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The passing of Elizabeth Colson

A dear friend, Elizabeth Colson, passed away in August at 99 years of age, sitting on her verandah in Zambia, watching the birds. Not only was she a world renowned American anthropologist who dedicated her life’s work to the Tonga people, with whom Malambo Grassroots works, she was a remarkable woman and incredibly generous with all. She will be greatly missed. Thank you for all you did, Elizabeth.

Please read about Elizabeth’s life and work in this blog, Remnants of Empire, by Pamela Shurmer-Smith.

Another student letter –from Mweemba!

A letter from Mweemba Matonga!

“Here is a the information  about my coming  into this program.
I went to school with a friend of mine Emmanuel Makoye at senior secondary school. The time I finished school I asked how he did manage to go to college to do Marketing and I was told of the program being ran in the farm about Mwabuka Zambia association and that someone needed  to work in the farm for some time and should have relatives who are workers in the farm.

When I heard that I thought of trying because I am coming from a not well-to-do family and having had problems  with completing my secondary school because of finances.when I reached at the farm,I first  met with Madam Marylee who I talked to and she tried to look for where to place me so I could work but then to no avail. After some time, when I went to check as to whether  she had found where to place me she referred me to Madam Heidi who I personally  talked to over how I loved school and that I wanted to do banking and finance and shared that I had a problem of where to get funding.

From that day she called me after two weeks and we had similar discussion including reasons  why I wanted to banking and finance.

After that, Madame Marylee  called me informing me that money was sent for my school and thats how I started school.

In the process I become the best student in one of the  subjects and graduated as the best student in my banking  and finance diploma course in Zambia.

When I finished banking and finance diploma  I asked if I could done a degree in financial services and luckily I was offered help and now am a third year second semester student of bachelor’s degree in financial services and intended to graduate next year December.

Currently  school is going on well and will be writing  exams in June. My future plans are that after am done with my bachelor’s degree in financial services next year June, I do my masters degree in 2018 possibly if graduate with a distinction as I intended and be able to do something thereafter.

My goals are that, I would want to help people  that will be in the state  I was of no financial muscle to take them to school and many more works as i have learnt a lot from you and that people you have no relationship  with helps a lot compared  to the relatives  sometimes..

This is briefly what I can say otherwise have no many words except lots of appreciation.

Well good to hear from you and I am very well.”

An update from one of our students, Iven!

A lovely note from Iven Moonga, about his education and current work!


DATE: 05 MARCH, 2016.

Initially, I thank the almighty God our Heavenly father who lavishly nourishes, strengthens and encourages us through our hard times and has once more made it possible for me to communicate to you individually through this latter. It is my pleasure to write to you after a long period of not being in touch with each other though, it is out of my control due to some challenges I may be confronting here and there, but I still bear the blame of not having been communicating to you frequently. Nevertheless, am doing fine, believing that all is well with you, may the all mighty God be glorified.

Updating you with my academic progress as well as expressing my gratitude as the main objectives included in the latter, it is my pleasure to inform you that from the unfailing help that you have been giving me from the time I embarked on the educational program with you, am really appreciating and benefitting from it. Your reliable and consistent sponsorship has not just made it possible for me to acquire academic knowledge but it has managed to shape and carter for a wide range of my life socially, mentally and physically through interactions we make with friends in both academic and extra-curricular activities such as sports et cetera.

Just to give a brief summary of my educational background, I wrote my grade 7 at Malambu middle Basic School, (Moorings Farm Monze Zambia) in 2008 and requested to join your sponsorship for my higher education, lucky enough the following year I happened to be among the small number of people that were chosen to be sponsored for secondary level of education in 2009-2013 at Rusangu secondary School (Monze Zambia) where I did my grades 8-12 and completed with very good results. There had never been an academic term I stayed at home because of not having school fees, you sent, and I received it on time not until I was pronounced as a secondary school graduate!!! I really appreciate the consistent and convenient sponsorship you offered.

And now in my tertiary level of education with your motivating, encouraging and reliable sponsorship, as if it is not enough, you still went ahead and bought us hp laptops that are really facilitating our studying strategy by reducing unnecessary burden of continuous buying of hard-copy textbooks as well as reducing share waste of time moving from one point to another searching for information that you may not be having as it is easier to access all the data that you need from your computer for your assignments and am not ashamed to mention that am now doing my second year studying a Bachelor of Science in Nursing at one of the big and recognized Universities in Zambia, Rusangu University (RU). The duration is expected to be five years for full-time students (us that only learn during academic terms), but for those that are able to pay for both full-time and holiday tuitions, the duration is Four years or even less.

In conclusion, I cannot complain of anything concerning school nor your sponsorship as you have been so caring and responsive to our cries and concerns. What am just requesting from you is that you continue supporting us as we endeavor through this adventurous project and it is only through Gods grace that this will be possible and my prayer to God for you as everyone else under your sponsorship is that he abundantly and richly blesses you with long life so that you shall at some point see our education come to fruition and may HE also stabilize you financially than ever before.

Thank you for the time spent reading this memorandum…”

A wonderful update from Sister Lontia at St.Vincent de Paul Community School in Monze!

The staff of St. Vincent De Paul community , these are men and women who works tirelessly to bring up the standards of the children in St. Vincent . Names standing from left: Francis, Royd, Gillian, Sr. Lontia, Maureen, Namoonga, Jameson Seated: left Matiana, Nchimunya and Casina. We worked hard many times under very challenging situations but we always desire the best for our children.

The children are reciting poems on St. Vincent Day. It is a day we remember our patron saint, St. Vincent De Paul, and it falls on the 27th of September each year. We have Mass on this day.

Our priest, Fr. Clement, during the Mass celebration, blessed the grade 7s who were preparing to write the national exams on the 13th of October to the 17th of October 2014.

New adventure starts from here. This was a poultry house and we used to keep chickens for the school project. We decided to turn one of them into a school library because we desperately needed a library where children could be spending time reading and writing.


The building is progressing steadily and all of us are anxiously waiting for it..all we need are books!

This is our school football team. They always make us proud. Go! Boys Go!

Lunch time! Children and a teacher displaying some of the many plates and pots we bought from our donation from Louie and Heidi. These women are great friends of the school.

Lunch time continues... a time of interaction and play for the children!

Marvellous school choir. Entertaining the friends and parents. We use the piano we got as a donation from Malambo Grassroots to blend our music.

Our children are slowly being introduced to computer. Many of them it is the first seeing a computer in their lives. They are eager to learn and want to go high. We have 4 computers in the school. One computer is equal to 12 pupils.

This is a grade four class. Eager to learn. All they need is a dedicated teacher to be with them. Jameson is a well able teacher.

The teacher is in class with the senior grade. Children are motivated when they see teachers who are self motivated and full of energy. The sky is the limit for the children of St. Vincent De Paul community school.

An update from Ngoma Dolce Music Academy!

Ngoma Dolce Music Academy

Scholarship programme 2014

Ngoma Dolce, junior orchestra rehearsal

This year has been very eventful at the Academy. At the beginning of the year we were closed and trying to get ourselves ready to give lessons in the middle of a building site. As we approach December, we are almost finished building and working towards a whole week of workshops leading up to our Christmas concert on Friday 19th December. By that date we will have 8 teaching rooms in full use and our library will be ready (though not yet furnished).

In the middle of this, how has our scholarship programme fared? We have a group of 6 students who have Academy scholarships, supported by internal Academy funds. Two learn the violin, one the cello, two learn the trombone and one the trumpet. These students are making excellent progress. The 3 string players regularly join in the junior orchestra which has performed several times this year, most notably and publicly on Sunday 5th October as part of a festival ‘Promenades Musicales’ at the Alliance Francaise.

Ngoma Dolce scholarship students

The programme for students at Kamulanga High School (supported by Grassroots Malambo and Rose Charities) has continued its upward trajectory. The students come regularly on Thursday afternoons, when not having exams, and during school holidays when they participate in a programme of workshops and individual lessons. We also hosted a jazz demonstration for them with a visiting American jazz trombonist in August. In terms of regular weekly lessons, there are 7 students learning guitar, 5 piano, 1 violin, 1 cello, 1 clarinet, 2 trumpet and one trombone. They are preparing for a performance in the Christmas concert and will no doubt be in good form. Workshops in August included four visiting music students from Oxford and Cambridge universities: Alex, Anna, Max and Stephen (supported by the MUZE trust) who worked with them on singing, violin, piano, recorder and general musicianship.

The bus from Kamulunga, bringing scholarship students to Ngoma Dolce

The Kamulanga choir is doing extremely well. They get regular help from our singing teachers at the Academy, and won first prize for Lusaka Province in a Choral Competition organised by the Ministry of Education.

Past graduates of this programme are also flourishing. Oscar has continued to learn the French horn, and has (apparently almost permanently!) borrowed the Academy French horn. He participated in a concert of operatic music at the Alliance Francaise on Saturday 11th October at Alliance Francaise, under the supervision of a visiting German trumpeter, Gabor Szabo.

Plans for next year include a programme to include students from local schools such as Kamulanga Boys and Kamulanga Girls secondary schools which are both close to the Academy. The Kamulanga scheme will continue; our target for the coming year is to afford more opportunities for performing at the Academy, in a public space, and in their local community.

An update on the Women’s Co-op Groups!

One of the founders of Malambo Grassroots, Jocelyn Banyard, was recently in Zambia and sent us through this lovely update on how the Income Generation projects with the Women’s Co-op Groups are doing!

Read on…


Dear All,

We just completed the 9 day skills building workshop for women sponsored by Rotary Nelson.  It was SUCH a success.  Many many thanks to Rotary.  I am completely exhausted.

We had 2 women from Monze rural – Mutinta and Mutimba.

One lady from Mazabuka – Charity.

One lady from Kafwefwe – Elenor.

2 from Choma – Esnart and her daughter Busiku

and 5 from Siavonga – Loveness, Bridget, Grace, Febby and I have forgotten the last ladys name.

Joi came down for a break from Monze and pitched in helping – she is good with colour choice and did a lot of pattern copying – nice.  We also had a young rocket scientist, Peter, from Holland.  He designs propulsion systems for rocket ships to take them to deep space – a cheery super positive young brain who helped with many technical difficulties. (And made an appropriate technology sample of a light bulb made from a water bottle that is equivalent to 50 watts that I could show the women – good for those village homes with the tiny windows)

Bead work in progress

The idea was to introduce 2 new techniques (to low/no income women)– rug hooking and beaded art pieces.  The women were picked as potential leaders who could then go home and share with others.  The women did very well and loved both techniques.  I put most of them up in the lodge and the Choma ladies in the Castle.  I  would go over in the am at about 7 and all would be working.  Each day we started at 9 officially and worked until 5pm.  When I visited them in the evenings they would still be working up to 8 or 9 pm or 10 – and the Siavonga ladies said they worked until 11pm sometimes – by solar light.  Not usual in Zambia.  They all became totally hooked on the beads.

Febbie's first full size carpet!

Most of the funds were spent on transport and food and some t-shirts.  My mother, sister and I donated most of the materials and the lodging was free.  With the remaining we are buying some beads and frames so the women can continue.  Joi is finalizing the budget.  ($500 was spent on a previous workshop – bringing Sam in from Lusaka to teach Siavonga ladies papermache and how to decorate.)

We are going to try and get beads from Tanz to lower costs but in the immediate future will buy from Soweto in Lusaka.

The rug hooking went very well too.  We reviewed many issues on how to improve – from how to read a drawing, to light and dark values, how to choose second hand tshirts that looked new and were for v large people (to maximize profit).  This product so far sells well and easily.  I believe this workshop will help improve the group in Monze – I’ll let you know.  (I asked the Monze ladies who all say they are making good money with the rugs already. )  For the Siavonga, Choma, and Mazabuka women – this was a new technique.

Massages after a long day!

All the women came really not knowing what we were going to do – as soon as they saw the beads their eyes lit up.  Zambians LOVE beads.  I think this product might do very well with the newly wealthy local population here which is great.  They worked so hard everyone got very cramped neck muscles.  So Joi offered free massages to all.  Elenor (62) jumped at the offer.  I attach a photo.  I also set up the trampoline next to the lodge as I figured we needed some exercise to counter the hard work.  When it was set up the women crowded around and I asked if they’d like to try.  “Yes”.  “Well – go on”  “What is it?”  So we had to demo.  Great excitement, laughter and fun.  “Is this a bouncy castle?” Again – Elenor at the forfront – determined to enjoy every second.  SO each night the women bounced until dark, often one lying down in complete laughter as another jumped to bounce her.

Esnart, who is Tonga, is the indigenous craft expert of Zambia.  She was most helpful during the workshop – helping explain concepts like light value and dark value colour choices, and how marketing works if you are selling to a middle man ext.  Everyone fell under her spell – she is very kind and caring.  I am going to try and help her set up in the Choma area (not sure how yet – no funds myself).  She has no funds at all and is excellent with quality control – so the items will be good. And she will be working with v rural women who have nothing at all.

I sent each group home with beads, and designs for both beads and carpets and I shall continue making designs for all.

Love to all,


Workshops at Ngoma Dolce Music Academy- Lovely Thank you’s!

We’ve received some really great letters from students who attended a workshop at the Ngoma Dolce Music Academy. The letters speak for themselves!

Catherine’s Run for Malambo Grassroots!

We’ve put all of Catherine’s posts into one spot for you to read all about her training for her amazing feat of running 50km for Malambo Grassroots! We can’t thank you enough, Catherine!

January 28

Remember Catherine? Our fearless runner who ran a marathon for Malambo Grassroots in October 2011 ?
Well, she is at it again! On March 16th 2013, Catherine will be running her first ULTRA run for Malambo Grassroots….the Chuckanut 50kms in Washington State. We’ll be posting updates from her training, and reporting about the big day! In the meantime, read more here.
Thank you for your support Catherine and good luck!

February 6

A training update from Catherine…well, sort of….

“A small step back…..

With regards to this week’s training, not much to say really. A disappointing slow week due to a pulled calf muscle last Sunday. Stayed off the legs all week, just did some cross training in the pool, then went for a slow run on Saturday. Calf seems to be healing, so I’ll let it rest a little more before I really up the mileage again! Murphy, number one pooch training partner, is getting antsy, so some morning runs this week in the forests of North Vancouver will be delightful. With the run a little under 6 weeks away, I don’t need Murphy to remind me that we need to run! Keep you posted.”

February 15

The training is back on! The latest update from Catherine…

“Did a 3 hour run up in the mountains last Friday morning at 8am with some friends and the dog. All went super well until horrible knee issue after around 25kms Bit sad and annoyed but there are things I can try to curb the pain so I can go finish! Will keep you posted on that. Murphy was a star the whole way and was ready for another three hours.
Unfortunately I was so tired at the end of the run that I forgot to ask my mate to take some pics!
The training continues though…doing 2 shorter runs this week….but the next super long one, 4 hours, is next week. Stay tuned!”

Thanks Catherine, and take care of those knees!

March 1

It’s March…and that means Catherine’s run is soon! Read on for her latest training update!

“Training is going well and after a 3 hour run in the mountains of North Vancouver on Friday…good news…my knee was fine! Besides the knee issue the fitness is good so let’s hope I get round in one piece. It seems some muscles in my right hip are what’s causing the knee cap to slide right which causes the knee pain. So massage and some very contorted stretching have been helping…fingers crossed.
Building up some quad muscles this weekend on a ski trip and some cross training in the pool on Thursday. Just two and a half weeks to go. Wish me luck “

March 11

With less than a week to go before the big day, Ultra-Marathoner Catherine shared some points on her pre-race routine!

“Here are my trusty shoes that will get me through the mountainous run comfortably, laces crossed! These, along with all the other race needs, are laid out the night before the big day –including as many energy gels that will possibly fit in my pockets to sustain me for the run! Pasta for dinner the night before racing and then on race day, I will wake up around 4.30 to eat bagel, peanut butter, banana and lots of coffee. Any other tips are accepted and appreciated!”

March 14

Runners often taper their training leading up to race day. Here is a photo of Catherine and her training partner resting up before Saturday!

And, Catherine’s final pre-race report…

“Had an easy run together [with trusty partner!] around town for an hour. Doing a light run today and then some swimming tomorrow just to loosen up the muscles and nerves. Then it’s up and go on Saturday morning to cross the US border at 6am. Race start at 8am after bib pick up. Fingers crossed the knee holds and we should be fine….until the end of course!”

Good luck Catherine! We’re all cheering for you!

March 21

After some rest and recovery, we have a post-race report from Catherine!

“So the run was a success. 7 1/2 hours of madness and actually quite a lot of fun!! Except for the last 10kms the race was great. After 3 hours the heavens opened and a torrential downpour accompanied my friend Doug and I for the rest of the run. With the rain came serious amounts of mud which made the many climbs and descents all the more interesting. The last 10kms was just mentally tough…head down…plod till the finish.
Just wanted to thank everyone for their support. It was amazing and it kept me pushing through to the end. xxxxx'”

Congratulations, Catherine. What an amazing run. Thank you so much!

The Training Continues..well, sort of….

A training update from Catherine…well, sort of….

A small step back…..

With regards to this week’s training, not much to say really. A disappointing slow week due to a pulled calf muscle last Sunday. Stayed off the legs all week, just did some cross training in the pool, then went for a slow run on Saturday. Calf seems to be healing, so I’ll let it rest a little more before I really up the mileage again! Murphy, number one pooch training partner, is getting antsy, so some morning runs this week in the forests of North Vancouver will be delightful. With the run a little under 6 weeks away, I don’t need Murphy to remind me that we need to run! Keep you posted.

A picture of training partner waiting patiently!

50kms for Malambu School, Zambia!

50kms for Malambu School, Zambia!

Yes, Catherine is at it again! On March 16th 2013, Catherine will be running her first ULTRA run for Malambo Grassroots….the Chuckanut 50kms in Washington State. After her successful performance in Portland in 2011, she has decided to up the stakes and turn to the mountain trails of Washington and run 50km on very different terrain, with a spot of snow mid run!

In 2012, slowly but surely (slow and steady wins the race!) the school classrooms started to come alive……which brought much happiness amongst the children!

So, Catherine has chosen to focus her fundraising from this incredible running event on raising much needed funds to fill these classrooms with books, school equipment and computers. Money raised will also be made available for scholarships, so students can continue their education. Should you wish to donate and support Catherine in this lengthy endeavor, you may do so here!

Catherine and her Loyal Training Partner!

We look forward to following Catherine through her training and on the big day! Thank you for your support, Catherine! And good luck!

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