Zambia in Drought and Famine Danger 


June 1, 2002

On May 30 the President of Zambia declared a food crisis in his country. Once again, the news in one of the poorest countries of the world goes from bad to worse.

LifeNets has been working in Zambia for the past few years where we have successfully helped people improve their quality of life. We aid a few communities in the remote Mumbwa region about 100 miles west of the capital city of Lusaka. The people in these areas lost their entire herd of cattle to disease about four years ago. Last December we restored 26 animals that provide milk protein and draft power for pulling plows. Previous to this the women and children pulled the plows. Before delivery of the animals we sponsored an intensive training seminar about calf care and feeding. We were overjoyed that we could bring back some of the loss suffered.

Another blessing of the past year has been the general health of the children. Every year during the rainy season a few children die of malaria or other diseases. This past year not a single child died, in part due to LifeNets’ providing medicine for the entire community. This month we are again sending a major shipment of medicine that we are able to buy for about 3% of cost.

But, we have more problems and are now asking again for your help. The rainy season that typically begins in mid-November and runs into April came to a sudden halt in mid-January. The cotton and maize crops that were planted in November failed. A typical annual income for a family is about $200 a year. This year it will be ZERO. People are now forced to eat from last year’s reserve. Our cattle are surviving, but the people have had to herd them to the Kafue River about ten miles away and stay with them around the clock. They are hoping that the well about ¼ mile from one of the settlements does not run dry.

LifeNets director Kambani Banda who lives in Lusaka visited Mumbwa a few weeks ago. Kambani is our only communication source with Mumbwa as there is no telephone service in the area. He describes his trip with his old car:

"I had one of my most difficult trips yet. The car was stalling all the way as the rings are now worn as it has been providing me with service since 1988, about 14 years! The car caught fire, but we managed to put it out and rectify the fuel leak which was the cause of the fire and we kept on.

Old Peugot that Kambani Banda drives to Mumbwa.  This is the vehicle that drove me to Mumbwa when I was there last October.  Luckily we had only one flat tire.

"Then later the left rear wheel studs broke, Luckily Apren Moomba asked me to buy him ordinary 19 size nuts and bolts. These are the ones we used to tie the rim, but when back in Lusaka we had a puncture and these same nuts and bolts refused to do the job.

"Next the rear left shaft together with the wheel came out of the differential. We managed to put back the bearing locker which for some reason was loose.

"Finally by then it was the following morning and for breakfast we had tire puncture. Because of the poor performance of the engine the fuel consumption was so bad that we ran out of petrol in the middle of nowhere, however we managed to buy some from the black market that sells anything anytime.

"I am sorry that I seem to bear only bad news, but I have some good news. The people in Mumbwa were in very high spirits in spite of the drought."

We need to provide a lifeline from Lusaka, where Kambani Banda lives, to the remote villages in Mumbwa. Our immediate need is to purchase a reliable automobile or pickup truck. We need to raise $8000 for the cost of the vehicle as well as continue to help with with food and medicine to these villages.

Victor Kubik

P.S. All donations are tax-deductible. When this project is fully funded any excess will be used for our other Africa LifeNets projects. Thank you for caring.

For those caring to help:

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Indianapolis, IN 46228