All dogs go to heaven, but some angels trade their wings for fur

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Shala flexing her sassy self, while Nduku looks on.

Life has thrown different kinds of pain, from emotional to mental pain.  Having a surgery without anaesthesia; teenage heart breaks, and scholarship rejections, but nothing match that of losing an unfailing friend, my dog. It’s a pain that ice or pain killers cannot soothe. Unlike other pains that gets better with time, this pains wounds cut deeper with time.

Growing up, I had cynophobia (fear of dogs). As a family, we had never kept pets before and my parents’ decision to bring dogs into our family was purely more of a security precaution than a quench for a companionship. We were moving from the farm area to the city were petty thieves and crime is prevalent thus dogs could provide affordable security for my family.

For various reasons we couldn’t agree on which breed to blend as part of the family, though my father wanted a German Shepard (Deutscher Schäferhund), similar to my brother who thought a Boerboel (South African Mastiff)  will be right for the task. While my younger sister, on the other hand, wanted a cute Chihuahua. My mother wanted anything that wouldn’t eat her grandchildren.  But, I just didn’t want anything to do with dogs.

It was my mother’s birthday when my father couldn’t be any more romantic than coming home with two canines a female and male. I must admit, these were the most adorable dogs for one to despise them. One didn’t have to be a dog lover to fall in love with these new members in the family. Their brown fur, tiny twinkling eyes, paws, and wiggly tails were enough to even melt my cynophobia.

As per norm, every member of our family has a name, but we didn’t know what names to give our two pets. My father, however, decided to honour his father’s late haunting dog that died tragically by naming the male dog after him. I sense it’s a loss he has still not yet recovered from till date. The female dog was named Shala (meaning let them talk) and the male Nduku (meaning a relative only when you have food).  Both names originate from the Congo, as my grandfather hailed from there and it’s  father’s way of reconnecting with his Swahili Congolese roots.

Nduku, had instantly smitten us and became our favourite one. His unshakable courage, biting tenacity, insatiable appetite, and very aggressive persona won us over. He also wore a mistaken shyness and he was never one to look you directly in the eyes, but when he did, a reassuring calmness glows from his eyes. I couldn’t help but fall in love with him; he was my kind of guy, a real shy gentleman.

His unfading charm, left most of the neighbourhood bitches (female dogs) picking fights and wishing to have his puppies. Upon realizing how much of a ladies man he was, my father took him to the vet for neutering to prevent having a little Nduku clan take over our yard. Unlike us humans, in Dog vile there is no such thing as sibling incest; Nduku had to be neutered before he got Shala pregnant. Knowing how much of a gentleman Nduku was, he would still prey on Shala’s heating craves, a great milestone for him. Although we all knew that nothing would come out of such savagery yet gratifying act. In fact, in Zambia the law only allows two dogs per household, more than two would attract a monthly fine paid to the municipality.

Like any other dog in an African household, Nduku was the family protector. He watched over all of us, but most importantly, he knew when to offer emotional support as well. He was like a plant that senses the season and weather. Each time one of us was under the weather, he could sense and dim his personality, following suit the religious adage, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep,” by sleeping outside their window for days until they were better. When my father was in hospital for three weeks, Nduku went on fasting not different from Ghandi. Our very own revolutionary he couldn’t eat until Dad was discharged. On the day he came back home, Nduku stood in awe, majestically wiggling his tail; his ears aligned and eye glowing with excitement to a point of peeing himself. This was his proverbial way of saying, “I really missed you.” For the next two months he religiously slept outside my father’s bedroom window until he had fully recovered.

His vicious yet cunning traits often got him in trouble, like when he killed our neighbour’s chicken. I would suppose Nduku had a legit reason for scavenging that chicken, in the first place what was it doing in his God-given territory. He and my mother shared a bittersweet relationship, funny enough he would always scratch her car and peed on her vegetables somewhat saying to her, “I hate you enough to give you a hard time and love you enough to prey on rodents that’s scramble your car cables.”

Nduku had two sides his to strangers was a vicious no-nonsense dog; to us, he was a witty dog with a massive appetite that enjoyed a well-prepared meal and sleeping through the day and patronizing the yard at night. Nduku’s life seemed so perfect and eternal, but fate had other plans against destiny.

Others call it the sixth sense while; others call it a gut feeling. Whatever it is I had it! I knew there was something wrong when I called my Dad that morning, I could feel the tremble in his voice; I could grasp a solemn music behind our phone call.  His voice was lifeless and weak, the only thing he asked was when my academic term was ending and if I was coming back home for a vacation.  I politely persisted in asking if everything was alright back home, but he still deceived me and reassured that all was well. I rather decided to check up on all my siblings and like dad, their voices too sounded seamless to be convincing but sorrowful to my ears. I realised there was no point in fighting it and whatever it was that they were hiding I was going to find out soon.

On the last day of the term, my father called me to break the news that Nduku had died three days ago. Boom! My gut feeling was right. Nothing in the world prepared me for this moment, it was as though time froze and my brain played all treasured memories like a picture motion- I had forgotten or taken for granted. I remembered how when he was a puppy and couldn’t sleep on his own, my younger sister and I took him to our room and let him sleep next to our bed or how he hated taking a bath, that I also ended up soaking wet. I felt like my world had been shuttered, tears rolled down my eyes with each drop weightier and bigger than the former. He really was gone and life as we knew it was bound to change forever.

My father’s voice was cracking I could feel his anguish as he narrated how he woke up and found Nduku bleeding. When the veterinary doctor came, he confirmed that Nduku was poisoned and the damage was already done. In short, there was nothing he could do to save him. Our hearts swell with sombre as our eyes were heavy with sorrow. We all grieve differently, I spent four days locked up in my room mourning, I hated myself for not taking as many pictures of him as I should have, my mother a medical personnel blamed herself for not being able to notice the symptoms earlier. While my father felt he had let all of us down by letting history repeat itself by allowing the same fate that claimed his father’s hunting dog meet Nduku. The same tragedy must have been around the corner to claim one of ours again!

During this time, I experienced so much anger towards people who viewed dogs as just ‘animals.’ I avoided friends that referred to him as ‘just a dog’ or ‘he’s not a person and worth the tears’ ‘you will get over it’. I later realised that the loss of a companion pet is like any other form of grief, each one of us held a unique friendship with Nduku. He shore into our lives and filled a gap we didn’t even know that it exists within us. To our friends and family, we seemed to be coconut (black on the outside and white on the inside) for mourning a dog like we did. It’s only until you have a dog like Nduku, that one can experience pure companionship and unconditional love.

Love means different things to different people, to me love is paws and a wiggly tail that comes with a warm feeling of friendship and unfailing surety. The hardest part of losing a dog isn’t having to say goodbye, it’s the way ones entire life changes without them and the emptiness that encircles their heart when the pet is gone.

Nduku may have only been five years old when he died, but he gave us the best five years of our lives. If it’s true that all dogs go to heaven, then am excited about heaven. If not, then I choose to believe that some angels trade their wings for fur.

 

Edited by Davies Sitenta and Menelisi Falayi

 

 

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Nduku being a clown, Shala clearly ignoring him.

Welcome to Makhanda, ‘Wakanda forever!’

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Photo Credit Nawa Sitali

“Ma’am, is everything ok? Can I offer you anything to drink? Some water perhaps or maybe a packet of Kleenex?”

She stares directly in my eyes, her eyes are filled with compassion. Maybe it is part of her job description or she is genuinely a sweet person. I probably will never know which one it is, but I like her.

Tears keep racing down my cheeks, with the next drop being bigger than the last. Am an emotional wreck, I look a mess and I feel terrible.

Remind me why am doing this again dear reader, this leaving home and going to a foreign land, leaving my family and friends behind with the hopes of finding new friends that will eventually turn into family.

Please don’t give me that “it’s a price you pay for success” or “that something’s got to give”, I am willing to give up fries and carbonated drinks, but leaving home for two years sounds like too much to ask.

I slowly sink in my chair and quietly sob, maybe not so quietly but at this point who cares. She returns with Kleenex and water as promised, I give her a polite shy smile and turn towards the window staring at the clouds.

A friend of mine once told me “you don’t get any closer to God than in the skies”. If he is right then this will probably be the best time to pray, I mean my prayer would reach faster than that of those on the ground right? Probably wrong but no harm in trying.

I whisper a short prayer and drift off into sleep.

Friend, let me tell you how we got here, at this point am 33000 feet above ground on board a South African Airways operated Airbus, in short, am at a point of no return I can’t run or walk away this is it!

Days prior to this moment, I was counting down and looking forward to this, but now that we are here I want to take back the night and push this day even further.

Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to do my postgraduate studies outside my country. It’s a bed I laid and now its time to sleep in it, not just any ordinary type of sleep but the sleeping beauty kind of sleep.

Am awakened by her gentle voice, Ma’am Tea, Coffee or Juice? Juice please I respond, she quickly notices the look of shame on my face and she gives an encouraging smile like it is our little secret.

Am glad the seat next to me is empty, I can’t imagine disturbing my neighbor with my sobs and childish whims, at least am alone with my sorrows.

I have never been away from home for so long, I lived on campus during my undergraduate studies but I always found my way home every weekend. If I couldn’t make it home my parents would come to me.

This will be a new experience, a tough one if you ask me but am up for the challenge.

Wait a minute! Did you think those tears were a sign of defeat?  That word does not exist here, here we seek adventure and see the good in every situation.

If Angels learn to fly then Warriors can shed tears too.

My sweet friend returns, this time I look sane my hair is combed and the tear marks are gone, thank you powder! She smiles at me and wishes me all the best in my endeavors.

One flight down one more to go before I reach my destination. While waiting for my connecting flight at OR Tambo International Airport, I manage to connect to the Airport Wi-Fi and all hell breaks loose, Pandora’s Box has been opened again.

As I read messages from my family and friends wishing me well, am overwhelmed by emotions and can’t help but cry even harder.

But what swings all the flood gates open is a handwritten letter from “He whose name cannot be mentioned”, if you ask me chivalry is definitely not dead!

After an hour of crying, I finally pull myself together and board my connecting flight to Port Elizabeth.

I sleep throughout this flight, once again the odds are in favor it is just me and my sorrows.

The Captains voice wakes me up, this is it!  We are descending, an adventure awaits me with my name and today’s date (22nd January 2019) marked on it.

As I walk towards the airport exit gate, I see a gentleman holding a placard with my name on it, as I approach him he smiles and shouts “Welcome to Port Elizabeth now let me take you to Grahamstown also known as Makhanda!”

We both coincidentally make our Wakanda forever signs.

If this place is called Makhanda and Sounds like Wakanda then am called Chishimba but I definitely feel like General Okoye.

And as Okoye would command her army of Women as they stepped into battle, forward pambire!!!!

Now let’s go to Rhodes University.

 

 

 

 

Graduation expectations VS reality

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In a few days’ time, Lusaka will be peppered with green, the official colours of the University of Zambia’s 46th graduation ceremony.  With career anxiety and expectations already blossoming and coming to bloom, the question of the day will be variations of “what have you been doing since we last met/ what are you up to now/ what’s been keeping you busy?”

For many stepping onto the podium to graduate, with immeasurable effort put into attaining graduate status, this question will be a thorn, slowly piercing their hearts; living, breathing proof that our realities vs. our expectations of post-university life are two vastly different worlds.

A milieu of mixed emotions has characterised my journey to graduation, especially because my life after UNZA has not met the expectations I had long held onto. I initially thought I was being too hard on myself, but conversations, and encounters with friends have gradually made me realise that I am not the problem, rather the problem for me, and for many of my fellow graduates, is my perception of what life should look like after graduation.

Of all the Class of 2012 candidates who will receive public recognition for their academic achievements, who did not envision a smooth transition from lecture hall to board room, clothed in the finest corporate wear, from Jimmy Choo’s to Ralph Lauren suits?  We pictured ourselves moving out of our parents’ homes, driving down Great East road, planning weekly get-togethers with the closest of our university friends. Reality after passing that final examination could not be more different. Reality and ‘adulting’ crept in with Monday mornings dawning and finding me still in my parents’ home.

The beauty, and paradoxically, the biggest problem with university, is the enormity of the freedom it accords us when we are still students. Moving back home after completing a first degree needs, on our part, a massive behaviour adjustment – re-tuning our behaviour dials to our parents’ rules and regulations. Curfews in particular are perhaps the most painful and seemingly unnecessarily tyrannical parental impositions we must deal with, especially when coupled with unemployment.

Living in someone else’s house and eating someone else’s food, means you are constantly stretching their wallets with your personal needs which you had been able to meet without them while you were a student. Let’s be honest here, after university you begin to see yourself as a different entity from your parents, even more so than you did during the nightmarish years of adolescence; this only heightens your sense of being over-dependent on them. Boys, and girls, ladies and gentlemen, since by this point we well understand that nothing in life is free, in exchange for food and board, we are essentially turned into house-helps. We are the new gardeners and domestic cleaning staff. This is not to say that once we are done with University we cannot clean or we are too good for dishes, NO! It is the hard truth that as we have no formal employment, providing help around the house is essentially the only ‘job’ we hold – one for which we are held accountable.

We have a second job however, one, which for many, is an unacknowledged fulltime job: job-hunting. The job market is flooded and competition is stiff, paired with the misconception about job availability, we thought because we are university graduates, high salaried jobs were just waiting out there for us to choose and pass up as we please. Draw closer, now read and then reread these words: for many (and not just you, you are not alone in this reality!), it is hard to get a job, and once we do get one, it is rarely as prestigious we expected, and once we factor in transport costs, the salary is, in reality, laughable.

There is much, much, so much more to life after university than an ordinary heart and mind can expect. The world I found off the UNZA campus has made me recast myself into an extraordinary mind with an extraordinary heart. I have reset my goals, cast them higher than they ever were, and pushed myself to work ever harder. I have had to break out of my comfort zones and post-university-life lofty expectations, undertaking tasks and jobs that had previously seemed menial.

The transition into the real world is not for the timid but for those who are goal oriented, disciplined and view the world with an open mind and heart.

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THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME

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20160721_160003I never appreciated the old adage ‘there’s no place like home,’ until recently when I travelled out of Zambia.

Travelling out of the country means making new friends, experiencing different cultures, tasting new food and basking in beautiful scenery— but it also means losing the sense of entitled familiarity entrenched in a comfort zone.

Coming from a landlocked country like Zambia, the only thing I was looking forward to on my trip was going to the beach and playing in ocean water.

It wasn’t my first time leaving the country so I didn’t have to deal with all the anxiety that comes with travelling, I had everything sorted out, including my cosmetics which were in the right quantity and array.

The last time I went to the beach was on a cold day in Swakopmund. Water waves slushed through my skin like razors, I found myself merely watching the water rather than playing in it. However, this time the weather was perfect and nothing was going to come in between the sea water and I.

What would honestly go wrong? Nothing! I assured myself of this as I prepared for my trip to the beautiful city of Durban.

I was at Kenneth Kaunda International airport exactly two hours prior to my flight’s departure, giving me enough time to check in and relax. Casually conversing with me as she worked, the lady at the counter checked me in to what turned out to be a sweet short flight.

When I arrived at OR Tambo international airport for a connecting flight, it was busy as always, there was no time for small talk.

I obviously blamed it on the queues— who would be smiling and wanting to know if you enjoyed your flight when they have a hundred other people to attend to.

I actually noticed that the immigration lady attending to us wasn’t in the best of moods, but hey, what mattered was that I was going to the beach and no one could stop me.

“Enjoy your flight,” she said. “Siyabonga kakhulu,” (thank you) I quipped, finally all those episodes of Generations, Isidingo, and Muvhango where paying off— my Zulu was on point!

Upon arrival at King Shaka international airport, I went straight to KFC. I just had to try the chicken after watching all those commercials on television.

The waitress greeted me in her local language and I just stood tongue tied, not knowing how to respond. I then smiled and said, “Two pieces of chicken and regular chips please.”

She gave me an ugly stare that seemed to say, “You such a snob!” I would have taken offense if it were any ordinary encounter, but I felt at ease knowing she couldn’t differentiate me from the local people. Though a foreigner, I was blending in well.

But I did miss the customer service back home. As the two pretty negative experiences ran through my mind, I consoled myself saying “it’s too early to judge as you are only at the airport and the two ladies may simply be having a very bad day.”

On my way to the hotel I couldn’t help but stick my head outside the window. The streets were so clean, the landscape was breath taking with all the tall buildings, and perfect weather, there was little or no traffic congestion and yes the smell of the ocean.

“Its way better than home, I wouldn’t mind living here forever” I whispered.

But after a couple of days I became homesick, the food and the people were amazing but there was something missing.

The Zambian touch wasn’t just there, I missed the smiles from strangers along the streets of Lusaka, I missed being able to converse in Bemba at the market, I missed knowing my way around the city in terms of where the cheap and expensive staff was sold. I missed “ubwali ubwankoko no musalu” (Nshima with chicken and vegetables) my favourite local dish.

Being a hands on type of person, I felt like I was in captivity because I couldn’t go anywhere alone, for fear of being lost or worse being mugged.

Before I knew it, I was counting down to how many days left, before I returned back home.

During my trip I learnt one valuable lesson, traveling helps us appreciate the things we take for granted, like a friendly smile when you walk into a store or the small conversation people make, but most importantly the feeling that comes from knowing that this is my home.

As I returned home I told myself there’s no place like home even if there is no beach back home, chichi learn to be content with the Goma lakes at your University of Zambia LOL!

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Something Beautiful

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The adrenaline racing through her melanin as her body quivers in terror.  Thandie, pleaded, “Please stop! Stop it! Stop it!” By then, she was helplessly laying down, as these indignant and opportunistic men took turns in robbing her of pride with their bare loins. Minutes later, she was breathing at the mercy of the skies witnessing this physiological tragedy. Thandie’s fate on that night rested on something beyond pain.

The sun had just cuddled the horizon when Thandie in her high school uniform fell in the hands of the rapists. While down, her mind quickly recollected the path she took on her way home from work before the attack happened. Her hazel eyes were closed and her mind was shut. This is not how she dreamt of her first date, ‘I am mistaken,” she thought to herself.  To absorb the anguish, Thandie imagined Paul being the one biting her virginity with a gentle kiss, caressing her neck, as euphoria rushed through their bodies while their flaming eyes are locked in each other. The taste of his lips twined on the tip of her tongue, Souls sandwiched in pleasure was her ideal romance. Sadly, reality explored her expectations and intimacy was numb. All she felt was fiery pain of a piercing shaft thrusted into her skin.

“You can now open your eyes pretty thing,” The rapist whispered with a sadistic humour. However, she did not, until she heard big footsteps walking away and then opened her teary eyes. Traumatized, the girl got up and walked home in limps, her hourglass shaped uniform soaked in her own bleeds.

From afar through the window, Thandie’s mom got sight of her misery stained on her bloody dress. Her sore lip and a torn dress, where enough to trigger a cardiac arrest. The mom protested, “Thandie mwana wanga nichani?” [Thandie my child, what is wrong?] Staring hopelessly was her father, who could not bear the evil that has swallowed his daughter’s pride and purity.

Before Thandie could respond to her mother’s question, “Who did this to you? Who is he? I will kill him with my bare hands!” vowed her father. “We have to report this to the police, he will pay for this!” she swore like the raging lioness.

The following morning, Thandie’s parents and she went to the police to report the tragedy. Without any sympathy for her, the police officer interrogated her with too many biased questions, which made her feel guilty for being female and for being raped by the vile creatures. “How did the culprits look like? Why where you walking alone at that time of the evening, or perhaps it was your boyfriend?  Charged officer Tembo. From his questioning, it was obvious that nothing good will come out of their visit. With frustration arresting her body, Thandie started blaming herself for what happened, wishing she should not have closed her eyes later on be walking alone from her part-job. Now there was no way of identifying the rapists. The skies could not testify either.

She had nightmares of the rapists every single night slept. How they slapped her when she cried out for help and exploited her body.

Thandie’s name become synonymous with shame in her community as her friends called her a gold digger and promiscuous. The family became a laughing stock. Thandie became a breadwinner of the family a year ago when her father was diagnosed with lung cancer. Consequently, she had to work late at a local super market after school, in order to raise enough money for her tuitions and his medical bills. The mom had a small business of selling dry fish, but the income was not enough to provide for the family.

The blossoms were in love with the offing, a sign of a new beginning for the Njovu family. A month later, they moved to a new place and Thandie was slowly but surely coming to terms with her horrors. She was excited about the new town, living behind memories of fright and landscapes of dying history. She was looking forward to her new horizon.

One misty morning, there was something strange about it. Thandie with an urge to pass out, jumped out of her bed, went straight to bend over in the toilet bowl, and vomited on an empty stomach. Powerlessly, she sat on the floor feeling queasy. It was a complete six weeks since the tragic incidence happened.

That very morning, Thandie and her mom rushed to the clinic for a medical check-up. When they got to the clinic, the doctor examined her for possible pregnancy. Anticipation for the results was becoming unbearable with each second that passed. Seeing fear in her daughter’s face, “everything is okay my child,” she reassured her.

“Thandie Njovu! Who is Thandie Njovu here?” The nurse inquired in the hallway, but Thandie was grasped by anxiety she could not move her legs. What if the news she got was not what she expected?

In a collected voice, her mom whispered to her, “tiye mwana wanga osayopa [lets go my child don’t be afraid].” At that moment, the gospel seemed not worth knowing.

‘Congratulations madam you are pregnant!” the nurse exclaimed. “What? Hell No! It must be a mistake it can’t be!” she further defended, ‘I was raped, I cannot raise a child for those bastards!’ The nurse tried to talk to Thandie, but she was inconsolable and all she could think of was Paul and her future. Her mom stood in state of shock.

Paul was her first and only true love.  She did not tell him about the rape incidence, because she wanted to explain everything in person when he returns home from his studies in Japan. That day, the skies become clearer than her birthday. How and what will she tell her childhood lover, after promising each other to remain celibate until marriage? Will she find the courage to him that she was becoming a teen mother?

“I want an abortion!”

“Thandie are you sure?” the nurse inquired.

“Iyayi! Kulibe! This is abomination; is it evil Thandie. You cannot do that!” Thandie’s mom interjected.

She pleaded, “Mom please think of me, Paul, my career, my pride, what will people say? As tears crawl across her petty face.

Her mom, “it does not matter, the baby you are bearing is a God-given gift and innocent. It is something beautiful!”

‘This woman is really crazy’, thought Thandie, does she expect me to keep this baby, the constant reminder of the night everything fell apart. The thought of bearing the rapist’s child made her sick to the stomach.

However, she was not one to take away another’s life. Thandie would never live with such blood shed on her hands, she remembered reading somewhere, “everything happens for a reason, thou shall not kill.” She could not quiet pinpoint whether she read it in the Bible or a poem. Now more than ever, Thandie was determined to prove to what extent she could live up to these truths.

Days later, while still thinking how to tell Paul she got a text from him, “Is it true? Are you pregnant? Who is responsible? He kept sending messages, but the girl did not know how to reply. She had written many drafts, but she could not send any. Finally she replied ‘yes Paul I am, I was raped,” that was the end the love story of the babygirl and Paul, as he would affectionately call her.Thandie lost everything she loved including Paul.

On that fateful evening, Thandie found herself in the labour ward. “Push! Push harder!” The midwife insisted, she screamed for her life. In her mind she saw clear skies witnessing the moment when she is about to bring something beautiful to the world. Every push ripped her body apart, and reminded her of the pain, the terror and brutality she had suffered on that tragic evening.

“One big push!” Yelled the midwife.

The time had come for Thandie to find her eureka in her pregnancy; it was as if the waters were being freed to swim in the river of tranquillity. Thandie could now let out all the rage she had bottled inside her, she pushed out all the pain inflicted by the rapists and the heartbreak caused by Paul.

After her deeper breathe and scream, followed a gentle and soothing cry,

“It’s a girl!” the midwife rejoiced.

Thandie’s thoughts of blemish and terror that had kept her hostage for so long finally vanished. When she saw an innocent soul, thrusting from her own body and she caught sight of something beautiful and held it in her hands as she swelled with exquisite euphoria. She named her Nthanda (The star). Thandie realized the power of womanhood, the phenomenal magic of her womb and beauty that surpasses every ounce of pain she endured.

As a blossoming hibiscus that survived the winters, Thandie was convinced that to every dark cloud lies something beautiful.

“I will do it tomorrow”

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In a few hours’ time our university will be officially opened after being indefinitely closed for over two months. But for some reason best known to myself am not looking forward to it

I can’t believe I have spent over two months home and never flipped a page to study, this isn’t funny, it’s a serious issue I need to address. Am now trying to study a terms work in the few hours remaining. Why do I put myself under so much unnecessary stress?

“I will do it tomorrow” is what has led me to this point where am at staring at my notebook and asking myself when did we learn this topic.  “I will do it tomorrow” is what I told myself for the past two months but finally tomorrow is here and today is not enough to do all the things I had bundled up for tomorrow.

In between drinks with the girls, watching all the movies on my hard drive, listening to all the albums and just chilling, I forgot one cardinal point this is my FINAL YEAR!!! Lord why didn’t anyone remind me of that point about a month ago.

PROCRASTINATION! hands down, this is the best form of self–sabotage and I sabotaged myself. I kept procrastinating, pushing my work till tomorrow but now there is no more tomorrow and I still have unfinished assignments, reports and other pending assessments.

I thought death or terminal illness was what would assassinate my career but I must have definitely over looked an enemy that lies rooted deep inside me, that little voice inside my head that is constantly whispering ‘tomorrow you will do it tomorrow’.

There so many books I had planned to read, places I wanted to visit, articles I wanted to write and different dishes I wanted to prepare but thanks to my buddy procrastination I didn’t do any.

But I choose not to be too hard on myself, but take this as a life lesson, “even the easiest job seems pretty hard when you constantly pushing it aside, had I started in good time, opening school would have been a joyous occasion, but because of failing to prepare adequately the thought of returning to school sends chills down my spine”.

In the wise words of Patrick Pinckney “If you don’t do it, it won’t be done. And if you don’t do it now you will probably not do it at all. Motivation must defeat procrastination. This is a good time to get started.

Time to get back to work!!!

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City Clean up- Every ones responsibility

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“Tipempako boma iyanganepo pankani yadoti kuno” (we are asking the government to intervene in the issues of waste  management , these are ‘requests’ that many Zambians present to government so often even when the problem was caused by themselves and is not insurmountable for them. Over the years, Zambian people have become very accustomed to rely on the government to work for them. What then is their role especially
the youth? One may ask.

Will they also join the bandwagon and blame the government for everything that has gone wrong in the country without even trying to find a solution to the problem themselves?
The once beautiful city of Lusaka, the garden city as it was, has today lost its scenic beauty largely due to people’s indiscriminate disposal of waste. Many Lusaka residents are guilty of robbing Lusaka and Zambia as a whole of its aesthetic value because they have chosen to stand aloof, quiet and not willing to take a stride towards the cleaning up of their city.

They have chosen to uphold the “niva boma” (it’s for the government) mentality. They feel cleaning their city is the responsibility of the local municipality, which should not be the case. Zambia does not belong to the municipality or the government but it belongs to every citizen. They are the trendsetters for things to change for the better.

This month’s city clean-up had a different trend to it. While others were waiting for the local municipality (Lusaka City Council {LCC}) to clean up the city, a group of vibrant young men and women took the onus upon themselves to ensure that generated waste was disposed in its rightful places-the pits and designated dumping bays.

On 2nd April, 2016 Agents of Change (ACF) lead a team of youths from different walks of life who came together to achieve one goal-to clean up their city. ACF focuses specifically on children’s rights, health and climate change issues, while using radio as a platform for dialogue and community based awareness.  This organisation has partnered with UNICEF on several climate change initiatives and was recognised as one of the 2015 world’s youth driven organisations. In its endeavour to sustain the mission, ACF is currently is working on five radio projects with 100 young radio reporters across Zambia.

Agents of Change (ACF) lead a team of youths from different walks of life that came together to achieve one goal-to clean up their city. Agents of Change co-founder Brighton Kaoma said his foundation’s decision to clean up the city was due to the negative effects that indiscriminate disposal of waste has on the country and the world such as pollution and global warming. “We are all affected by global warming, but what are we doing to
address the situation,” Kaoma asked.

Kaoma further challenged the government to not only enforce laws that prohibit littering of the surroundings but to also lead by example and champion the city clean up exercises. “It will take a multi-sectorial approach to ensure that our country is kept clean and the highest power in the land has to be at the centre of it if it has to be a success,” he said. He urged those in government to emulate their Rwandan counterparts in having managed to keep their country clean.
“In Rwanda, they have what is known as ‘Umuganda’ translated as ‘coming together in common purpose to achieve an outcome. President Paul Kagame joins his people in cleaning up their city, why can’t those in power join us during the city clean up exercise every first Saturday of the month to ensure Zambia is kept clean?”

While noting the need to change people’s mind-set towards disposal of waste, he pointed out the necessity of re-enforcing and sensitising people using the different media on the importance of rightfully disposing off their waste. He further challenged the Lusaka City Counsel to not only provide bins in designated areas but to devise a system that will ensure that waste is collected in time.
Kaoma said, “Agents of Change initiative to clean up our city results may not be instant but people will appreciate in time and soon everyone will realise that waste is wealth.”

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Agents of change co-founder-Brighton Kaoma

Meanwhile, Culture and Environment Ambassador Geoffrey Daka charged that efforts from the municipal council, environmental enthusiasts and concerned citizens seem not to be enough to deal with the problem of waste in the streets.
Many people now wonder whether they will ever live in a green and clean city. Daka stated that there is need for political will to invest in waste management. “What we call landfill is actually a dumpsite in Zambia. There is need to now focus on the mind-set transformation. If the old are comfortable with the indiscriminate disposal of waste, then it is our responsibility to teach the new breed on ways of disposing of waste and managing it. There is need to employ the 5Rs on environmental responsibility,” he said.
The 5Rs are:
*RESPECT-If people respect the environment, they can’t litre.
*REUSE-There are plastics, clothes, papers that can be reused over and over. Why not reuse them for environmental goodness?
*RENEW-The thin line between Renew and Reuse and Recycle does not mean it cannot be an option. There is need to renew some products and seek maximum benefits.
*REDUCE-If people respect, reuse and renew their footprint on waste disposal. Garbage will surely reduce. That should be everyone’s goal.
*RECYCLE-More waste must not be thought to be for the landfill or garbage bin, waste must be separated and recycled according to its kind.
Daka noted that the 5Rs and many methods will not lead to cleaning and
greening the city until people change their mind-set. Greening and cleaning the city must be everyone’s goal.

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Culture and Environment Ambassador- Geoffrey Daka

Commenting further on the need to change our mind-sets, University of Zambia Environmental Education graduate Nchimunya Moonga, stated that the key to changing people’s mind-sets lies in the ability to make every individual realise that poor waste disposal is what leads to enormous quantities of garbage to accumulate. ‘If ten thousand individuals passing through an area litter a piece of paper each with the perception that ‘it’s just a small single paper’, the ultimate result will obviously be ten thousand pieces of paper in that area”, he said.

Moonga said ability to acknowledge that one person’s poor waste disposal is significant to the accumulation of huge quantities of waste, is the same needed to convince people that individual efforts to desist littering will collectively result in a vast progress when cleaning up the city. For as long as each individual does not see themselves as being part of the source of the garbage in the city, the LCC will forever try to clean up the city and will always lack capacity as the same tons of garbage removed today will resurface due to individuals littering without realising they are contributing to the creation of a heap of garbage every day.

The future of Zambia depends on citizens’ actions today. Therefore let Zambians become environmentally conscious, be empathetic about nature and help to build a clean, litter-free and green city. It begins with all of human beings at individual level.
If waste disposal is not managed properly and it therefore causes diseases to human beings and harms the environment, then posterity will surely judge the current generation harshly. Who wants to be judged? No one. Therefore responsibility now will serve everyone frombeing ‘judged’ in future.

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The clean up team