Sounds of Jack Mwanapapa
I came to Jack Mwanapapa in late January of this year to visit the family of my friend and assistant in Lusaka, Sydney Mwamba. It is, by far, the most beautiful place I have been in this rural area of southern Zambia., Nearing our destination we passed two small boys driving an oxcart and crossed a lovely winding river as we entered the village in our taxi. There are no gas powered vehicles here and no electricity.
Small flower gardens and tall shade trees intersperse the little round mud houses that cluster about a central open space where meetings are held and the children play soccer. I was taken to see their orchards of banana and citrus, mango and papaya and followed a twisting path flanked by small fields of corn and pumpkin, cucumbers, peanuts and peppers. The ambient sounds were peepers, cicadas, birdsong and the children’s voices in the distance.
Though not wealthy, these folks have everything they need to feed, house and clothe themselves. They have a system of volunteers who care for those with AIDS in their community, visiting and feeding them daily, and riding them by bicycle into Livingstone, a very long trip on dirt roads, once a week.
Return to Zambia
In January 2010 I went back to Zambia after nearly three years away to visit the people and places that the AACDP has been involved with. Lusaka is the capital and largest city in Zambia. Rosa Parker, my 19 year old traveling companion, and I stayed at Nena’s Guest House which served as our home base and mostly took day trips from there. The following are excepts from a journal detailing our activities on behalf of the African Artists Community Development Project (AACDP) of which I am the Director.
Zambia is very seriously considering becoming a Christian nation, whatever that means, by vote in a coming election. They are committed Christians, in general, and believe if this is accomplished, that Zambia will become a much more peaceful and honest place- don’t ask why or how. But it is touching how literally they take the gospel of loving others, and living morally, because it is balanced by such pleasure in everyday life, and in laughter, music, dancing, socializing. Reminds me a bit of the innocence of the 50’s in our country.
The day Rosa and I arrived there was a party scheduled at the Nena Guest House. Our first room (there are only four) was next to the terrace and covered patio where the festivities were held. We sat on the terrace and watched this group of people who worked together in a company have a ball. They had impromptu dance contests, poetry recitations and karaoke. They were drinking but not sloppy drunk, laughing at each other’s antics on the dance floor, teasing the company president and obviously enjoying themselves hugely. It wasn’t like any company party I had ever seen or attended in the States. Zambian fact #1 : These people know how to have a good time.