Man in Zambia
Man in Zambia : Part Two
Man in Zambia : Part Three
Man in Zambia : Part Four
The BBC is not responsible for the content
of external websites.
Population: 10.8 million (UN, 2003)
Major language: English (official), Bemba, Lozi, Nyanja,
Major religions: Christianity, indigenous beliefs,
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.
Officially, about one in five of the population
is HIV positive, which itself is extreme. Unofficially, it is estimated
that more like 45% of the population have the virus, which is catastrophic.
Not everyone is infected, but without doubt everyone is affected
by the epidemic.
to play the drums with a young local.
World AIDS Day on December 1st is one of the most
significant days in the Zambian calendar. It offers all those involved
with HIV/AIDS the opportunity to raise awareness to individuals,
villages, communities and chiefdoms about the disease. And it is
often the teenagers, the next generation who are forced to grow
up far too quickly, that are targeted.
The Anglican Children's Project in Chelston where
we live, and where Alice works, is just the sort of place where
children are learning about AIDS in a proactive way. These include
orphans whose parents have died of the disease and whom can no longer
be supported by relatives.
Zambians are proud people and ten years ago orphanages
like ACP did not exist, children went to live with relatives. But
today, there are too many orphans and too little money for communities
to support them.
So it was reassuring to see kids huddling around
reading the leaflets on HIV and condom use, concentrating on the
diagrams of various parts of the human anatomy out of curiosity.
Five years ago, a church project in Zambia would
not be allowing this to take place on their grounds. But desperate
times call for desperate measures, and there is evidence that it
does now seem to be working. For instance, the number of girls between
15 - 19 becoming infected has reduced slightly for the first time.
On a lighter note, the sports day which the project
held on World AIDS Day, allowed the children to sample the fine
British art of jumping around in sacks and balancing eggs on spoons.
We even had adult races - which, incidentally, is a turning point
in one's life taking part in the adult races of a Sports Day - much
to the amusement of the kids. Needless to say everyone was a winner
on the day.
It was good to see children from the local community
joining in. Perhaps also inspiring the bizarre, yet welcoming, sight
of Oprah Winfrey who actual came to Chelston a few days later to
promote HIV/AIDS awareness.
It maybe corny but it is working and it is changing
the Zambian attitude towards HIV, condoms, marriage and sex, even
within the church. And it is as much Zambians responsibility to
talk about the epidemic as it is ours, as volunteers, to promote
I leave you with a quote from a fellow volunteer
who actually challenged the Vice President's wife no less, who herself
believes abstinence and faithfulness, and not condoms, are the only
My friend kindly inquired: "So how many wives
does your husband have?" The implication being that many high
powered men in Zambia have several girlfriends without the knowledge
of their wives. The Vice President's wife was speechless.
PS: I am writing this on my laptop battery during
another power cut, and ironically by candlelight.
take part in their sports day.