Meet Jenni Kuker (above right) and her mum Jan who were Guests on the most recent edition of the Chanters Lodge Experience with the Milli Jam Ingredient featuring George da Soulchild Kaufela. That’s our regular Sunday night radio show on Zambezi 107.7 fm, Livingstone’s leading local radio station. The programme is a relaxing mixture of music and chat. Jenni and her parents, who come from the USA, were staying at Chanters Lodge on a visit to see Victoria Falls. When Milli Jam asked Jenni “what brought you to Zambia?” She exclaimed “adventure!” And went on to tell listeners that she is a Peace Corps volunteer and that she’d been based in Zambia since July 2010, stationed 200 kms east of Lusaka in Luangwa. Her parents were on a visit to see her, as well as to do some sight seeing.
Jenni explained that she held two degrees, one in psychology and one in nursing from University of Portland in Oregon, USA. She told listeners that in Luangwa she stayed in a mud hut without electricity, and had been mostly living on a diet of village chickens and bananas. That part of Eastern Zambia is famous for the production of the latter, and Jenni told listeners she was now expert in the production of banana bread, banana fritters and banana pancakes! She was involved with health care education in a rural clinic and would finish her stint in Zambia in September this year. She was looking forward to showing her parents ‘the village’ and then taking them on Safari in the South Luangwa National Park staying at Flatdogs.
The music on the show was right up to date as usual. We opened with Rihanna’s ‘Where Have You Been’ – her upcoming single release, back to back with Conor Maynard’s ‘Can’t Say No’. Conor’s single was number two in the UK charts as the show went on air. Hailing from Brighton Conor is billed as ‘Britain’s answer to Justin Bieber’. The mind boggles – but it’s a good single. For his Zambian pick George dropped one of his own great tracks ‘Your Love’ featuring Jay Fantasy back to back with JK’s smash featuring Salma ‘Kapilipili’. Milli Jam chose the ‘oldie of the week’ Charice’s ‘Pyramid’ and my phone was hot with folks texting in to tell us the name of the artist, in order to win a dinner for two at the lodge. Jacque won. We closed with Maroon 5 ft Wiz Khalifa and ‘Payphone’.
Jan told listeners that she and husband David (listening to the show back at the lodge) had been married 43 years and were both retired. They had both worked in human resources prior to retirement. They were thoroughly enjoying their first visit to Zambia. Jenni told us that a lack of privacy in the village had been the hardest thing to accept when she arrived in Luangwa, and said she had overcome the problem by building a fence. She wanted to work in specialized surgical nursing when she returned to the USA, and mum wanted her to find a husband. ‘No need to return to the States for that’ texted one bright spark ‘plenty of eligible men in Zambia’. We laughed.
Asked where she would like to be and what she would like to be doing in ten years’ time, Jenni replied that she would like to be nursing somewhere in the world with Medecins Sans Frontiers. I’m sure it will happen!