Today is the day that most of the people from the site Go Home. It is quite a process. No one, that's right, NO ONE has transportation. Everyone has to literally be hauled back home. I remembered well two years ago when our LifeNets truck made two trips out to Nalubanda. The process took almost two days, but the people didn't seem to mind it. But, it bordered on being inhumane as people were crammed onto three flat-bed trucks like sardines.
One interesting observation. Most people have servants who help them. That included the Banda's. There are always people around doing things. Cleaning the car, working in the kitchen etc. There is never a shortage of people.
We noted an abnormally high incidence of strokes. That seemed to be one of the most prevalent health issues and one that often led to permanent disability and death.
Back to the trucks. There are four vehicles. Two were rented to take the bulk of the people to Mapoko and Nalubanda. Our LifeNets van took the Copper Belt people to the bus station.
I noted that there was great discomfort in the Nalubanda truck. The bed of the truck had huge holes in it and there was fear that the children could fall through. Everyone go off. Men were sent to the tabernacle building to take apart the stage so that the plywood could be used to shore up the flatbed truck. The drivers couldn't care less. They were impatient that all this had to go on. Also, the sides of the truck didn't close properly and new bolts were needed. We asked them to stop at a hardware store in Lusaka on the way out to Nalubanda, but Kambani told me that even though they say they will, they won't. They don't care.
They left about 11:00 am. Shortly after leaving, the rains came and the people were drenched. They had little to protect them. Bev and I were horrified of the conditions they went through...women, children and all. But, they didn't seem to mind and everyone arrived safely in the evening at Mapoko, Muchabi and Nalubanda about 7:00 pm. We've had a few showers of late and this is the introduction of the rainy season that looks to plowing and planting. We were told that the truck driver stopped for an hour a few times for no reason. The people would patiently wait. Also, a police roadblock informed them that they did not have the right license for carrying people like this. A payment on the spot took care of any license anomalies.
After everyone left we went through the site and did various chores. The latrines were taken apart. Grace Mombe prepared lunch for us that included nsima (maize), beffe and greens. The local people eat with their hands. But, they always brought us visitors utensils. Harben Moonge and Apren Mombe joined us. They are two fine leaders that were key to making this Festival a success. The water tanks were put into the main building. It was such a relief not to have to take the main building down this year because we own the property!
Apren Mombe told me that since I visited last, his daughter Betty's husband Kingston Shatwanza died of tuberculosis. This is another disease that is heard of often. Now he has her and her two children to care for.
In the later afternoon we held a debriefing meeting of all the department heads. I was asked to sit in and comment. I found it very interesting.
They talked about improvements for next year. The biggest was to provide more serving lines. Almost 900 meals were served every day. They talked about food being wasted in how it was served and solutions were sought about how to improve that.
Transportation of food was a BIG ISSUE. Only two people on site (of 300) had a driver's license. One was Kambani Banda and the other was Apren. There was no refrigeration. There was a poultry producer about two miles away and a few men with the one wheelbarrow on site brought back 25 chickens to feed the 300 people. The people really loved the chicken. Normally, people eat meat only twice a month. To have chicken for one meal a day for eight days was absolute luxury. There was also some goat and a little beef. It's not a matter of just getting the people more food. Transportation is a big issue. In spite of our Western measures, the people were grateful for this experience.
Other issues were sanitation. We virtually had a city of 300 inhabitants living in close proximity. After eight days we had maxed out on sanitation facilities. Issues of sanitation venting, privacy, drainage and better spacing were discussed and will be implemented next year.
In the meeting everyone commented how it was a miracle that we could even HAVE the Feast on our own property. I will take this moment to commend my wife Beverly for working closely with Kambani Banda and making sure that we had the financing to make this happen this year at this location!
After the meeting we headed back to Kambani Banda's home. Bev and I invited nine people for a dinner that evening at the Rhapsody Restaurant at the Arcades shopping center about five miles from the Banda's. We invited Wilson and Dorothy Nkoma, Kambani and Shirley Banda, Jerrison and Nice Shachongo and James Mfulal. James' wife was feeling well and not able to come. We had a great evening of discussion, laugher and friendship.
Tomorrow we go out to Mapoko and see the further development of LifeNets projects.
The Day After
Thursday, October 23, 2008