AACDP Blog

Updated: Mar 4

As a tenant farmer on a large cattle plantation near the big city of Lusaka, Nyimba is beholden to the huge corporation Northern Zambezi Traders/PAMA Meats.


For years Nyimba’s monthly was about $75, barely enough to survive. His end-payments were supposed to accumulate, and after his eight years there, they should have amounted to $3000, enough to start a small business.


During these 8 years, Nyimba and his wife raised 5 children in substandard housing; a tiny metal quanset hut with three curtained-off stalls as bedrooms, no plumbing or electricity. The oldest, Ann, was born paralyzed from the neck down, so Anastasia was unable to work. I became involved with the family when Sydney requested a wheelchair for his cousin.


Because transport to the hospital was unaffordable, Ann died from Malaria in 2009.


After this tragedy Sydney asked the AACDP to help them buy supplies for a small crop of corn that would feed the family for a year. It seemed the least we could do.


In January 2010, just as his corn was ready for harvest, Nyimba was fired for growing his corn in the wrong area. Although others had used the same land, they were not fired. He was forced to leave his home within 24 hours and denied his $2000 end-payment.


I have spent a lot of time and energy researching contact info for this company to question them concerning this inhumane “policy” which I have heard is illegal but widely tolerated. We looked for agencies that should have been able to help us: the Zambian Labor Office and the International Farm Workers Union, but all avenues led to empty promises or affirmation of the company.


No one was interested in supporting a poor Zambian man against a big corporation.


When in Zambia this March I went several times to Mazabuka to speak to the farm manager at PAMA, who was clearly uncomfortable and offered no help at all, as well as the Labor Office there. The Senior Officer there seemed to agree that none of the proper procedures for dismissal had been followed and said he would look into the matter. That was weeks ago, and so far, I have heard nothing.


I met a young lawyer who promised to find help for our dispute. The liberal paper agreed to listen to this story. Can we succeed in getting this case heard by a legitimate court, the one called the Industrial Relations Court? That’s our goal, and I’m not giving up.



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These are the women of the God Given Gift Group. They are mothers and grandmothers of disabled children who attend the Mama Bakhita Cheshire Center in Livingstone, Zambia. In two year’s time they have grown into a true cooperative sharing the work and profits from the sales of their Zambezi dolls and crocheted bags. With money in their bank account they have loaned to each woman enough to start a small business, paid back with a small interest, effectively running their own in house micro lending bank. Selling vegetables, charcoal, dried fish, or handmade goods, they can now pay rent, clothe and feed their families and get basic medical care. We are all very proud of what they have accomplished.


It all started with the creation of the Zambezi Doll Project in 2010.


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Updated: Mar 4

This all took place in 2011, but I am unable to change the date on the original blogs which were moved from an earlier AACDP website. A lot has happened since that terrible event. She and her husband succeeded in building a brick house with a rental apartment attached for income. The AACDP helped to support Holliness in several years of nursing school and once she began to work, she sent her younger sister, who lost both of her young children in the terrible accident, to nursing school as well.


Holliness lost 4 family members last January when a drunk driver crashed into the house they were renting in Livingstone, Zambia. No charges were ever filed against the driver, who, no doubt, paid his way out of certain conviction.


Her late mother, a charcoal vendor, had managed to save enough money to buy a small plot of land outside of town. So Holliness and her sisters moved out to the land, and with $500 from the AACDP built a temporary house, seen in the back of the photo. Holliness continued to work as a charcoal vendor, as her mother before her, enabling two of her sisters to continue in school. And now, they are fabricating cement bricks to built a permanent house.


What spirit in the face of such terrible adversity.

A lot has happened since that terrible event. She and her husband succeeded in building a brick house with a rental apartment attached for income. The AACDP helped to support Holliness in several years of nursing school and once she began to work, she sent her younger sister, who lost both of her young children in the terrible accident, to nursing school as well. I am sad to report that the drunk driver who destroyed the lives of 3 children and one adult was never brought to account. Such is justice for the poor.


Here is the finished house.


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