Kat Harrison Plays 107.7 fm

Meet Kat Harrison, visiting Zambia with Riders For Health and the latest guest on our regular Sunday night radio show The Chanters Lodge Experience with the Milli Jam Ingredient featuring George da Soulchild, which I co-host, and which airs every Sunday at 20.30 hrs on Zambezi FM, 107.7 in Livingstone. ‘Let The Waves Flow’ is the station’s slogan.

First up Milli Jam wanted to know about Riders For Health, and Kat explained that in Africa millions of people are dying from easily-preventable diseases because health workers do not have the reliable transport to reach them. By ensuring health workers have access to vehicles that never break down, Riders for Health is making sure millions of people across Africa receive regular, reliable health care, often for the first time in their lives.

“Do you fix the vehicles yourself then?” Milli Jam wanted to know, and Kat, laughing, explained that she was the Monitoring and Evaluation Manager for the NGO and travelled a lot to the various countries in which Riders operate to assess progress. These countries included Malawi, The Gambia, and Nigeria. We commented that as Kat’s only been with the outfit less than 2 years, she’s certainly globe trotted a lot already. She agreed. We asked her about her education and Kat explained that she’d studied economics and international trade at Bath University as part of her further education.

“How did you come to choose Chanters Lodge?” Milli Jam wanted to know and Kat explained that a colleague of hers had recently stayed at the lodge and recommended it. She went on to say that she was happy and comfortable at the lodge and hoped that Riders would regularly use the lodge in future. “So do we!” I said.

Milli Jam asked Kat if it was true that she had an identical twin sister and Kat confirmed this, mentioning that her twin sister Liz was currently in Thailand working for an NGO involved with disaster risk management and that the two of them planned to climb Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for Riders For Health in March. “Have you trained?” I asked. Kat hesitated….”sort of” was the rather unconvincing reply!

The music on the show was excellent as usual. After our opening theme we played ‘Amnesia’ by Skepta and ‘Big Screen’ from Wiz Khalifa. George chose two great Zambian tracks ‘Ma Gelo’ by the extremely hot Mampi, telling her man that his girlfriends don’t love him as much as she does, therefore he’ll be back! (Figures). We featured Mampi back to back (as it were) with ‘Bum Mbeya’ by Karasa which George explained was all about Karasa pleading for a date with a certain young lady! (Probably Mampi – ed).

‘Rolling In The Deep’ by Adele kept listeners right up to date with the latest hits from UK, and George confessed after he’d played Adele that Keri Hilson’s ‘Drippin” was on repeat at his home! Milli Jam chose Kanye West’s ‘Run Away’ and ‘You Make Me Better’ by Fabolous featuring Ne-Yo. We closed with Young Gangsta’s ‘Toot It And Boot It’.

Milli Jam asked Kat what music she liked and she told listeners here favourite artists at the moment were Ne-Yo, John Legend and Bruno Mars. Great taste – the assembled company agreed! We gave away the usual dinner for 2 at Chanters Lodge to the first person to text us Kat’s country of origin and the prize was quickly snapped up by Justin amidst a flurry of texters!


Guests Donate To SOS

We don’t often reproduce Guest reviews from TripAdvisor on the blog, as they update automatically on to our website anyway. In exceptional cases we do though and I think this most recent review qualifies as exceptional through the generosity of our Guests.

“My 19 year old daughter and I stayed at Chanters Lodge for 3 nights in January. Mr. Chanter (himself!) picked us up (and returned us to) the airport at no extra charge. He also gave us a ride to Victoria Falls (normally a $10 US taxi ride and about 10 minutes) while showing us a bit of Livingstone and giving us some travel tips ~ that immediately made us feel much more comfortable with our new surroundings.

This was our first visit to Zambia. We decided to stay at Chanters Lodge because we did not want the insulation of one of the big hotels. We are so GLAD that we chose Chanters! Our room was charming with mosquito nets (not really needed during our stay) over the beds. All of the staff at the Lodge, especially Anastasia, were very helpful in helping us choose activities and get them all arranged. It was no problem to call a taxi to the Lodge for pick-up to our activities when transportation was not included.

The Lodge has a restaurant so meals were easy and delicious. A full breakfast ordered off the menu is included with the room.

We visited the spectacular Victoria Falls two times, walked out on the bridge to Zimbabwe, bartered for souvenirs at the “curio” stands in town, had high tea on Livingstone Island, and canoed for a half-day on the upper Zambezi. Chanters Lodge is an easy walk in to Livingstone (the falls are a $7 taxi ride from town – too far to walk). Anastasia easily helped us make the arrangements for tea, canoeing, and taxis. No pressure at all for booking any trips and Anastasia shared some very helpful tips based on other hotel guest’s reviews.

Prior to coming to Zambia, Richard Chanter helped us make contact with a local orphanage which we hoped to visit with some gifts. Anastasia even accompanied us on our trip to the SOS Children’s Village. The SOS Childrens Village, by the way, seems to be a very well run home and school for 180 children. Our visit was welcomed, our gifts appreciated (we brought to large duffle bags of Tshirts and toys), and we were totally impressed with educational opportunites for the kids and the structure of the homes. A very worthy organization that operates in 130+ countries.

A bonus for us was meeting Tim and Claire, newlyweds who were on our same flight into Livingstone and staying at Chanters. We ended up doing most activities with them and really enjoying their company! Even when we were caught in a ferocious rain storm while at the Falls. We sloshed our way to the Royal Livingstone Hotel to have a cup of tea on the veranda with a beautiful view of the grounds and the Zambezi with the clouds of spray from the Falls. Walking to the Royal Livingstone for tea was an excellent suggestion from Richard Chanter.

I would heartily recommend Chanters Lodge and would definitely stay there again if chance ever brings me back to Livingstone.”

Thanks to the author! The picture? Children playing at the SOS Childrens Village.


Is Banksy Santa Claus?

Here’s something different and a fantastic gesture from Banksy. The Poke reports:

“Is Banksy Father Christmas? They both move around at night, they both keep their identities a secret and now it seems they can both be everywhere at once. One thousand of Britain’s poorest families woke up this morning to find the wheelie bins outside their homes had been turned into ‘Osama Bins’ – original pieces of Banksy art worth thousands of pounds. (See above).

The Osama Bins appeared in London, Bristol, Cardiff, Newcastle and Glasgow. Unsurprisingly Banksy himself was unavailable for comment and due to the levels of secrecy surrounding the art terrorist, so was his spokesperson. However, a spokesperson for his spokesperson, speaking through an intermediary, admitted that the Osama Bins were indeed Banksy’s handiwork. Were they a comment on the disposable nature of a culture driven by fear? “No.” Could an explanation be offered as to how the artist graffitied one thousand bins up and down the country in a single night? “No.” What was the significance of placing an image of the West’s most hated figure into the very hearth of its poverty? “None.”

Not everyone was so tight-lipped. “It’s a miracle,” said one lady who asked not to be named. “I was struggling to convince the kids that two pigeons killed with a catapult is how they have Christmas dinner in Greenland. Now I can sell my bin for £30,000, buy them all the turkey or facepaint they want and move out of this shithole. Thanksy, Banksy – you’ve made my Christmas!”


The Aussies Are Back!

No! Even though it’s Ashes time this isn’t a cricket reference! The headline refers to the three Australian ladies pictured above left to right – Judy Smetherham, Kerry Hegney and Di Rapson, appearing (with furry friends) for the second time on our weekly Sunday night radio show, The Chanters Lodge Experience with The Milli Jam Ingredient featuring George da Soulchild, which goes out live at 20.30 hours for an hour on Zambezi Radio 107.7 fm. The ladies’ first appearance was back in April 2009 on their last visit to Zambia. What brought them back? Well, when they were asked this on air, their smart reply was “we heard rumours Richard was looking much younger”! “Quite right too!” I said, while others just sniggered…

In fact the ‘girls’ were back in Livingstone for two weeks to do some of the things they hadn’t done on their last visit, including a microlight flight over the Falls, a swim in Devil’s Pool on Livingstone Island and a two night, three day visit to the Okavango Delta in Botswana, leaving from Kasane Airport the next day. They also planned to do the cheetah encounter and as usual visit Maramba Market and Zambian friends they’d made during their last stay. In a way more importantly, the ladies had come from Australia via the Copperbelt in Zambia where they’d delivered 400 school bags, and over 200 soft toys to children at Chiwawatala, Chankuta and Mishikishi Primary Schools. They had to get special permission from the airlines they used to carry all that excess luggage in such a good cause. Oh! and they brought some beanies too. “Beanies”? I hear you ask. Don’t know your Aussie slang do ya? Woollen hats in real English. I only knew the slang as the ladies kindly brought me the ‘Australian Slang Dictionary’! Allows me to be rude to the Aussie cricketers on TV in their own language.

The only tinge of sadness was the news that Mr Billy Mulonda, head of one of the families the ladies had been helping in Ndola had been struck by lightning and killed the day they were leaving the Copperbelt. We sent our deepest condolences. After the Copperbelt the ladies had spent time at Mfue Lodge in South Luangwa National Park and had had a great time, seeing loads and loads of different animals.

The music on the show was awesome and featured numbers from Aggro Santos, Bruno Mars and Cee Lo Green to get the party started. George chose Cray J with ‘Chipe’ for the first of his local tracks, and then Brothahood Crew with ‘If It’s Loving’. George himself featured on this track – as I mentioned last week he’s a locally famous singer by the name of Kafuela as well as a great DJ and technician. George was hot from a live rock show at a venue in Livingstone on Saturday afternoon organized by 107.7 fm. ‘Were you mobbed by young girls’? I wanted to know. ‘Of course’! Was the short answer. Milli Jam chose 112 with ‘Only You’ and Aliyah with ‘Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number’ for his tracks, after which we moved on to ‘Bottoms Up’ by Trey Songz featuring Nicki Minaj, ‘Love All Over Me’ by Monica and Jay Sean’s great ‘Break Ya Back’!

“What have you ladies been up to since the last time we saw you” Milli Jam wanted to know. Well, plenty was the answer. Judy had travelled to the UK and Paris, Kerry to Egypt, Turkey and Holland and Di to Bali. Di, who’d sadly lost her dad during this period, had also been to shows by Pink and Nickelback in Perth where these ladies live. “Noticed any changes in Livingstone and at Chanters”? The DJ’s wanted to know. “Plenty”! The girls replied – mentioning new rooms and the suite at Chanters, as well as Richard and Annastasia’s new offices. They’d seen that Livingstone boasted a new shopping mall.

As usual we gave away a dinner for 2 at Chanters Lodge with drinks to the first person this week who could tell us where these lively and funny ladies came from. Australia was the first answer we received by text from Karen. Result!


SOS Children’s Villages

SOS Children’s Villages do a first class job helping orphans in Zambia to live a ‘normal’ life. At Chanters Lodge we have supported them on several occasions and it’s great to see our 1st Lady getting involved, as this piece from LusakaTimes shows:

“First Lady Thandiwe Banda has paid tribute to SOS Children’s Villages Zambia for supplementing Government efforts in the provision of quality health care and education to children. Mrs Banda who is also SOS Zambia Ambassador called for enhanced partnerships between Government and stakeholders in programmes that aims at uplifting the welfare of children in the country. The First Lady said this when she graced the SOS Children’s Villages Zambia, fund raising musical concert by Lee John and the Imagination Band from the United Kingdom in Lusaka.

Mrs Banda said it’s the duty of citizens to look after children as Government alone cannot manage due to meagre resources. Earlier, SOS Children’s Villages Zambia National Director Florence Phiri said the village is currently supporting over 6000 children at its three villages in Lusaka, Livingstone and Kitwe. Mrs Phiri said the village has diversified its parameters by reaching out to other children in poorer communities surrounding the villages.

And speaking at the same function, SOS Children’s Villages Zambia Board Chairperson, Lucie Kasanda said plans are also underway to construct another children’s village in North-Western Province. Ms Kasanda said this is in line with the village’s programme of targeting 16 000 children to be at its villages by the year 2016. Proceeds from the fundraising will go towards the construction of the children’s village in Chipata, Eastern Province which is being funded by SOS-UK.

The Chipata Village will be home to180 children and offer support to over1000 beneficiaries in the surrounding community.”

We’re often asked by Guests to nominate a worthy cause for donations of either cash or kind, and we have no hesitation in recommending the SOS Children’s Village in Livingstone.


Elephant Charge 2010

Here’s something different from http://www.elephantcharge.org/

“Zambia’s extreme off-road 4×4 challenge is about to start! Join us in this exciting event and sign up your team now. The Elephant Charge raises money for conservation and wildlife education in Zambia on a not-for-profit basis. All proceeds raised this year will go towards:

– Lusaka National Park
– South Luangwa Conservation Society
– Conservation Lower Zambezi
– The Kafue Trust

What is the Elephant Charge?
The Elephant Charge challenges teams of cars and motorbikes to complete a grueling course through the Zambian bush. Teams consist of either a 4×4 vehicle with up to 6 individuals or 3 to 4 motorbikes. The teams drive and drag themselves around the course, building roads with their bare hands and steering their vehicles up and down outrageous inclines in an attempt get home in the shortest distance possible. The straighter you dare go the more intimidating it will be!

The Elephant Charge engenders a fantastic team spirit and generates a huge feeling of accomplishment both in terms of funds raised and terrain conquered. It is a great weekend in the wilderness for competitors, their families, sponsors and supporters. This year’s Elephant Charge will take place on Zambia’s Independence weekend, 23rd, 24th and 25th October 2010 at a secret location, which will be revealed to competitors the day before the event.

How to Enter An entry fee of K1 million is payable to Elephant Charge Zambia Ltd by each team. The entry fee is used by the organising committee to pay for any costs not covered by event sponsors. Teams must also pledge a minimum of K2 million sponsorship when they enter the event. All sponsorship received by the event will be paid to the charities. We look forward to your support knowing that each and every contribution will help protect and develop wildlife conservation and education in Zambia.

Please email info@elephantcharge.org if you would like to enter a team, act as an official, or sponsor the event, a checkpoint or a trophy. Visit www.elephantcharge.org for the latest information on the event and to download entry forms.

So, what are you waiting for?!


Walking For The Children Of Zambia

A friend of mine Mueti Moomba – a Zambian expatriate living and working in UK – is walking from Sheffield to Leeds (34 miles) on 22nd June to raise funds for SOS Childrens Villages in Zambia – a cause with which we’ve been involved before at Chanters Lodge. Great guy and a great cause which need your support. Mueti’s being accompanied by a colleague – Natalie Kemp – on his tough venture!
Here’s what it says on Mueti’s ‘JustGiving’ page.

“Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving – they’ll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to the charity and make sure Gift Aid is reclaimed on every eligible donation by a UK taxpayer. So it’s the most efficient way to donate – I raise more, whilst saving time and cutting costs for the charity. So please dig deep and donate now”.

Mueti goes on:

‘We’re appealing to everyone to spend a moment and think about the orphaned and vulnerable children that the SOS Children Villages in Zambia are helping. If we think of children as the future investors or leaders we should do all we can to empower them now and give them chance to fulfill that potential. In Zambia these orphaned and vulnerable children are housed and given a chance to go to school by SOS in order to secure their future. Myself and a workmate Natalie Kemp have a passion to raise money for this charity that will help such children live in a loving home and have a normal childhood.”

Thanking you in anticipation

Mueti Moomba and Natalie Kemp”

Awesome stuff and we wish them the best of luck!


Volunteer Work At Mwandi Mission

I don’t normally reproduce Guest reviews for the blog, after all you can check them on our site anyway, but I’m making an exception in this case because of the reference to Mwandi Mission. I know lots of people would like to spend some time undertaking voluntary work in Africa, and Mwandi’s one of the best places you can do this! Here’s the review:

“My daughter and boyfriend stayed at Chanters Lodge last October and highly recommended it. They were so right. When I decided to volunteer in the Livingstone area I emailed Richard, the owner, and he could not have been more helpful. He put me in touch with a wonderful project in Mwandi

I stayed a total of five nights at Chanters. The accommodation is first-rate and the restaurant one of the best in Livingstone – the pepper steak and Zambian dishes were my favourites. We had poolside air-conditioned rooms set in a beautiful garden. It is an intimate hotel (about 10 rooms) with a terrace to eat on as well as an inside dining room and lounge. Richard collected us from the airport and took us back and could not have provided better service. He organised things for us including a sunset cruise on the Lady Livingstone (well worth the money), and a walking safari with Chiinga which was excellent ( we saw the rhino close up). The museum lived up to his recommendation and of course the Falls are fantastic – but a very wet experience in March (at least take a waterproof bag, we got soaked through in the rain/spray).

The project in Mwandi was brilliant. I spent three weeks there building a mud hut, helping at schools, feeding programme etc etc. I know Paula is always keen to have more volunteers and as it is only two hours by bus from Livingstone (very easy). Shorter visits are feasible.”

Great stuff! Thanks to the reviewer.


White Weddings!

Here’s a nice story by Katie Dawson at BBC News it was sent me by my cousin Marion.

“It is the most important and expensive dress that most women will ever buy. But once the band has packed up and the confetti has blown away, most wedding dresses spend their years packed in a box in a dusty attic.

Now a Berkshire charity is offering a new lease of life for these beloved items – helping rural communities in the African country of Zambia. Abi Parker, 46, runs the Aids Support Awareness Project (ASAP) from her home in Windsor and is in need of wedding dresses to take to brides in Lusaka, the capital of Zambia.

Ms Parker plans to rent out the dresses for a small fee, which will help fund her Aids awareness project, along with a local training scheme which teaches former prostitutes skills to allow them to earn an alternative income. “It’s an African woman’s dream to get married in a white wedding dress,” said Ms Parker, who lived in Zimbabwe for 10 years. “It’s a sign of stature”.

“By doing this we are giving people, who could not usually afford it, the opportunity to get married in a white dress.” So far, more than 60 dresses, donated from across the UK, have been taken over there. Some are from brides desperate to get rid of their dresses following a marriage breakdown and others are from women keen to pass on an item of clothing that brought them so much joy.

Sue Lovell, who runs Savvy Cinderella, a bridal shop, near March, in Cambridgeshire, has been collecting dresses for Ms Parker. Everyone wants to feel like a princess whether you live in Zambia or Cambridgeshire the 44-year-old said: “Everyone wants to feel like a princess whether you live in Zambia or Cambridgeshire. “It’s just something that every bride needs and I think this is a perfect charity.” After putting an appeal on her website, Ms Lovell received dresses from women all over the UK, as well as Russia, Canada and Norway.

Some are modern dresses, while others date back to the 1950s and 1960s. The oldest dress donated was made in 1937, and came with its original pattern. Ms Lovell said the most expensive dress given cost £2,000 when bought new. “We have had such a huge range of donations,” she said. “We have had some absolutely gorgeous ones from ladies who have been married for 40 or 50 years.

Ms Parker flies to Zambia on Friday with another load of dresses. ASAP hopes to start hiring them out in the next couple of weeks, once their new shop is completed.”

Now there’s something exciting for the Chanters Girls!


Meagan Hawley

Yesterday on Twitter and on Facebook I mentioned our shock about and prayers for Meagan Hawley, from Namwianga Mission. Meagan has been a frequent Guest at Chanters Lodge in the past few years – a lively, lovely vivacious girl doing an amazing job at the mission. This is what the Gregersens, also great friends of Chanters Lodge, wrote on their blog:

“Meagan Hawley, our dear friend and co-worker here at Namwianga, is on her way back to the US for medical treatment. She has been having symptoms which lead her doctors to suspect serious health problems. On Saturday, a specialist at OU looked at photos of her lymph nodes and tonsils and said she needs a biopsy immediately to diagnose or rule out lymphoma. She will have surgery in Oklahoma City on Monday or Tuesday. Meagan had just 12 hours notice to get ready to leave Namwianga, making it very difficult for her to say her goodbyes and pack for the trip while she processed this frightening news.

Meagan has devoted the last three years of her life to caring for the orphans here at Namwianga. Most recently she has been in charge of Marjorie’s House, a facility to care for babies who have health problems or compromised immune systems. Words cannot express the impact she has had on all of us who know her and especially on the little ones who rely on her tender care.

Please pray for Meagan, for her family, and for those of us here at Namwianga who need her back soon. “

We’ll do that and hope for her speedy recovery

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