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Zambia sets example of diversity, acceptance

Africa is the world’s second largest and most populous continent, with a population of over 1 billion people. From the North to the South and the East to the West, Africa showcases a lot of cultural diversity, beautiful landscapes and happy people. There are 54 countries in this beautiful continent but this week I will be focusing on the beautiful country of Zambia.

Zambia is a landlocked country in southern Africa, neighboring the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Tanzania to the northeast, Malawi to the east, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia to the south, and Angola to the west. The capital of Zambia is Lusaka, and the country has a population of about 13 million people. Apart from English there are 74 local languages in Zambia. Zambia is home to the Victoria falls, which has been described by CNN as one of the seven wonders of the natural world. This water body is the largest sheet of falling water in the world. The traditional name of the Victoria falls is “Mosi-oa-tunya” which means “the smoke which thunders.”

Justina Lwando, a senior here at Concordia from Zambia, states that one of the reasons why she loves her country is because it is such a peaceful country; they have never even had any sort of war in their history. Zambia is also home to Zambezi, which is one of the largest rivers in Africa and where the country gets its name from.

On a typical day at 8:00 a.m., you can see a group of beautiful young kids in their uniforms holding their fancy lunch boxes and all heading to school in small groups. Although there are school buses, most children would rather take the morning walk with their friends as it is a time to bond with one another. Most primary and secondary schools close at 5 p.m. due to the fact that some parents have to work and there are no nannies available to take care of the kids at home, so the kids are cared for by the schools until their parents are ready to go home. Basic education is free from grade one to grade seven, and the education curriculum is being changed from the British system to the Zambian system.

When asked what she misses most about her home country, Justina said, “I miss the community spirit, where everyone tries as much as possible to help you when there is a problem. We are not individualistic. We live as a community where everyone cares for their neighbors.” She also misses her favorite traditional dish, called “Nshima.” Nshima is made with corn flour and eaten with a traditional soup as well. She also misses her family a lot, and a typical flight to Zambia is over twenty hours. One thing she has noticed is that a lot of people don’t know about Zambia and she has to always remind them “no, I am from Zambia not Zimbabwe.”

Due to the fact that it’s a land-locked country, many people from neighboring countries move into Zambia and therefore it has a lot of diversity ranging from people of different religious backgrounds and nationalities. One thing Justina is proud of is that her country does a great job when it comes to taking in refugees, and also trying to help them get integrated with the Zambian society and making sure they fit well into the community they are in. Justina states that Zambia is a country that is made up of immigrants and that is where the country got its motto, “One Zambia, One Nation.” They all try to work together because they believe that the country belongs to everyone, and therefore refugees should be welcomed because every Zambian is or was once a refugee. Another fun fact is that healthcare is free in Zambia.

Here are some wise words from Zambia: “Ako Usulile Ekapa Amano-Bemba”, which means “Do not look down on an idea, it may be the best one in achieving your goal.”

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