Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Cancidates with misunderstandings

Many Zambian guys try to pick us up here because of our skin colour. They want to get married with white women. I'm Japanese, but for them, I'm also a 'white woman'. They think all of us are very rich. They don't have much understanding of the global economy, so they just think if they were to get married with us, they would have plenty of money automatically. Even a guy who you meet for the first time on the street proposes to you. "I love you, Madam. I want you to be my wife" And they are insistent. although you say 'No', they follow you. it's really annoying.

I always try to explain how life is in Japan. We should work hard all day long to get money and the cost of living is very expensive so we're always struggling with a shortage of money, but they don't believe it. They think we can get a lot of money so easily.

One man said, "You should get married with my nephew. He loves you a lot and he would make you happy. You wouldn't have to worry about housework. You can hire a maid. And just buy a farm, so you can get a lot of money easily". And his wife added "You should prepare some money for my nephew's mother before your wedding". I'm just an ordinary single woman, why did they think I could afford to buy a farm? And what if I can afford to do so, why should I pay money to my husband and his family? Their ideas are totally stupid. That man and his wife are not uneducated. They graduated from college, but they still have wrong perceptions.

I know some women from developed countries who got married to African guys, I want to know how they manage these misunderstandings about economy.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Under 5 Clinic at a rural health center in Zambia

Sonia is weghing babies. Twice a month we provide 'Under 5 Clinic'. We wegh babies, give them vaccinations and vitamin A tablets.  Today about 50 babies came to our clinic.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Webster, Zambian guy, 25 years old, The Story of His Life

Webster is a watchman during night at my place. In the daytime, he goes to school. This year he became grade 10. It means he entered secondary school. I wondered why he is already an adult yet goes to school with kids?
He told me the story of his life.
Me and my family lived in a small farming village in the bush. I was a school boy. We were not rich, but my parents managed to pay my school fees. When I was in grade 7, I failed the exam. The following year, my parents payed the school fees for me again and I failed again. So I stopped going to school. I did nothing at that time. I would just sit at home and sometimes I worked on the farm.
And then I got married. One year, the weather was cold. We couldn't grow any crops and all of our cows died from a disease. So we moved to Kalomo town to live. First I did only some small piecework, and then I got this job. Then I started to think that my salary was not enough to feed my family and pay for my children to go to school. I thought I should get more money, but I'm not well educated so I couldn't get a highly-paid job. And then an idea occurred to me. I could go back to school again. I told my wife my idea and she agreed with my plan. It wasn't easy for to me to study again, so I tried hard. During the final exam this year, I got study leave and my wife worked for a living instead of me. She helped me concentrate on my exam.
Wao! It's a good story. But I was worried about his school fees. I asked him if his salary is enough for him and his family, because I thought his salary is not so high. He replied that when he was in basic school, he managed to pay it on time, but now he has got a sponsorship from a Canadian woman. She had stayed here for 5 years before so she knows him and his life. He sent her an e-mail asking for sponsorship and she accepted it. Now he doesn't have to worry about his school fees! It's wonderful. Here in the Namwianga area, many students get sponsorship from the U.S. and Canada. And their organization is doing this program very fairly and correctly. That Canadian woman should be happy because her money was spent on the right thing in the right way.

Zambia Mission Fund Canada

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

My friend, Jack, 1 year old

Jack lives behind my clinic. When I pass by his place, he calls my name, "Shima ! Shima!"
And when I come up to him....

He starts to cry. He scares of a people who's colour is defferent.
When I step away from his place, he stops crying and says, "Bye-bye, Shima !" It's funny.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

At a restaurant in Kalomo

You can see 'nshima', Zambians staple food made by maize, fried chickens and tomato sauce. It's 10.000ZMK. A bottle of orange juice is 3000ZMK. Zambians eat nshima with their right hands. Of course, I also do it as them!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

African time, African appointment

One of the annoying things in Africa is that they don't keep on time. People say we Japanese and Germans are very precise about time. In Japan, we are used to everything being on time. If we delay an appointment with our client, we will lose our contract. If you late for your date, you'll lose your girlfriend. Punctuality defines your reliability in Japan.

In Niger, I called a plumber to fix my place in the morning. He said "O.K. I'll come now." He came to my place around 4 o'clock in the afternoon. In Japan, "now" means within 30 min. In Niger, it means 8 hours !?

In Zambia, people also don't care about time. Our clinic is open from 8:30a.m to 16:00p.m. But after morning service, they greet and chat for about 1 hour. Then they start their work around 9:30a.m. And they do everything very slowly. So patients have to wait their turns for a long, long time. The word "efficiency" doesn't exist here. Social events also are always delayed. Wedding, party. ceremony, even National conference are also delayed for about 2 hours. Here you shouldn't get mad if someone doesn't show up to your appointment. He'll come 2 hours later, and he doesn't think it's a problem. Or sometimes they don't come and there's no apology. But you shouldn't be angry. They have reasons like something came up and they didn't have money to call you. You can't trust them as for time and appointment. We have to recognize all of these are just part of their culture.
Anyway, it's kind of stressful, though I know basically they are nice people.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Cell-phone in Africa

Before I came to Africa, I wondered if there were cell-phones in Africa? The first country that I went to in Africa was Niger. Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world. I heard that many people there live with less than 1 USD per day. I couldn't imagine how life is there. Despite my concern,in Niger, I found everybody has cell-phones. Though they are poor, they have one. In Africa, they haven't a regular phone network, I mean, wire-networks for telephones. In developed countries, we have telephones in each house and office. But in Africa, only "cell-phones" are telephones.

All calls should be pre-paid in Africa. We should buy coupon tickets for calls and enter the number. So, telephone companies can avoid unpaid customers. I think this is a good system here. And the cell-phone have torch functions. It's very convinient here because electricity stops everyday. In the dark, it helps us. Of course, in developed countries, we don't need this function.

We can see NOKIA, SUMSUNG, Sony Ericson and some Chinese model cell-phone. Even BlackBerry is also available. I saw iPhone in a market in Niger, but it was fake. African people enjoy chatting with their friends, radio, music, movies and taking photos with their cell-phone like us. I've never imagined it. The communication industry is developping even in Africa!