BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

24 September 2014

BBC Homepage
»BBC Local
Things to do
People & Places
Religion & Ethics
Arts and Culture
BBC Introducing
TV & Radio

Sites near Nottingham

South Yorkshire

Related BBC Sites


Contact Us

October 2003
Our Man in Zambia - Arriving in Zambia
Jamie Baldwin imprinted on Zambia's  national flag
Jamie Baldwin and the British High Commissioner.
After months of planning Jamie Baldwin has finally arrived in Zambia, here's his diary entry.
video Jamie's alarm clock (28k)
BBC download guide
Free Real player
Our Man in Zambia

Our Man in Zambia : Part Two

Jamie Baldwin
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites.
Population: 10.8 million (UN, 2003)
Capital: Lusaka
Major language: English (official), Bemba, Lozi, Nyanja, Tonga
Major religions: Christianity, indigenous beliefs, Hinduism, Islam
Life expectancy: 33 years (men), 32 years (women) (UN)
Leader: Levy Mwanawasa
Monetary unit: 1 Kwacha = 100 ngwee
Main exports: Copper, minerals, tobacco Average annual income: US $320 (World Bank, 2001) Internet domain: .zm
International dialling code: +260
View a printable version of this page.
get in contact

Imagine being hassled by a Premier League footballer just because they want to talk to you.

It would never happen in our country but then Zambia just isn’t anything like the UK.

The Kafue Road, Lusaka, Zambia
The Kafue Road in Lusaka, Zambia.

Ok, so maybe the footballers here are not as high profile as Messrs Owen and Henry, but that isn’t the real reason.

Without doubt, Zambia is the friendliest country I’ve ever been to. It is a community where everyone is included and newcomers are welcomed with open arms.

Whether a national footballer or local market seller, the ‘mazungu’ – Zambian for white foreigner - are a curiosity to local Zambians.

I arrived in Zambia on October 9th, flying into Lusaka’s ‘international’ airport as the sun rose above the plateau, Zambia’s capital sits upon.

Jamie's alarm cock
Listen to Jamie's alarm 'cock'. video (28k)

As part of a contingent of 15 new VSO volunteers our first week in Zambia was spent in the relatively plush surroundings of a Lusakan motel as we received our in-country training.

The highlight of which was an evening soiree at the British High Commission.

A former volunteer in Africa, the High Commissioner is a keen supporter of the large contingent of volunteers working in Zambia.

Lusaka has been the capital of the country since 1935 and is now home to over one million people.

This sprawling city bustles with life through its numerous busy markets and hive of government and political activity.

The art of haggling for goods is second nature to these residents and a trait I am learning quickly.

Transportation through the dusty streets for most Zambians, and for us, comes in the form of the notorious minibuses.

Squashed in like sardines and with Bob Marley blaring from the stereo we sampled the delights of traveling Zambian style.

And whenever the stereo breaks, which in this country it invariably does, passengers sing in unison from the buses.

Today you can buy a beer for 3,000 Kwacha in Lusaka, 40 years ago you could buy a car with that much money. And how much is 3,000 Kwacha? About 40 pence.

In a country where even as volunteers we are millionaires, it is an awkward position to find yourselves in.

Crippled by national debt the economy has nose-dived since independence in 1962.

At that time, the Kwacha was worth more than the US dollar. How times have changed.

Yet despite the obvious poverty of most Zambians and the effect HIV and AIDS has had on Zambian society, the feeling of community is overwhelming.

A famous Zambian saying points out that ‘only those who sit under the Mapunta tree hear the fruit fall’, meaning that only together can people solve problems and reap the rewards of their community.

It's an adage that says more about this country and its people than anything else.

Top | Features Index | Home
Also in this section
Wicked summer out gallery

Xylophone Man memorial

Jamcams Weather forecast - today and tomorrow News in brief
Meet the team - the webmasters Contact Us
BBC Nottingham website
London Road
Nottingham, NG2 4UU
(+44) 0115 955 0500

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy