Published: May 28th 2012May 28th 2012
Last night (Sunday), we had dinner at the home of the Honourable Madam Justice Chibesakunda, a judge of the Zambia Supreme Court. Mada Justice Chibesakunda was the first female lawyer in Zambia, was Zambia's ambassador to Japan, and is a graduate of the Chipembi Girls School, a school we have heard much about since arriving here. This school seems to graduate strong, independent young women who go on to do amazing things in Zambia. The women who greeted us at the judge's home wore beautiful dresses and while there was a formality to the event, we were also made to feel very welcome. We saw photographs of the judge meeting Pope John Paul II and our visit was interrupted by a phone call from the Prime Minister of Zambia. Although she was anything but pretentious, it was obvious to us that it was a great honour to have been invited to her home. The food was wonderful and we had great conversation.
As we went around the room introducing ourselves, I noticed that the Zambian women would say "I am a lawyer, by profession", or "I am a banker, by profession." We Canadians tend, when introducing ourselves in these situations, to say "I am lawyer." I remarked on this, saying that I much preferred the way the Zambian women approached their introductions, since we are much more than what we do! I think I will adopt this custom.
This morning we had breakfast at the home of Reverend Peggy Mulambya Kabonde, General Secretary of the United Church of Zambia. I was again struck by the very warm welcome we received, as this lovely woman invited us into her home. She served us a wonderful breakfast before we head off to Mazabuka.
I have been here less than 48 hours but I have met some remarkable women who are leaders in their community and committed to improving the lives of Zambians less fortunate than themselves, and particularly committed to the causes of women and children.
In terms of food and custom, the food has been remarkably western, but with a Zambian flair. Last night at dinner, we were served a version of lasagna, a sweet potatoe and peanut butter dish, a beef curry dish, chicken, and Zambian bologna (a vegetarian dish made of ground up roots and ground nuts). This morning, we were served eggs, ham, sausage, scones, etc. Before each meal, there is a simple handwashing ceremony in which someone pours water over your hands and into a bowl below.
The weather is perfect - hot during the day and cool at night.
All in all, despite the persistent jet lag, it has been a wonderful time so far. We are off now to Mazabuka and a meeting with the Zambian Law Association. Tomorrow we get our hands (and the rest of us) dirty at the school!
Hopefully next post, I will be able to include some photos.