The view from the bottom of the bottom

The way they used to pack slaves in the ship, that is how we sleep. – Kenneth, 37, Mukobeko Maximum Security Prison, September 30, 2009 This week I have been trying to digest a remarkable report from Human Rights Watch on the state of Zambia’s prisons. During the last 18 months they managed to  interview … Continue reading

History Repeating?

“It all goes in cycles you know, when I first arrived twenty years ago, water was big – every proposal had a sanitation component to it, then is was agriculture, recently it has been HIV and AIDS but I have the feeling that we might be getting round to water again soon.” This casual observation … Continue reading

100 things I will miss about Zambia

Excuse the indulgence folks (more a reminder to myself than anything else) but here are 100 of the things that I am going to miss most about Zambia Zambians – nobody could ask for a more welcoming, courteous, friendly and warm host nation. The fabulous staff at Alliance Zambia who have hosted me throughout my … Continue reading

The Perils of the Permanent Campaign

I’ve been watching a whole lot of West Wing on DVD during my time here so you will have to excuse me as I start this week’s post with a little bit of American political history… In 1962, a young pollster named Patrick Caddell outlined a new political strategy for then President Jimmy Carter.  In … Continue reading

The Prevention Convention

This week will go down as one of the highlights of my time in Zambia, in fact it will probably remain a highlight of my entire professional career. For the last 4 months I have been part of a small team working day and night to deliver a large scale conference on HIV prevention – … Continue reading

Making a scene?

A free and unfettered press is something new I have to add to my list of “things I going to appreciate a little bit more after my time in Zambia.” To be honest, the choice of media in Lusaka is pretty dire with just three newspapers serving the capital. Two of them – Times of … Continue reading

All is not well in the state of Denmark…

This has been a week of some significant political upheaval across Zambia. Nurses and doctors have been striking for better pay  leaving most hospital wards closed and the papers filled with stories of people dying for the lack of services. Teachers are now on a sustained course of industrial action leaving many schools closed. The … Continue reading

The Curious Case of Gaddafi’s Camels

Gaddafi’s camel Originally uploaded by mosilager One of the strangest tales I have heard in my time here is the story of how the nation of Zambia ended up with 4 rather sad looking camels sitting in Mundawanga Zoo just outside Lusaka. Back in 2008, after recently appointing himself King of African Kings, and in … Continue reading

Hail to the Chief…

Six weeks here and it was high time that I immersed myself in some Zambian culture. Fortunately Easter weekend means Kuomboka, the largest and most celebrated of all Zambia’s tribal traditions, so off we headed on the long journey to Mongu in the Western Province to join the party. Zambia, like most nations in Africa, … Continue reading