The Peace Corps and The Experience

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!

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Imagine Rural Development Initiative

I found this wonderful project through Steven Putter @stevenputter on Twitter.

 
 
Imagine Rural Development Initiative (IRDI), a Zambian registered non-profit organisation, is providing skills-training in moringa cultivation to 30 previously unemployed local Zambian women. This skills-training program forms part of IRDI’s Moringa project, which aims to empower local Zambians through the sustainable production of moringa, an affordable and highly-nourishing superfood, to fight malnutrition, improve health and eradicate poverty. Imagine Rural Development Initiative is providing this skills-training program free of charge to these local women, many of whom are widows and are sole breadwinners in their families and who take care of not only their own children, but also grand-children and orphans who have lost their own parents due to HIV/AIDS and other illnesses.

The 6-month training program covers moringa propagation, planting, crop management, harvesting and processing techniques. It also includes training on making aerobic compost and using moringa-based organic fertilizer to alleviate the need for petroleum-based fertilizers and harmful pesticides.

After successful completion of the training program, these local women will be contracted by IRDI to propagate and plant moringa in rural and peri-urban communities across Zambia. The women will also train local community members in moringa cultivation, creating further empowerment through skills transfer. The women will also have the opportunity to provide their services to other local agricultural co-operatives and independent local farmers.

IRDI aims to create sustainable income-generating opportunities for program beneficiaries, and this skills-training program will empower these local women to provide a secure future for themselves and their families. By completing this program, the women will be able to support themselves financially within the next 6 months. Although our local women’s group want to improve their livelihoods by learning new skills, the reality is that they still need to put food on their tables, provide shelter for their families, pay for transport and send their children to school.

100% of donations to this appeal will go directly to these women to assist with living costs for themselves and their dependents, including food, transport and school fees. A donation of $25.00 will cover a week’s living expenses for one woman engaged full-time on our skills-training program. Our goal is to help raise $3000.00 a month for 6 months to provide financial support for the 30 women in the group for the full duration of their training.

While IRDI provides skills-training to empower these women, you can give them the peace of mind of having their basic living costs covered while they are in training. We will provide regular updates, feedback and photo’s on IndieGoGo, from the women who receive your donations.

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Ten Reasons To Choose Chanters Lodge


Ben Reed from AdventureswithBen was kind enough to write this recently about Chanters Lodge: Thanks Ben!
TEN GOOD REASONS TO STAY AT CHANTERS LODGE LIVINGSTONE
10. Quiet, Peaceful, Calm
With 11 rooms, you’ll find the lodge quiet, peaceful and well…calm. The location of the hotel is just beyond the main part of town, close enough to be where you need to be quick, but far enough away to get that sense of escape and relief.

There is a pool and garden area to relax, catch-up on jet lag or just relish the fact that you’re in Africa. With rooms sprinkled throughout the complex, you can feel like you’re the only one there, or quickly swap stories with other travelers who are looking to do the same.

9. African Personality
Traveling through 15 countries I can tell you that a hotel, is a hotel is a hotel. But not Chanters Lodge.
Stepping onto the grounds, you’ll instantly feel like you’re in Africa. High perimeter walls, dirt driveways, painted walls, coffee tables stacked with travel books, newspapers and magazines and well-worn lounges to enjoy them in – it’s the perfect setting to best your fellow travelers with tales of getting doused by Vic Falls, cruising the Zambezi or searching for game. It doesn’t try to be luxury, contemporary, modern or artsy. It’s African and that’s what makes it special. I’ve posted more photos of Chanters Lodge on Facebook.
8. Comfortable Rooms
Between riding in helicopters, bungee jumping and hiking through the Zim Side of the falls, at the end of the evening, you want a place to unwind and relax. Rooms are equipped with bug nets, private bath rooms, desks, televisions, space heaters (yep, it can get chilly in Africa) and beds you can slide right into. I fell fast asleep, anxious to discover what adventures Livingstone has in store for me tomorrow.
7. Convenient Location
Chanters Lodge is located just about 10 minutes from the airport and 10 minutes from Vic Falls. Taxi Drivers know exactly where it is so it’s easy to get home. You can make quick trips downtown for shopping, dining or entertainment without worrying about how to get home.
6. Menu Variety
The Chanters Lodge Restaurant has plenty of options for every palate. You’re in Africa, so try something local: Zambezi Bream (fish), Nshima (a Zambian side dish) and Mosi Lager (a local brew). But for the less-than-adventurous, there’s the staples too: omelettes, sandwiches, chicken, pasta, etc. Food comes quick, is priced right, filling and does the job after a busy day crossing borders with Zimbabwe and Zambia. Breakfast is included with your room!
5. WiFi Internet Access
Guests can enjoy 1 complimentary hour of wireless internet access. Vouchers for purchase are available for additional time. Internet speeds in Zambia are slower than what you may be used to, but you’ll have enough speed and time to let everyone know you’ve arrived safely in Livingstone and to brag on Facebook with the photos you took of Vic Falls.
4. Community Radio Station
One of the parts of my stay that surprised me the most was Chanters Lodge’s prominence in the community. Every Sunday Richard Chanter, the owner, hosts The Chanters Lodge Experience with the Milli Jam Ingredient Featuring George Soulchild on 107.7 He’s got a strong following on the show as they talk music, travel, pop culture and more. Each week he gives out a free dinner for two at the lodge to local Zambians, a treat for many!
Guest lodges distinguish themselves from the bland corporate hotels with activities like this. It adds passion, personality and fun to a guests stay. Locals supporting locals, that’s the way it should be.
3. Attentive Staff
I sat down to dinner on the first night and with my meal came several salads, one of them beet salad. Not a beet eater, I politely declined. During dinner on the second night, my server brought the same salads, minus the beets. That kind of attention to detail is rare. It can’t be taught, practiced or rehearsed. You have to have people who have a heart for service to recognize and deliver moments like that. Whether it’s the front office staff, the servers or Richard himself, they’ll ensure you are taken care of during your entire stay.
2. Fantastic Price
Considering the amenities, location staff and everything else, Chanters Lodge is the best value in town. Anything cheaper and you’d be slummin’ it. Anything more expensive and you’d be paying for services you don’t need. Chanters Lodge hits it on the mark.
1. Passionate, Friendly Owner
Richard Chanter, the owner of the lodge which bears his name loves being a hotelier. I could tell that instantly. He’ll meet you at the airport, provide travel advice in the area, organize tours and transport, regale you with stories from his past and maybe even invite you to be a guest on his radio show Sunday evenings.
Chanters Lodge is the culmination of decades of experience in hospitality, a place he can call his own.
Thanks Ben, I’m pleased you see it that way! Hope others do too!

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Suite 1




Here are some new pictures as we go ahead with our plan to convert two of the small original bedrooms into a suite at Chanters Lodge, Livingstone. The interior photo is taken from the bathroom door looking through the bedroom to the sitting room – on the right is the large built in wardrobe/luggage storage area.

The picture of the pool is taken from the sitting room window (isn’t that nice?) and the third photo shows the scene as you leave the suite sitting room via the new front door.

The plastering is all but finished. The next job is to prepare the floor for relaying and then to caste it. Once that’s cured, the new ceiling will be fitted and floor tiles (not yet bought!) laid.

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Sunday Morning Staff


Check this great picture of some of the Chanters Girls rather early last Sunday morning. Left to right Lynnette, Agness, Melinda, Sandy and Junior.

Thanks to Phil Broadhurst for the photo. Phil’s part of the crew filming the Lion Encounter for the ITV series ‘Lion Country’. He, Karen Partridge and Susan Houghton check out today to continue filming in Zimbabwe, and we thank them and Lion Encounter for their fantastic support to Chanters Lodge. Great people! Susan even got engaged whilst staying here, so I guess we must have done something right!

We wish the team ‘bon voyage’, and if you’re in UK don’t forget to catch their incredible programme on ITV1.

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Where Frogs Live


For the past two months the water feature in the garden at Chanters Lodge, Livingstone has just been a rock feature without water. Happily, as the photo above shows, it now has water again.

The original underwater pump for the feature was given to us by a friend from Denmark, Tom Kristensen, way back in the 90’s when the water feature was a pond teeming with Zambezi Bream. The Southern Water and Sewerage Company saw to that by overdosing the town water supply with chlorine one night, killing all our fish in one fell swoop. We were desolate, and the fish pond was never the same again. That was around 2003.

When we were able to fund a swimming pool in 2005, Phil Roberts and his team from Alpha Leisure who constructed it, built our beautiful water feature as well. We used Tom’s underwater pump that we’d used for the fountain in the old pond. At the end of last year that pump finally broke after more than 10 years service and was replaced by a quite expensive South African one. It didn’t work properly from the start and was declared unrepairably buggered after just a month. Eish!

Now enterprising Phil Roberts has adapted a regular .75hp water pump we had lying about, fitting it behind the rock and, hey presto! We have water circulation again! Oh! And we hope some birds come back – they’ve been absent ever since the rock had no water!

I suppose those noisy frogs will be heard again too!

Ah! Life in Livingstone!

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Landscaping


As mentioned on my last post, we’ve been busy landscaping around the new rooms at Chanters Lodge, and have decided to use some more ‘pan bricks’ (as they’re known here) around the rondavels where we intend to have sunbeds.

It’s not a cheap finish (!), but will match the existing and it’s long lasting and strong. The picture shows the builders laying the bricks. Like everything about this project we’ve ended up needing about three times more than we’d originally (wrongly) estimated!

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