Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Women In Zambia

Today, I had some of the most amazing meetings. Thanks to the help of MP Mulama and Albert Munanga, and others I felt very prepared. When you are prepared doors open. If you know something going in there is greater mutual respect and...you just plain learn more! A 300 level course is always more informative than a 100 level course, but you have to earn it.

My first meeting was with the YWCA in Lukasa. These ladies are amazing. They have a plan in working for women's rights in a country that has a tradition of strongly favoring men. We talked politics and about AIDS prevention, and domestic violence prevention, etc. These are all issues that I have encountered as a State Senator. Even today, I face discrimination from my own leadership. Abuses take many forms.

Later, I met with the Women's Caucus of the Members of Parliament. It was a huge honor to have been introduced by Mr. Speaker on the opening day of the Zambian Parliament! I stood and MP's gave me a few Here-Here's. Having met some of the women MP's previously, I was asked into the women's lounge and joined by several members. I told them about the National Foundation of Women Legislators and several other things.

Hon. Dorothy Kazunga (MP), Senator Pam Roach, and Jane Mwakasungula with the Development Research Group that is hosting my visit... outside the doors of Parliament. Note the Zambian seals on the doors.

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Location:Thabo Mbeki Rd,Lusaka,Zambia

Zambia: A Beacon of Democracy in Africa and the Death of Mama Betty K

When the revolution occurred in Zambia it was peaceful. No tribes fought against each other and none fought the British. And, last year, a peaceful change of power occurred when President Sata won election. Indeed, the former British colony of Rhodesia had grown the roots of democracy.

Each day has been very eventful as I am here at a time of events. Mama Betty Kaunda, wife of former president Kenneth Kaunda (KK) died last week. In her eighties she leaves a grieving nation and a physically drained husband who has been hospitalized while trying to take part in the decision of where the body will be interred, the capital or the home province.

After meetings I donned a wrappa (colorful material worn around the waist and long to the ground) and joined my new friends for the drive to the former president's retirement residence which over looks the savannah outside of Lukasa.

Zambians morn until the body is buried. I arrived to see several large temporary shelters set up to protect mourners from sun and rain.

I walked up very wide entry steps and signed the guest book. I removed my shoes and walked in to what looked like the living room with furniture removed. Mourning songs were being sung with perfect African harmony by women seated against the wall with legs straight out facing the room. I took my place on the floor. A woman sobbed in the corner, another woman nursed her baby. The music was something I didn't want to leave.

Outside again, a humble student group played a faster paced music. the drum and guitar were handmade. a shoe polish can was used as a fret on the base.

I met Mama K's fourth born son, a doctor. The press had followed me there by separate car. They listened as I offered condolences on behalf of myself and all Americans. We sat under the awning on a couch and talked for 10 minutes. I was then interviewed by the press. My attendance was reported on national television, ZNBC.

Taking pictures of this kind of experience is not something I feel comfortable doing. But, a friend did take a couple which, if discrete, I may post later.

The people will come through the night to pay respects. The next da
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Location:Lukasa, Zambia

Monday, September 24, 2012

Pam Roach In Zambia

Albert Munanga and I arrived in Lusaka, Zambia on Saturday afternoon to a greeting by a Member of Parliament, community leaders, and the Zambian press.

I had started the trip in Romania and by shuttle spent three hours on the road to Budapest. Then there was a flight to London and 10 hours in the airport until the 11 hour flight to Lusaka! As I received the flowers and was escorted to the press conference, I was surprised but glad to meet new friends and begin my mission.

That night I was on the national TV, ZNBC. I will try to add back in some of the print media when I get home. I am still working out the new IPad.

Albert is one of my constituents though he can't vote for me. He is a Zambian citizen. I met him in Olympia when he was lobbying me on long term care from the wings of the Senate floor. I liked him right off.

Quick to smile, smart, and fun, we decided that I should visit his country. That was a couple of years ago. He told me I would be welcomed and he was right.

That evening, MP Henry Mulama, drove us around the compound area of the city. There are no street lights but the dirt roads were occupied with many, many people. Headlights from the few cars were the only illumination. By day it is 35 degrees Celsius. It was cooler in the evening.

We dined in the MP's dining room at their motel complex. The Zambian Parliament would open on Monday and members were arriving from all the provinces. MP Mulama's 9 year- old daughter, Pauline, joined us and she and I decided to have chicken and chips. Albert had traditional food which I would catch on another occasion. I was having fun with Pauline!

Here are Pauline, MP Mulama, and Albert standing in front of the largest display of insect repellant I have ever seen! It goes clear to the end of the aisle. Malaria is a clear and present danger.

Below, I am with MP Mulama and Pauline. the blue sign reads "Members and Their Guests Only."

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Location:Thabo Mbeki Rd, Lusaka, Zambia

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Pam Roach Meets Romanian Monk

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Gherisim is one of 25 monks who have devoted themselves to God and the Romanian Orthodox Church. He lives in the 12th century monastery which is in the Arad countryside.

He was 23 when he joined the order. He had a trade and served in the military but joined up for a different kind of army. I asked him many questions among them was to see his hands. They were swollen from years of work. He held them out to me to hold. The gardens are beautiful. Gherisim told us when they planted a new tree they dug the whole with their hands. Thankfully, Adrian, Paul, and Gabriel were there to translate.

When the communists took over they ransacked the place, tearing up even the floors, looking for gold and wealth. Today, they have a small museum and several small worship areas open to the public. It looks great.

As we lingered by the small gift shop (religious icons were the fare), Paul approached me. Gherisim had left and come back with gifts for me! he had declined to give them to me himself. He gave me two small laminated pictures, one of Christ and one of Mary and the infant, Jesus. The coin is a special item from the order. It is not a government coin.

Sides of the monastic coin given to me by the monk.

In one of the chapels.

Fresco on the chapel wall.

Beautifully kept gardens.

Plenty of alters.

Location:Arad, Romania

Romanian Gypsy And His Family


Monday, September 17, 2012

Pam Roach Helps In Romania...Then On To Zambia

I have been looking forward to visiting Romania for several months now. I am here with a health mission of the Seventh-day Adventists Church.  I arrived  Friday and met the group of eight already here. We are eating traditional food at the home of the pastor's family, staying at a pension, and today I visited the King's Castle.  I had no idea there was a king here in this socialist democracy. But, there is! King Michel lives in London most of the time. He is 91. During the Communist rule he thought it would be healthier somewhere other than Romania. This is the reason for his

Pam Roach In Romania

I am reporting today from Arad, Romania where I am part of a health mission sponsored by the Seventh-day Adventist Church. I arrived in Budapest Friday afternoon and took a car shuttle for the 2 and a half our ride.

As in the states, Romania is suffering from drought. Without rain for over two months, the corn stands parched in the fields.  The thing I had never seen were the sunflower fields. Past harvest, only the tall stalks were left. Corn is harvested by ear from the field as are the flowers are harvested one by one. Farmers don't till the soil for the following year.

The best way to learn about a country is from its people.


On the way, a Romanian student studying in Denmark, told me about his family, income levels (the average is $300 a month) and his decision to leave Romania. He told me he knew he had to leave his comfort level if he was going to have a different life than that of his parents. He was used to living on very little so he has no problem working two jobs, being involved in student government, and studying marketing. (picture to come...) He was the first one to mention the gypsies.

I arrived in time for dinner. All meals are taken on the patio of a local Romanian SDA member who happens to also be a baker. SDA members are often vegetarians I have learned. All that we will eat is organic and traditional food. (pictures to come...)

Saturday was the Sabbath. Pastor Adrian from Renton SDA gave a sermon. Later we were all called up one at a time to introduce ourselves and to mention what we will be doing for the mission. I will be meeting the mayor of Arad and participating in a press conference. And, I will start the marathon! No, not by running but by signalling the start of the race. (pictures to come...)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Republican National Convention Pictures

WSRP Chair Kirby Wilbur, Dino rossi, Pam Roach, Jane Milhans, Colleen Wise, and others on the last day of the convention.