By Mathew W. Banseh
On the 22nd December, Romaric Bationo, Alain-Christian Muhineza and I left Lusaka for Namushakende, located in Mongu diocese. On the political map of Zambia, Namushakende is a district in the Western Province. This was my first time to visit this part of Zambia which coincided with Christmas and the New Year holidays.
We travelled very well and we got the pleasure to drive through the Kafue National Park but only saw few wild animals. We greeted Bishop Evans Chinyemba on our arrival in Mongu before proceeding on our journey to our destination. We were well received with a barbecue and I was touched by the joy that animated the community.
The Catholic population is very humbling. On Christmas Eve, I saw just a few lay faithful at Mass in the main parish church. I was wondering how it must be in outstations. Asking Alfred Awogya, the Parish Priest, about the few attendance of Christians, I came to realise that this was the usual number of faithful coming to pray.
Though few in number, the hospitality and the quality of relationship is remarkable. In outstations, we always have a meal before going back to Namushakende. Though I could not speak the local language, I was invited to visit homes. I was very touched by the simple lifestyle of the people. In cities, properties are protected with walls and iron gates. But most houses I visited have no fence. Many inside rooms have no proper doors but a simple piece of cloth to prevent people from seeing inside. Houses are made out of thatch roofs. Instinctively, contrary to my confreres, I was always locking the door of the car. “Don’t worry, they were telling me, nobody will steal anything here.”
I also got the opportunity to see the Queen of the Lozi land. Being a Catholic, she invited us to celebrate Mass at her palace since she cannot, by tradition, go to church. I also went to see the place where our confreres go learning silozi when they are appointed to that part of Zambia. I discovered that the Lozi people are proud of is the Zambezi River and I was privileged to touch its water.
I really enjoyed my short stay over there and I thank our confreres for everything. Luitumezi (Thank you)!