Tuesday, January 22, 2008

O that we might see!

It’s only Zambians who can make a difference, not foreigners. But we need to have good projects to capitalize on these resources that we have. If we fail, we run the risk that others will come. And this risk around Lusaka is very apparent. Why is it that foreigners are flocking to this country in large numbers if there is nothing to be gained? I think that is the warning signal. These people coming have seen that the opportunities are there. So let us seize these opportunities ourselves before we lose what we have.' Caleb Fundanga

As I read this most poignant statement of the Zambian condition, I can indeed, envision Zambians waking up in 50 or less years to find themselves a population without means or recourse against increasing poverty.
If that is a possible future fate, what does our past look like? When westerners, first came to the land without a name, at the time over a hundred years ago; they found then as Equinox, Vedanta and others have now, a land indeed that flows with milk and honey, whose indigenous people lacked then, as now the clarity of vision to fully appreciate or exploit the wealth or opportunity before them.
Confronted with cotton clothing, new crops, horse drawn wagons etc our ancestors by assimilation enhanced some aspects of life as they had it known for generations primarily because they could see that western culture had developed the means for a better way of life. However, there appears then as now, a failure to directly see in Zambia’s abundant natural resources the real and present potential to enhance our personal lives.
I have discussed before, how a young Abe Galuni came to Northern Rhodesia penniless, yet in less than forty years he owned more land than is owned by the entire Zambian population in present day city of Lusaka (residential areas). Foreigners own more and benefit from precious stone mines than ordinary Zambians.

How can indigenous people who have lived in Mapatizya, Chama, and Mushili fail to see and recognize the potential to enhance their personal lives, gemstones in these areas have?

A friend of mine once said perhaps if one (1) million Zambians were put on plane and sent to a city like New York US, to live there for six months then flown back to Zambia, maybe then we would have a revolution!
Is that what it might take to give sight to the multitudes living in abject poverty in a land, Caleb says is so God favored and lucky or might we be blind still as in the story of –

An Old Woman having lost the use of her eyes, called in a Physician to heal them, and made this bargain with him in the presence of witnesses: that if he should cure her blindness, he should receive from her a sum of money; but if her infirmity remained, she should give him nothing. This agreement being made, the Physician, time after time, applied his salve to her eyes, and on every visit took something away, stealing all her property little by little. And when he had got all she had, he healed her and demanded the promised payment. The Old Woman, when she recovered her sight and saw none of her goods in her house, would give him nothing. The Physician insisted on his claim, and. as she still refused, summoned her before the Judge. The Old Woman, standing up in the Court, argued: "This man here speaks the truth in what he says; for I did promise to give him a sum of money if I should recover my sight: but if I continued blind, I was to give him nothing. Now he declares that I am healed. I on the contrary affirm that I am still blind; for when I lost the use of my eyes, I saw in my house various chattels and valuable goods: but now, though he swears I am cured of my blindness, I am not able to see a single thing in it.

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