Sunday, 26 October 2014

Zambian Independence Jubilee Scotland Celebrations: A stunning success

The celebrations were indeed the party of the year.  They lived up to expectations and were a stunning success.

The day began early with around 18 exhibitors setting up their stalls before the opening ceremony at 10.30.  Stalls included both commercial companies and charities/NGOs supporting a mixture of causes: health, education, enterprise etc.

 Friends of Chitambo SCIO had a good vantage point, close to the entrance to the venue and we attracted a steady amount of interest, including generous donations to meet Chitambo's request for help with servicing the Centenary Ambulance.

Our Patron, Julie Davidson, was present at the event and sold copies of her book 'Looking for Mrs. Livingstone' on our stall.  We also had copies of Marion Currie's book, 'Livingstone's Hospital: the Story of Chitambo', on sale alongside a variety of other items.

The Chitambo stall was 'manned' by a team of 7 Friends of Chitambo including Jo Vallis, Margaret Coull, Bea Chitambo (visiting from Leicester), Charlotte Mitchell, Nicola Boyle, Agnes Ngulube Holmes, and Mr. Chola Mwelwa (visiting from Chesterfield) (See photo of Team Chitambo below).  All these volunteers gave their time willingly, selling items and encouraging donations.  In addition, Mr. Mwelwa 'worked' the crowd with our donations bucket and the ultimate result was well over £300 pounds towards the requested ambulance maintenance.

L-R: Julie Davidson (Patron), Margaret Coull, Jo Vallis, Charlotte Mitchell, Bea Chitambo,
Nicola Boyle, Agnes Hgulube Holmes, Chola Mwelwa
We have been in direct contact with Dr. Siame, Chitambo's new (lady) Doctor-in-Charge and have passed on the good news that we are able to forward the requested amount for the ambulance repairs (£1,250) in full.

Alongside the exhibitions, were samples of the 30 Memorial scarves designed by Heriot-Watt textile students (Pictured).

The designer of the winning scarf and the 2 runners up were present to receive their awards (see photo) at the Opening Ceremony.

This took place at 10.30,  in the main Auditorium for the Opening Ceremony, and  included keynote speeches by key Zambian and Scottish political figures.  Please see the following YouTube links.   Friends of Chitambo even gets a mention in Dr. Kaunda's speech:

DR GUY SCOTT - Message To Zambia's Independence Celebrations in Scotland

Dr Kenneth Kaunda: Dr Kenneth Kaunda - Message To Zambia's Independence Celebrations in Scotland

Humza Yousaf MSP: Humza Yousaf MSP - Message To Zambia's Independence Celebrations in Scotland

After a truly Zambian lunch of nshima and many great delicacies, there were Workshops on Health, Education and Enterprise.  The  Health Workshop was also a success, with 7 specific suggestions raised for contributing to improving Zambia's health at 50.  These included, for example, exploring ways to:

  • Improve coordination between external health groups and the Zambian Government
  • Strengthen relationships between the Zambian Diaspora in Scotland and elsewhere and health contacts in Zambia
  • Make mobile health (mHealth) technologies more readily available an affordable to Zambian health workers

A more detailed summary will be posted in due course.

After a very stimulating day, we retreated to ready ourselves for the evening Dinner.  This was a wonderful event, heralded by both African drummers and Scottish pipers.  However, the greatest highlight was the  Mthunzi Culture Group, a youth group visiting from Zambia, which provided a stunning display of music and dancing (see photos).  They really stole the show. 

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