Sunday, 14 December 2008

A guest from Zambia

Wild safari in Zambia
A few years ago I did an introduction course in Journalism and that was the most fun course I ever did. Why? Because I had to do interviews for homework and I now had an opportunity to ask people all kind of questions. Instead of 2 interviews for homework I did about 5 and I found one of them in a box tis morning. I started emptying a closet for my brother who comes next week but instead ended up going through a pile of old stuff.
I interviewed somebody from my husbands work who I will call Peter. Tell me if you enjoy it than I might do some more interviews next year, but probably it is too much writing.
A Guest from Zambia
Peter is from Zambia. Zambia is a landlocked country in South-central Africa. Months ago he came with his children to New Zealand. “There must be a lot of difference between life here and in Zambia” I asked. “No” said Lewis, I work; I still shop at Woolworth etc. I felt something was bothering him. I remember how lost I felt when I came first to New Zealand so I asked “What do you really miss about Zambia”. He answered straight away “the people”. Peter told that he was a chemical engineer. The last years he worked however for Totall as a sales representative for oils and diverse applications. Everybody knew him there. He often got reimbursed to entertain his customers and share some drinks with them. His house was paid off and his children went to a private school. “Why did you come here then” I asked. “To follow my wife and the children missed their mum” he said. His wife came to New Zealand in January this year to do some study as a registered nurse. She got offered a job before her course was even finished. A job well paid. “In Zambia nurses are heavily underpaid. From her salary you could buy just a tank of petrol “he said. “There were lots of strikes. I came over, but I still have my house in Zambia to go back to and within a certain time I can get my old job back as well. We’ll give it a try here however”. Peter had 3 job interviews already and is doing some temporary work. Peter was however not very hopeful. Then he asked me carefully “Tell me, are there not a lot of Africans in New Zealand”. I knew what he meant. “There are a lot of people from South Africa” I said “they are white people however. Then there are some refugees from Somalia.” I asked “Do you feel that people stare at you” He nodded. We changed the subject. “Tell me more about Zambia. What did you do in your free time?” I asked him. “We played squash and soccer. With the children I went sometimes to polo tournaments.” “All very English” I said “What about festivals. Do you have your own cultural festivals?” “Yes” he said,” there are 3 major festivals in different areas of the country; The first one is called Mutokombo, a festival of the Bemba tribe. It reflects the migration from the jungle of the old tribes in Northen Zambia. Then there is Kuomboka. This is about the travel of nomadic tribes from the low land, which gets flooded, to the highland. When the low land is dry again they go back and repair their houses. Another important festival in the eastern part is Mtesa, This is a festival of the Zulu people who came from South Africa. In the 17th century there was a brutal chief named Sjaka. He banned his way over 5000 km throughout Africa and killed lots of people. During the festival they sing war songs about the resistance against this chief. Then there are a lot of harvest festivals with special dances and of course the Christian celebrations of Easter and Christmas. “What is the typical music in Zambia” I asked. “The Rumba” Peter said. “It came over from the Congo. My last question was. “Did you see a lot of wild animals in Zambia”. “Sure” he said There are several big reserves in Zambia. Some as big as the South Island. Often I had to cross one of them for my work. Sometimes you had to stop for an elephant. You had to keep still. Blowing your horn would make them angry. They often travelled in a herd of 60 animals. Often you saw zebra’s and giraffes and sometimes there was a big snake on the road. I started to come in the spirit of Africa; Elephants and African people who show their special dances. That was the Africa I liked to think of. His story ended here however but my interest in Africa just started to be fuelled.


  1. Marja..very different from the conventional interviews..I enjoyed reading this

  2. Kia Ora Marja

    Hope all is well with you. Found your posting about your friend from Zambia a good read. Jopurnalism/writing is a great skill to acquire, and I think we all struggle to get all these words together.

    Have a good week.


  3. nice post... these things happen all over the world... in our place black people mingle a bit more easily than white people...

  4. Glad to know that you liked my new theme with two sidebars on the right :)

    If you want to change the theme for your blog, let me know. I'll help you do it for free.


  5. A very interesting interview. The questions you asked were great because you they led to some fascinating facts about life in Africa and some of the major cultural differences. You may have found your calling Marja.

  6. That was fascinating, Marja - you write very well.

    What happened to Peter and his wife? Did they settle in NZ or go back to Zambia? Interesting pieces like that always leave me wanting to know more!

  7. Hi Marja! I don't think I would ever blow my own horn in the presence of an elephant!

    Good post. I really enjoyed it.

    I like your Christmas header too - it's very festive and charming.



  8. Dear Marja..blijf schrijven...great post...

  9. Hier lust ik meer van Marja :-) Wat leuk om te lezen. Je vragen lokken antwoorden uit die een goed beeld schetsen. Ja, ook ik vraag me af hoe het verder is gegaan met Peter. :-)
    Dus kome maar op met die andere Intervieuws.


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