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Snapshot of Zambia – Zambia’s official language is English, though several other languages, such as Nyanja, Bemba, Tonga, and Lozi are recognized as regional languages. Zambia is a very urbanized nation, with nearly half the population living in cities. According to its 1996 constitution, Zambia is a Christian nation. Almost 70% of the population belongs to a variety of Protestant and Evangelical churches, with another 20% belonging to the Roman Catholic church. Zambia’s culture stems mostly from Bantu culture with some European influences. Urban areas especially experience a lot of mixing of cultures from various ethnic groups, while rural areas maintain more traditional tribal lifestyles. This is evident in music as well, with foreign music such as reggae being popular in urban areas. There are several traditional ceremonies that take place during the year in different regions of the country, reflecting on indigenous tribal practices. Art forms such as pottery, basketry, and carvings from wood or ivory are popular. Soccer is Zambia’s most popular sport, but rugby, cricket, and boxing are also popular. Nshima, a type of porridge or ball made from cornmeal, is a staple part of most Zambian meals. It is generally served with meat or beans and vegetables, with some variations by region.
Snapshot of Malawi (part of the Zambia Lusaka Mission)
The official languages of Malawi are Chichewa (Chewa) and English, though several other indigenous languages are spoken in different regions of the country. About 80% of Malawi’s population is Christian, with the Roman Catholic, Church of Central Africa, and Presbyterian churches being the most popular denominations. Another 13% of the population practices Islam. Traditional music and dancing are important parts of various rituals and celebrations, especially in more rural areas. Hip hop, gospel, and reggae music are also popular. Basketry, wood carving, and mask carving are all common forms of traditional art. Soccer is the most popular sport in Malawi. The staple dish in Malawi is Nsima, a type of dough or paste made from ground corn. It is generally served alongside meat and vegetables that are referred to as “relishes.” Fish and roasted chicken are also popular foods. Several different types of seasonal fruits are also grown in Malawi.
The Church is growing rapidly in Zambia. There is one stake in Lusaka, one district in Malawi and many small branches. According to the website mormonnewsroom.com, Zambia has 3,044 members, 12 congregations and two family history centers.
A popular dish is called Nsima (in Chechewa) or Nshima (in Nyanja). It is made from drying and grinding white maize into a fine powder, then boiling it in water so that it is thick. It resembles mashed potatoes. People eat it with their hands and dip it in whatever “relish” they can get. Often boiled plants similar to spinach are combined with tomatoes and fried in vegetable oil.
People typically walk, ride bikes, or ride minibuses. Future missionaries might be amazed at how much people can fit on their bicycles–they stack wood, bricks, grains, live chickens, etc. on bikes and walk them. Mini buses are always old and in disrepair. They are privately owned and never carry more than a couple of gallons of gas in case their van gets impounded. Many people squeeze in in these buses, and it is not uncommon to have live chickens, goats, etc., on board as well!
High-density, impoverished areas are always more volatile and susceptible to crime, so it is recommended to be careful and stay inside after dark. Any body of water could have crocodiles. Drivers are relatively reckless.
Zambians always greet each other before any conversation. If a person approaches you, always be the first one to offer the first greeting. A man usually waits for a woman to offer a hand, then extends his in a greeting. Zambians are very amiable, and it is common to offer gifts to a visitor as a sign of friendship, honor or gratitude. If you are offered a gift, never refuse it and accept it with both hands at the same time as a sign of gratitude.
Queen’s English (British) and local dialects.
Chechewa (spoken in Malawi) is like a formal version of Nyanja (spoken in central Zambia). Chechewa would say “Muli Bwanji” for “How are you,” and Nyanja would say “Bwanj” for the same.
“Bo bo!” is an acceptable greeting. The language of Bemba is also spoken in Zambia. They also like to say “Yes” for any situation. Example: “How are you?” “Yes yes yes yes.”
Make sure to have malaria pills, mosquito nets and water purifie at all times.
This mission was formed in July of 2011 and was split off of the Zimbabwe Harare mission.
Plot No. 14038
Katima Mulilo Road
“I once saw a baboon climb over a neighbor’s wall near our apartment. The local kids like to follow white people around and yell “Azungu!” which means ‘White man!’” – Sean Aaron
What items were hard to get or not available?
“Shaving cream.” – Sean Aaron
What did you eat the most of?
“Sadza and corn flakes. Also bananas.” – Sean Aaron
What is the craziest thing you ate?
“Purposely soured yogurt.” – Sean Aaron
What was most surprising about the culture?
“The fervent spirit of religion. About 70 percent are Christian and 30 percent are Muslim. They are all very particular about their sect. Also in Malawi, seven out of 10 people are HIV positive, and some people really show it by looking emaciated or sick.” – Sean Aaron
What advice would you give to someone going to this Mission?
“Learn the local languages (not taught in the MTC) to better relate to the people. Kids are good teachers. Love the people.” – Sean Aaron
What do you wish you had known before you served?
“Girls aren’t worth it. I would’ve cut ties with girlfriends at home. Also I’d want to know how to articulate gospel principles in a simpler way.” – Sean Aaron
**Did you serve in the Zambia Lusaka Mission Mission? If so we would love to hear your advice and your stories! Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.**