I gave my host father an English writing assignment a few months ago. This is his story, as written by him, without outside help or corrections [just a few explanations].
Meet: Prince Kamanga
"I may not be rich, but I am famous."
Written June, 2013
I am Prince Kamanga a short fat well-built man with broad shoulders, bright eyes, grey hair and brown in complexion who was born in 1967 at Kamsokoto Village, Chief Kapichila, Lundazi District, Eastern Province, Zambia, Central Africa, Africa. I am a "Tumbuka" by tribe. Full of wisdom. Very popular. My popularity has a great dignity. Respected by all ages. I have been born from a family which was very poor having farm produce only for home consumption. This means that the family had no extra produce to sell.
I have one sister and one brother. The family had so many difficulties. Some were poverty which made the family to have famine in most of the times. And famine was also giving us a problem a lot. This was sort of an adventure. Though we were in that state we survived by the grace of God.
I grew up just within the village. My youth was and had so many interesting agonies. I used to hunting things such as lizards, geckoes, insects, birds, rats at night. Playing futbol, singing Christian songs, dancing traditional dance called "Muganda" and creating energisers. I was also used to do fishing and playing about with my youth mates.
I used to associate with different ages of people even strangers. Most of the youths and elderly people liked me. Just during this youth age, I learnt that life is difficult in the world at times. Above and beyond life was like that. Struggling, struggling, I grew up to the age where I am. Then time came to start school.
I started school in grade one. At school I was very brilliant that I was passing number one and two. This made the Headmaster to make me jump grade six and I was put in grade seven. In grade seven I qualified for Secondary Education with flying colours. I did, I did! I did my Primary Education at Mkomba Basic School. I went to Nyimba Secondary School. As I went there we were put in classes according to the intelligence of a pupil. I was one of the intellectuals that I was put in Class A. There were four classes of Form One. I was taking nine subjects. They were: English, Mathematics, Geography, Book-Keeping, Civics, General Science, Nyanja, and Technical Drawing. All these were my favourite subjects except Nyanja and Technical Drawing. Though Nyanja was not my favourite, I was doing good. I went up to Form Three by then at present grade ten. The school was just good. I left school in Form Three due to lack of finances.
|Kasuku Neighborhood Health Volunteers. Prince is back row, second from the right, holding books.|
While at school during the holidays I was serving at Kapichila Community Rural Health Centre on voluntary basis because I am a RedCross member. As I left school I was just staying at home doing dimba [garden/farm]. And I joined Kasuku Neighborhood Health Committee of the above mentioned Health Centre. Then I was trained as TB/HIV/AIDS Treatment Supporter by TIPEC Care International in Chipata at Pine View Hotel in 2002. I was trained as a Malaria Agent by the Ministry of Health, in Family Planning by Society For Family Health, trained as community counsellor by Care International, and Chitumbiko Home Based-Care Project. Also trained in school management because I was the Chairperson of PTA at Kasuku Community School and also trained in IGA [Income-Generating Activities] accumulation because I was once the secretary of IGA of the above mentioned school. In January 2013 I was trained in Project Design, Management, and Development, and in Behavioural Change. This training took place in Lusaka at Great East Hotel from 8-9 January organised by Peace Corps Zambia.
|Prince and Caitlin at Great East Hotel, Lusaka, after a conference where Prince received project trainings. January 2013|
As time passed and passed until at a certain time, I proposed love to a girl of Chinyimba Village in Chief Mwase called Agnes Ngulube. This was 1984. I got married the very year in December on Christmas Day. Certainly I paid a bride prize of three cattle. She does nothing but just involved in a very small scale of farming and caring for the family in a poor state of life. I was seventeen and she was sixteen. I have six children. Three girls and three boys. Their names are as follows: Dolica the first born aged 25 and married has two children both girls. Mercy the second born aged 22 and has two children a boy and a girl. Chimwemwe the third born aged 20 doing grade nine. Tiyese aged 15 doing grade 8. Alfred the fifth born doing grade one aged 10. And Jonesi the last born, aged 3 who is just playing with his American sister Caitline all day.
My life is not good because I lack most of the things to undertake my problems. I struggle with life in poverty. I am a very small scale farmer who produces too little to feed the family for the whole year. At times sleeping without eating any food. I have a dimba [gardem/farm] where I try to generate something but comes a few due to lack of the necessities. My financial situation is not all that good. Failing to undertake the problems of the family with the little knowledge, I have failed to achieve what could solve the family's problems. The little money I find is spent on school requirements such as fees, uniforms, stationary, and to buy food and clothes for the family. The most important things I spend money on is food and school requirements.
Mainly, I am involved in the activities concerning health, farming, associating with different tribes and races. Some of my favourite things are farming, learning new ideas, doing dimba garden, associating with people of all ages, being in projects and co-operatives. The favourite things to teach about are health issues on different problems, to teach how to run a project.
Some of the struggles I face in my life are poverty, famine, having no job but always working on a voluntary basis. Some people feel jealousy because I am involved in many different things and I do better than most with the little knowledge I have acquired. This voluntary work brings nothing to my life, except for obtaining knowledge from different sectors.
Living with a volunteer to me, at first it was a dream but it is a reality. It has been very good to me and the entire family. A volunteer from America!! A volunteer from America!! So good to live with a volunteer from America. It has never happened in my life before. I even fail to explain the happiness the family and I have for the volunteer to be at our midst. This will not be forgotten in our life. Her presence has brought a new concept in our family. Everyone is so so happy. I thank God for making Caitline to live in my family. This Caitline respects me as her father. Though she is young, she has respected Zambians as they are of her race. To me Caitline is not a volunteer, she is my American daughter. I respect her as I respect my African daughters. There is no difference to me. It is not a taboo that Africans had bore an American child. God has made it.
|Teaching Malaria Prevention with my Zambian father, Prince.|
From Caitline I have learnt a lot. Some are: I have learnt how America is and how Americans live and their culture, knowledge of doing some things new.. I do not see America differently now because what was making the difference has been united. Before I lived with one, I was thinking that Americans are hostile people. But it is not like that. Two of the proofs I have are I live with Caitline and that I have a pen-friend in America called 'Lil'.
My goals in life are to wipe out famine and poverty to live a better life and to be receiving volunteers in my family. In future I would like to build a brick house with corrugated iron sheets and to grow crops of different variety on a large scale, to run projects and to write proposals. My dreams to come reality I appeal to you, "Caitline to assist me!" And I am planning to mould bricks to build a house for the volunteers. If it is fulfilled, Caitline will be the first one to use the house.
A quote of saying: "Knock the door shall be opened to you. It is not a mistake to make a mistake but it is a mistake to repeat a mistake. The rejected stone was later taken to build the corner. A friend in need is a friend indeed."
I am a man who loves to associate with different ages, sexes, tribes, and races. A man who seeks some pieces of advice, who is eager to learn and to be corrected where I go wrong. Please Caitline, come in to lessen my problems so that my life is developed.
By myself, I have struggled, but I have failed. To tell about Zambia, Zambia is a peaceful, Christian country. Its people are very friendly. It has so many different tribes which love one another. Africa is a continent of Africans and its people are very united.
-Prince Phiri Kamanga
|Our family on Christmas day, 2012. Prince, myself, Agnes, Chimwemwe, Alfredi, Chewbacca, Jonesi.|
|My family with my best friend when she came to visit the village. Prince, Emily, Chimwemwe, Jonesi Agnes, Alfredi.|