Tag: Zambia

Detailed Hand-Work Puts Charm Into African Pieces

Read below an excerpt from a piece in the November 2012 issue of the Kootenay Quilters’ Day Guild Newsletter. The article focuses on the work of one of the founding members of Malambo Grassroots with the women’s group in Zambia!

Squares for Quilts Drying in the Zambian Sun

The Malambo Grassroots organization is a success story that makes Marylee Banyard feel a great sense of inner contentment. Over the course of the last 20 years, Marylee has seen the women involved in the organization develop their skills and flourish. As a grassroots organization, they hone their handiwork so that it can easily be sold at fundraisers in Canada. Many quilters purchase the hand-embroidered pieces and make them into attractive wall hangings or quilts, such as the work of Nellie Shukin depicted above. Money is used to support community initiatives sponsored by the women and is also critical to the success of ongoing maintenance of plumbing in the centre and the preventive maintenance of 2 industrial sewing machines and 6 other machines. In addition to Marylee’s efforts, the Rotary Club of Nelson generously donated tables and chairs and an industrial sewing machine to the centre. Private donors have also assisted to ensure that the centre flourishes.

This year Marylee will assist with a project to enhance the work of the local PTA. A guest speaker will talk about the childrens’ education. The women of the centre will then break into 6 groups to discuss issues surrounding the presentation and will develop an embroidered banner depicting their discussion issue and possible ways to resolve the issue. This whole process is also aired in the media. The sense of community involvement and development is significant.

A great 103 miles!

Geoff Cross on a training ride up Mt.Baker

At the end of September, Geoff Cross rode for Malambo Grassroots in the 103 mile Levi’s GranFondo cycling event. Geoff had a great ride finishing 80th out of the thousands of participants! Thank you so much, Geoff, for your support!
Read here his summary of his day:

Typical of the Bay Area, the day started with some fog and cold, making way to beautiful hot sunny skies in the mountains before dropping down into the fog bank hanging over the pacific coast. It didn’t rain thankfully, as the course was even more technically demanding than I had been told- Besides the 7.500 other riders, there were lots cracks and potholes and tree-lined, switch back descents to keep one senses firing all day.

It is a spectacularly well-organized event with rest/food stations just where you need them. I knew that a key to a good performance would be eating and drinking more than you feel like. While not a recipe for day to day diet, I credit the peanut butter and jam sandwiches and coke, combined with the terrifically supportive atmosphere, and getting to share it with friends, that kept unexpected levels of pep in my legs all day.

A bike in Zambia

It was the best road ride that I have ever had the luxury of undertaking. Some/many big rides are Type 2 fun- painful and full of suffering during and only enjoyable after they are done with the sense of accomplishment; however, every so often you do a big ride that is Type 1 fun- huge smile inducing all day long, even though you are breathing hard. I think of it as being in the state of “Flow” that athletics, music, art, and other endeavors can bring when everything comes together in just the right doses.”

Geoff told us that he was happy to have had the opportunity to do the ride and support Malambo, and we are so grateful to Geoff! Thank you!

Malambo Women win prize!

Good news! The Malambo Women’s Group won the first prize in the Monze district from Zambia’s Ministry of Community Development and Social Services, during a field exhibition. The theme of the exhibition was “sustainability of women empowerment, key to national development.”

The group received 1 million kwacha (about 250 Canadian dollars). They will use the money to buy more fabric.

Congratulations to the Malambo Women!

Dispatches from Zambia: from orphans to photocopiers


Monze storefront


Here is an excerpt from a message from Marylee Banyard, who is now in Zambia. On a recent trip into the nearby town of Monze, she encounters both old and new, from technology to polygamy to children orphaned by AIDS:

“We have laminating facilities in Monze now. It sort of works, but is a little gimpy. Photocopying too… the page comes out with a dark mass at the top. 

“The man there gave me a big lecture about, “Why is it always women and orphans? What about the MEN!” He said he is a grandfather supporting an orphan at Zimba school. He also said that he was born in a hut, not a hospital, and BaTonga culture has good midwives. We foreigners don’t understand Tonga culture.

“I said we should go have a cup of coffee, as he was continually being interrupted and dealing with all sorts of people with issues while he was arguing with me and trying to laminate.

“He also said women bring it on themselves because they don’t have to be second and third wives. They have choice. [ed: Polygamy is still legal in Zambia.]

“From him I went to see Sister Lontia at the St Vincent de Paul Community School in Monze. We discussed many things. Concerning second and third wives, she pointed out their usual circumstances of poverty and insecurity. The children they bring with them into the marriages are often not accepted by the new husband, and the real father has probably died or vanished. 

“She has 204 children in the school, of which 123 are orphans, and 77 are “vulnerable”. Sometimes the economic pressure is too great for families and children are abandoned. Although the school tries to charge K5,000 ($1.25 Canadian) per term (3 terms a year ) the school accepts all, even if they can’t pay.  They are Catholic Mission funded.”

A student from St Vincent de Paul Community School paints a mural on the school walls. The Zambian flag flies high above.

Dispatches from Zambia: adventures with the mini-bus

Here’s an excerpt from a recent message from Marylee Banyard, who is now in Southern Zambia. For the last few years, Malambo Grassroots has used a white mini-bus for all their errands. The mini-bus is indispensable. Just one of its uses is to transport the women from the Malambo Women’s Group and the Lusumpuko group to Lusaka for the monthly craft market. Here Marylee updates us on its fate:

“Our bus is now defunct. A friend from Choma very generously has lent me one of his. A Suzuki…4-wheel drive. Little. Tough. I came back with it on Sunday, hauling it around corners with no power steering and very heavy.  We went through an enormous, pounding rain with wind and hail. Couldn’t see the lines on the road. But all OK and we got home in one piece.

“On Monday I set off for Monze in the mini-bus. Our mechanic Rabson said it would make it to Lusaka with Sipriano driving, and a cargo of Mrs Jonah, Mrs Mweetwa with a bag of maize, our young secretary Tiswani and another woman. By the time we got half way to Monze (about 5 km) the bus was juddering badly, so we decided to come home. 

“We jettisoned the ladies by the side of the road and turned back. However, by the time we got to the turnoff [to the Moorings farm], the old bus had recovered, so we turned round again, found our passengers still by the side of the road, and the rest of the trip was fine.

“Sipriano picked the old thing up this morning at 5 am and drove very slowly and carefully up to Lusaka. He brought Lasco along for support. He called us on his cell from the turnpike [about halfway to Lusaka] to say he was slow, but OK. He said he would make Maranouchi Motors [just outside Lusaka] by 9 am. The trip usually takes three hours.”

It looks like we’ll now be fundraising for a new bus!

Focus on Education

One of Malambo Grassroots’ main objectives is to support education in southern Zambia. In early 2010, one of our volunteers went to Zambia to work with schools. Here’s an excerpt from her letter to York House School in Vancouver, BC, who sent donations over with her:

“I have visited several schools in rural Monze and they all are doing the best they can to educate their students with very limited resources.  The Malambu School on the Moorings farm is one of the smallest schools I have been to.  There are 250 students.  They have no electricity and no running water (none of the schools here do).  To get water, they must walk back into the village about 1 km to the well. There they pump water and then carry it back on their heads in buckets. 

“Below is a picture of one of the classrooms.  It is in need of repair and they do not have enough desks.  Learnserve, an American organization, is donating 16 desks as well as money to rebuid this classroom and one other.


“There are no supplies in the school other than their curriculum books, most of which are donated by the two women I am staying with.  The government doesn’t have enough money to support the schools here.

“There are three teachers at the school plus the headmaster Mr. Mweetwa.

“On Thursday Jocelyn and I taught an art class to the Grade 6 and 7 classes.  After we explained what we were going to do (drawing animals first in crayon and then painting over the drawings), we handed out white paper for everyone to draw on. Many of the children just stared at the paper for a very long time and did not draw.  We were told that none of the students had ever held a crayon or painted before.

“Once they got going, they were very focused and excited and they loved the bright colours that came from the paint. 

“We later found out that there were two small boxes of crayons at the school, but they are considered so precious that the boxes had never been opened.

“Here the students are using the paint and paintbrushes that your class donated.

“I gave the school your cards today and the children stood up and read many of them out loud.  They enjoyed receiving them and they will be hung up in the school.  They spent a long time looking at the photos, the artwork, and your words.  They haven’t had an opportunity to see many of the things that you see everyday such as the ocean, beavers, mountains, snow, and snowboards.”


Marylee is on her way to Zambia!

Marylee Banyard of Malambo Grassroots has probably already landed in Zambia for another six months with the Malambo women and our other projects. And what a trip it was!

* a 10 hour drive from Nelson, BC to Vancouver,BC

* a 10 hour flight from Vancouver to Heathrow airport in London

* a 6 hour layover in Heathrow

* a 10 hour flight from Heathrow to Lusaka, Zambia

She left Vancouver at 8pm on Saturday and arrives at 6:30 am on Sunday to be picked up by Sipriano, a driver from Moorings Farm.

In Lusaka, she will spend the day shopping and running errands before her 3-hour drive down to the Moorings Farm.

When she left Vancouver, it was 10 degrees celsius. When she arrives in Lusaka, it will e 36 degrees celsius.

 Did we mention that Marylee is 75, and Malambo Grassroots is her “retirement” project?

Have a safe trip, Marylee / Mum / Granny —-

Marylee Banyard walks with children from Malambo village.

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