Friday, September 30, 2011

My sister Precious Kamanga dies - 17th January, 1982 - 10th July, 2011

Precious Kamanga
Precious Kamanga, born black but beautiful was a joy to know. To me who had the pleasure and privilege of meeting her, being friends with her, interacting with her as family, she was a blessing to know, indeed she had a kind of warmth that’s so wonderful and rare, a happy and joyful smile that was such a joy to share, she carried her own joy and sunshine with her wherever she went and it made the happiest moments for all. Indeed some people are praised in their death just for the sake of it, but for my sister Precious, she was a wonderful person, she was a shoulder to depend on when you were in want, in need, in lack, in pain, etc, she lent an ear even when you were saying things seemingly meaningless to other listeners. She was an arm you could trust to pull you along when you were giving up, a friend and sister you could trust to keep that embarrassing secret. 

Precious with Tamara in Chingola
She opened her life to everyone, her home was a haven for many a soul, her money and belongings, she gave and shared cheerfully. She had a ready laugh, joked with many, always willing to offer support and consolation to many, she never chose basing on sex, creed, caste or colour, she mingled with the rich and poor, dirty and clean, black and whites alike and she had no trouble fitting in as she was a flexible yet reserved person. Yes, Precious was impartial. Yes she was human and had her limits when her patience was tried. But she didn’t stay angry for too long and was willing to talk, make amends, as well as compromise for the sake of peace. She would scold in the most loving of ways.

From right to left: Mum, Precious and her two friends
Precious Kamanga, really loved her God and was a committed Christian, brought up and groomed in a Christian family of Baptists, she was given to learning more on her God and encouraging others in the faith. Many a time when things were going wrong, she would encourage you to lean and wait on God, yes, she believed her God was able and never doubted Him and her God was faithful to her to the end.

From left to right: Precious, mum and chimwemwe in Chingola
Precious Kamanga was a lady with a bright future ahead of her, she was intelligent and was open to learning, and she was very hard working and a risk taker. She learnt to fend for herself from a tender age. She was not too good enough for any odd job as long as it would guarantee her financial independence; from till teller in Shoprite, to sales lady at Maina Soko Pub, to Administrator at Lufwanyama District Council, she ran in between different tasks with much eloquence and was well versed in whatever her expected task was “when duty called!” 

Left to right: Ruth, Precious and Phoebe
 Well learned and equipped with a Degree in Business Administration obtained from NIEC School of Business, she still aimed high, indeed for her, the sky was the limit and that is why after a few months of serving as Administrator with Lufwanyama District Council, she was sponsored to go for her Diploma Program at Chalimbana Local Government College to study Local Government Administration. 

Precious (center) with her 4 cousins at a family wedding in Kitwe
Despite being the angel she was to many of us, she had her shortcomings, in her final year, she fell pregnant for another student and would have given birth to her bouncy baby in August but it seems God had different plans. She had repented of her wrong doing, she was planning to have that child and had a suitcase full of clothes and blankets bought in readiness for the new born baby but her plans and our plans were not Gods plans. She past well with a Merit in her school at Chalimbana and was a diploma holder waiting to officially graduate later in September 2011 when God called her home. 
This was the last family photo taken a month before she died
On this material day, 9th July, 2011, it was a day like any other and she complained of some pain in the stomach but brushed it off for the normal pain which pregnant women occasionally go through and thus left it on till twas too late. Her Blood Pressure shot. At about 21:00 hours she began to convulse and lost consciousness. She was rushed to the clinic by Phoebe our youngest sister and a good neighbor and at the clinic, they were informed that her condition needed immediate medical attention which could be obtained from a big medical institution in this case, Kitwe Central Hospital which lies many Kilometers away from Lufwanyama. 
Racheal, Ruth and me paying our last respect to Precious
Yes, she needed immediate medical attention as convulsions in pregnancy are common but dangerous; unfortunately all that the staff at the clinic could afford her was clinical attention. She had to be held up on the side to avoid her lying flat while looking up which could cause choking as she was unconscious. To make matters worse, the ambulance at the clinic had no gas and they were asked to wait till morning and time was running out, in desperation, Phoebe had to make phone calls to mom and dad. That is not a phone call that a parent wants to receive close to midnight, mom and dad couldn’t wait till the morning and thus a few minutes past midnight, they were on the road, first to Kitwe to refuel the family bus then they drove in the night to Lufwanyama, the road is extremely bad and almost impassable, but to a parent, it did not matter, they had to get there. Before 5 o’clock on Sunday 10th July, they were in Lufwanyama at the clinic looking at the sapped out and unconscious dear daughter, by Gods grace, the ambulance was readied and mom drove with her in the back of the ambulance and the bad, deep-potholed road did not help the situation at all. 

Phoebe in black pays her last respect to Precious
The bumpy road was surely not good for my sister and the baby, by 08:00hrs, they were at Kitwe Central Hospital and she was still unconscious, blowing her mouth and salivating and shivering, oh what a sorry sight to see my once brave and strong sister unconscious, nothing prepared us for the events of that day, according to the nurse when asked, her condition was normal was getting better and stable by the minute, and by 13hrs, she was indeed looking a lot better.
Dad so-rounded by Pastors O. Sichula, E. Sakala & K. Kabwe pays his last respect to Precious
They should have separated mother and baby on time seeing that she was already 8 months along, but they didn’t, was it negligence, I wonder, maybe it was just the will of God. Her feet were getting cold, I brushed it off thinking she was feeling cold, well, she was indeed looking very stable as she slept, but at 15hrs, she turned again, and a few minutes later, our dear loving sister gave up the ghost, she answered the Lords call. Both mother and baby died, oh what a loss it was.
Mum in (center) pays her last respect to Precious
Precious seemed to know her time was up and that is why, her last status update on Facebook was an extract from her favourite hymn, “All the way my Saviour leads me” and all she wrote was, “All the way my Saviour leads me, what have I to ask beside…” it was painful, it is painful and will be painful for long, but she was ready and when the Master called, she answered and slept peacefully. Her lifeless body lay so peacefully on that Hospital Bed in Kalungwishi Ward at Kitwe Central Hospital. It was hard to believe, still hard to believe, yes fate dealt us a bad hand. She will always be dear to us, she will always hold a special place in our hearts, she will always be remembered for her kind deeds and selfless love she showed to all, yes, the void she has left can never be filled. 

Dad and mum lay the wreaths
Her death came as a blow, a huge blow to the family, a mighty blow to all her friends and workmates and indeed a very great loss to the man she loved and father of her unborn child. She will be remembered as the hardworking lady who had so much passion and a big heart to accommodate and tolerate most of us.  She was a friend and sister INDEED! She endeavored at all times to live up to her name; she was precious and a rare gem to all of us. But she is in a better place. She was laid to rest at Leopards Hill Cemetery in Lusaka on the 13th of July, 2011.

Precious' grave on 13th July 2011
Cleaning Precious grave in readiness of the tomb stone (10th August 2012)

Me, Ruth and Phoebe cleaning our sister's grave (10th August 2012)

Me - supervising the fitting of the tomb stone (11th August 2012)

Precious' grave after putting the tomb Stone (17th August 2012)

Rest in peace sister Precious Kamanga, till we meet again on the other side

Monday, September 12, 2011

Planned Parenthood Association of Zambia (PPAZ)

While in High School, I got involved with the Planned Parenthood Association of Zambia (PPAZ) and I served in the committee as a Treasurer. I really enjoyed working with the youths and my prayer was that in future I should continue to work with the youths.

PPAZ open day in Kitwe
Planned Parenthood Association of Zambia (PPAZ) is a Zambian non-governmental organization which has existed since 1972 as a voluntary, not-for-profit and non-political organization advancing the cause of sexual and reproductive health in Zambia. It is a Member Association of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF). PPAZ’s vision is realization of a society in which all people in Zambia enjoy equal sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and have access to quality and affordable SRH information and services. Our mission is to advocate for sexual and reproductive health rights of women, men and young people, especially the vulnerable, and to empower them to make free and informed reproductive health choices. We dedicate ourselves to the provision of high quality and sustainable youth-focused sexual and reproductive health services.

One on one counselling at the PPAZ open day

Since its formation, PPAZ has been a leading organization in Zambia in the area of sexual and reproductive health. PPAZ stands as an organization that responds to the challenges of the unmet needs in reproductive health such as high fertility rates among women, low contraceptive use, high incidence of HIV/AIDS and inadequate access to services by the underprivileged and underserved communities. In Zambia the organization is recognized and appreciated as a reliable service provider and initiator of programmes that compliment the Ministry of Health efforts to provide equitable access to health services for all Zambians.

From left to right: Nelson, me and Shadreck

Testing the bicycles that were donated to us from our PPAZ head office in Lusaka
 After finishing my High school at Choma Secondary School, I moved to Kitwe and got into college to study Marketing. I finished my college in December 2005 and started working for Zambia State Insurance Corporation (ZSIC) as a Sales Executive. I really enjoyed my work as I used to go in the field to look for customers and maintain old one, my main tasks were to find people that would be interested in our policies. I was dealing with the Motor Vehicles, house holders, house owners and many other insurance covers.

Sharing traditional food with some friends from USA
Cecily and me having a chat after they shared the meal
 I did some enquiries of where I could find the offices of PPAZ in Kitwe and I was directed and I joined the organization as a volunteer. Because of my commitment and hard work I was selected by the Youth Counselor to be an overseer of the activities of the Youth Action Movement (YAM). The Youth Action Movement is a network of over 7600 young people in PPAZ and has 38 branches across Zambia. It is a vehicle for young people’s participation in the governance of the Association as well as in designing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating their programmes and participation in leadership. It is getting increasing national and international recognition through its activities which include advocating for Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health, networking with other youth NGOs, media campaigns and peer education activities among others. I was basically overseeing two (2) branches namely; Kitwe Central YAM and Kawama YAM.

Membership of the association is open to all persons and organizations who qualify under the Laws of Zambia to exercise their constitutional right of association, and who subscribe to the aims and objectives of the association.

Giving a talk to the Youth in Kawama
Me in action
A volunteer may be defined as a person/institution who out of his/her free will agrees to offer his/her talents, resources including time and services without expectation of any material reward/gain for the promotion of a cause for which s/he stands. Volunteers therefore come from all cultures, groups, gender, professions, age categories, races, ethnical groups, etc.
Answering burning questions from the Kawama Youths

There are different categories of volunteers depending on the role they play within the organization, such as Community Based Distributors, Peer Educators, etc.

Kawama YAM Members litsening to a presentation 

Services Offered

Visit one of our Reproductive Health Centres to access quality youth-friendly health services.
Family Planning
Antenatal and Postnatal Care
Laboratory Services
Voluntary Counseling and Testing
STI Screening and Treatment
Gynecological and obstetric care
Male Circumcision
Peer Education
Psycho-social counseling on sexuality, gender-based violence, life skills

Youth Friendly Health Services

Voluntary Counseling and Testing
STI Screening and Treatment
Family Life Education
Drama Activities
Youth Recreation Activities
Peer Education
Psycho-social counselling on sexuality, gender-based violence, life skills

Group photo of the Kawama YAM members

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Church Building - Kitwe Chapel
 Born 28 years ago on the 28th April, I was privileged to be brought up in a Christian family. Both my mum and dad were born again Christians. My dad was working for Scripture Union as a Traveling Secretary. I had been exposed to the gospel from infancy as we used to have family devotions and I enjoyed going to church for Sunday school and Holiday Bible Week at Kitwe Chapel

My early life as a small boy in the 1984
 I for one, thought that by going to church and doing all the good deeds would make me a Christian. I kept this in mind until one day in March 1993 my elder sister professed Christ and she began to gradually change from doing bad and pursuing good. I knew in my heart that I had not been living an upright life but then when I saw my elder sister’s change, I thought to myself, “My sister has changed, if I don’t change, my sister will not be comfortable to be found with me” So I woke up one day and announced to everyone in the house that I am now a Christian like my elder sister. Little did I know that that was not true faith but just a way to accommodate myself with my sister and feel accepted.

One day the youth at Kitwe Chapel had a video show at the home of Mr. Misheck Daka who was an elder at the time, I hesitated to attend this meeting as I thought that I would feel out of place but my sister encouraged me and we finally went. The title of the movie was Pilgrim’s Progress.  Many of you may have seen the movie or read a book by John Bunyan

The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan
 John Bunyan was a Baptist preacher and author with little education but much vision and purpose. Briefly imprisoned for preaching without a license, he is believed to have begun writing the most famous Christian allegory, The Pilgrim’s Progress, while in jail. The Pilgrim’s Progress was published in 1678 (Part I) and 1684 (Part II). After watching this movie, I really felt the need of God in my life. Elder Daka after the movie came and sat next to me and we began to chat, he asked me a number of questions about my family, school and the movie we watched of which I answered. Then he popped a question saying ‘Obvious, are you a Christian?’ From the time I was born, this was the first time this question was brought to my attention; I then answered and said ‘yes’. He then further asked me to explain what I meant and I told him all the good things I had done and that I never missed Sunday school at church. He explained to me from scripture that we are all born sinners (Romans 3:23) and that we cannot do anything to save ourselves unless we confess our sins and believe that Jesus Christ in Lord. After our discussion, he advised me to think about these issues seriously and ask dad at home to help me. When I got home, I talked to my day and he also showed me from the Scriptures that no matter what I have done, God is faithful and just to forgive sin. I then prayed for myself confessing my sins and dad also prayed for me. I do not regret knowing God in a personal way and I thank all those that helped with regards to my salvation.

MR. Misheck Daka (Elder)
Mr. Wilson Kamanga (Dad)
Precious Kamanga (Sister)
I thank God for Mr. Misheck DaKa who found time off his busy schedule to talk to me after the movie we watched at his home. I also thank God for my dad Mr. Wilson Kamanga who has been and continues to be there for me, he brought me up in a manner that is godly and he prayed for me when I gave my life to God, he was quiet a busy man visiting schools while working for Scripture Union Zambia but he found time to be with his family. Last but not the least, I thank God for my late elder sister Precious Kamanga, she passed on two months ago on 10th July 2011 (MHSRIP), she is the one who convinced me to attend the Youth Video Show and without her I would not have watched the movie and talked to Mr. Daka. I thank you all for the great contribution you have made to make me what I am today.

Family Photo - 1988
Being the only boy in a family of four (4) children, I faced a lot of challenges with regards to having male friends, my friends were my three sisters and dad never allowed me to go and play outside the yard as the boys in the neighborhood where bullies. I only interacted with boys at church and school.

As years went by, I made a few friends at church and school. I started attending Scripture Union in Primary School though I was not very active. I never played football in school up until I reached my 6th grade, I never played much of it because I feared the big boys that would take advantage of the small boys and bully them.

In 1995, we moved to Theological College of Central Africa (TCCA) in Ndola where my dad was to do his Theology studies, I was in my 7th grade and it was the first time I was changing a school from Kitwe Primary School to Perseverance Primary School . While at TCCA, me and my sisters got included in the Bible club program for children where we were taught from scripture and how to live in line with the will of God. It was good as we interacted with a lot of children with different backgrounds and beliefs.

Bible Club Children at TCCA in 1995
We lived at TCCA for 4 years up to the time my dad completed his Theological Studies and graduated in December 1998. I did my Junior Secondary school at Kansenshi High School in Ndola and then got transferred to a boarding school in Southern Province. I did my grade 9 at Pemba Secondary School. We then moved back to Kitwe and dad continued working for Scripture Union. He work for another 2 years and then went into full time ministry in April 2000.

Mr. Wilson Kamanga and his family on his graduation day December 1998
Mr. Wilson Kamanga answered a call to ministry in April 2000 at Choma Central Baptist Church and I was privileged to be baptized by him together with my youngest sister Phoebe on 24th September 2000. I moved to Choma Secondary School where I did my Senior Secondary from grad 10 – 12. I got so much involved in the Scripture Union while at Choma High School and was the Chairman for Pilgrim’s Wesleyan Fellowship.

Church building – Choma Central Baptist Church
It is at Choma Central Baptist Church where I began to spear head the Youth Fellowship in 2001 and my spiritual gifts began to come out. We labored for the Lord in our outreach efforts to spread the gospel of Christ to the lost. Some homes we visited in Choma were hospitable while others did not want to hear anything from us.  We also had some youths from Kabwata Baptist Church visit us during the Easter weekend to help us in our evangelistic efforts.

Yours truly

Obvious Kamanga