterfalls and then heard gospel singers in the background. A Christian gospel group stood in front of the waterfalls and had their entire choir with them. They sang some beautiful songs in indigenous languages. There I met a very sweet and friendly girl at the waterfalls who made me fall in love with the country even more.
Daily life in Zambia
In the very early morning (usually 6 a.m.) I enjoyed cycling or jogging. The locals greeted me with a friendly “Muli Bwanji” (good morning). Then I went to Cafe Zambezi or one of the other cafes or restaurants to eat. In the end, I had the feeling that I knew all the restaurants and cafes in Livingstone, and in that short time I made friends with many different people in the city. From Mathews at Fawlty Towers or the staff at various shops to the women from the streets.
Food from Zambia
I really love the food from Zambia! There are quite a lot of vegetarian and vegan options.
For example ifisashi. It is a traditional Zambian dish made with ground peanuts, tomatoes, onions, and greens such as pumpkin leaves, sweet potato leaves or spinach. The ingredients are cooked until the peanut sauce has a thick consistency. Many dishes in Zambia are made with ground peanuts and greens like pumpkin leaves, sweet potato leaves or collard greens. Another dish called kalembula is also prepared from sweet potato leaves, onions and groundnuts.
And of course very importantly – nshima is THE staple food in Zambia. A very thick porridge made from ground maize, it is always consumed with soups and stews known as ndiwo. It is quite similar to Kenyan and Tanzanian Ugali, Congolese Fufu, South African Pap and Zimbabwean Sadza. Nshima is the same in Malawi. By the way, Zambians and Malawians can understand each other: in Zambia and Malawi, the language is generally known as Chewa or Nyanja, the ‘language of the lake’ (referring to Lake Malawi). Chewa is a Bantu language spoken in much of Southern, Southeast and East Africa.
The most common ndiwo dishes in Zambia are chibwabwa and ifisashi. Typically smaller pieces of nshima are torn by hand, and then used to scoop up the stews. After living in Kenya, and since last year’s travel in Tanzania, and this year being in Africa for almost the whole year, I admit: I can’t live without Ugali, Nshima or Pap or whatever you want to call it. If I don’t have cravings for Ugali and stews, I usually have cravings for Injera and Wot (Ethiopian staples).
Sustainable Projects and A Village School in Zambia
When I ate at the Italian restaurant Olga I saw about their Youth Community Training Center (YCTC) project which I visited twice while I was in Zambia. I do think proper education is powerful and one of the main keys to world peace and justice.
YCTC is a professional training school which provides vocational training in plumbing, tailoring, carpentry, computer and catering classes as an alternative to vulnerable teenagers. Once I knew that the Italian restaurant Olga’s in Livingstone finances the school and also provides training on the job for students of catering courses (some even are employed now at Olga’s), I ate there quite often to support the project. After talking to the director and getting to know the students better, I fully support it from the bottom of my heart.
The school has even set up production units from carpentry, tailoring, and metal workshop to sell products to the community of Livingstone and to tourists. Also recreational activities are offered to about 250 youth and children on many afternoons. Children in particular are supervised by qualified educators, some of whom even used to be students of the YCTC program. The school is also used as a venue and place for socializing between peers in a peaceful environment. They can also consult the books at our library, and the school also organizes sports tournaments like basketball and football.
Sustainability, Education and Environment
Being there gave me an insight into how to run my own foundation in the future: a sustainable and peaceful place to help future generations finding a job in certain skilled trades. Please if any of you are reading this, and you might have more ideas, let me know in the comments or contact me.
Education and sustainability are definitely two issues I deeply care about, and which I want to combine in a way to help make others’ lives more sustainable to help themselves with different handy skills like cooking or tailoring. But also to change this world into one where everyone can tolerate each other and care for their environments.
“Don’t give me a fish, but teach me how to fish”
Local Cowboy Village School
I keep thinking I’m not good with kids. I have 2 godchildren: Maria Hong in Uganda and Jenipher in Lusaka, Zambia. Back in Bali, I helped children with mathematics and English. I do actually love children because I think they have such pure hearts and they are the future of this world.
As I fell more in love with the country and the people.
One day I went to a school called “Local Cowboy Village School” which taught children from around 3 or 4 years to up to 15 years. I gave them notebooks and pens because a friend of mine in Zambia advised it would be friendly gesture. The teacher Memory took me to all of the classes and I learned a lot from them.
Especially the traditional dances they performed at the end. Memory explained the students would love to share and show some of the traditional dances with me. I remember the following dances: a dance called Chingande from the southern part of Zambia, done by the Tonga tribal group. Another, Chinjagili, from the north-western part performed by Luvale tribe. At the end they sang some songs for me are which used at the start and end of shows done by the Lozi tribal group, from the western part of Zambia. I hope you can watch the dances in this blog post of mine. In exchange I showed and played a game from my childhood in Germany with them.
I felt their passion and joy, and I for a moment I was not just a backpacker visiting them but immersed myself in another world of dance and music which unites all of us.
The geography and history lessons (about Zambian and African history) were on the during my school days. That day, I learned the meaning of Zambia’s flag. What does it look like? A green background with an orange eagle and vertical stripes of red, black and orange at the fly end. The green symbolizes agriculture, red is for the struggle of the nation’s freedom, black for the African people and orange for copper. The eagle symbolizes freedom and the ability of all Zambian people to rise above national problems.
I had such an unforgettable day with the children, which I definitely count among my top 10 highlights of my African trip in 2021.
Zambia is one of my favorite countries
Short history breakdown
Thousands of years ago, Zambia was inhabited by hunter-gatherer tribes. Before the 15th century when Bantu-speaking tribes migrated to the area. With the 19th century, Europeans began to exploit the area. In 1924, Zambia, which was called Northern Rhodesia at the time, came under British control. Later in 1953, under the name of Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, Malawi and Southern Rhodesia were merged together. You can read more on this link. Later, on October 24th, 1964 Zambia finally became an independent country.
Zambia faced lots of challenges despite its mineral wealth. At that time, Zambia was surrounded by countries which remained under oppressive white rule. So over the next decades, it actively supported nationalist movements in southern Africa like in Zimbabwe, Angola and South Africa. Unlike many of its neighbors; Zambia has managed to avoid the wars and upheaval that have marked many African nations’ post-colonial years.
In the mid-1970s, the price of copper declined worldwide. Unfortunately dependent on the export of copper, Zambia turned to foreign and international lenders for relief. But copper prices stayed low and it became increasingly difficult for the country to service its growing debt. Even by 1990, Zambia’s foreign debt remained among the highest in the world. But until today Zambia’s main export remains copper.
Despite all the struggles they had in the past: Zambia’s people are among the friendliest and shyest of any country I visited in the past 6/7 years. People have touched my heart on every emotional level. They had been open and very understanding towards me.
Everywhere I was greeted in a friendly manner; the quiet mornings when you stroll through the streets, even at night. The shyness of the people in Zambia paired with their curiosity for other people and cultures leave the greatest marks on my heart and memories. Therefore, I hope to be able to leave some positive marks on other people’s hearts before I leave this world one day.
To a positive future in Zambia
Since Zambia established a stable government this year. I sincerely hope that it will help the country to, fight more poverty, conserving their natural beauty habitats and introduce a general health system. Bye Zambia, see you again someday – I am looking forward to it.’
Some photos are edited with the YouCam app of Perfect Corp. I
will work for one year in a partnership with YouCam .
A webcam software for Windows and Perfect Corp. on projects towards sustainability and tackling climate change issues and actions.