From Oklahoma, USA to Livingstone, Zambia

Meet Staci and Lance Norton (standing, left to right) as well as Mackenzie and Madison Gillham (seated left to right) from Oklahoma, USA, our recent Guests at Chanters Lodge as well as 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 popular local radio station. The lodge sponsors the show, which is a mixture of music and chat – popular locally due to the fact that we give away a weekly dinner for two at the lodge to the first person to text us telling us who’s singing our ‘oldie of the week’. This week George chose a track from Zambia’s popular Sakala Brothers and the prize was quickly snapped up by a lucky listener!

The Nortons and Gillhams told listeners that they’d arrived in Zambia on May 23rd primarily to visit and participate for a while in the running of The New Day Orphanage in Mpanza in the Southern Province of Zambia, some one and a half hours from Choma. Lance is Youth Minister at Union Hill Baptist Church in Oklahoma and New Day Orphanage is sponsored and run by the Baptist Mission in Zambia. The orphanage is still small with about 14 children aged between 4 and 8 years. They had enjoyed their time in the ‘bush’ helping to teach the children religious studies, as well as basic reading, writing and arithmetic skills. Staci and Lance Norton had visited Zambia last year, but for the girls it was their first visit. Milli Jam was delighted to be able to talk briefly to Lance in the Tonga language!

Madison, the older of the two sisters explained that she was a third year student of early childhood education at South Western Oklahoma State University, and Mackenzie that she is at the same college as her sister studying first year pre-veterinary medicine. For once, when we had girls on the programme, Milli Jam forgot to ask them if they had boyfriends waiting for them back home! The girls told listeners that their dad was a farmer and their mum a beautician back in the USA.

The music on the show had a distinct African flavour with tracks by Exile and Judy from Zambia, Diamond from Tanzania and Naeto C from Nigeria. We also played Loreen’s Eurovision Song Contest winning ‘Euphoria’, as well as Philip Phillips’ ‘Home’ – the girls were happy to hear that Philip had recently won the American Idol show – news they had missed while they were deep in Southern Province, Zambia!

Lance and Staci told listeners that they’d been able to fit in quite a lot of tourist activities since they’d arrived in Livingstone. They had taken the one day safari to Chobe in Botswana, and had been delighted to see a wide range of animals including lion, giraffe and elephant as well as a whole host of birds. They’d taken the helicopter flight over Victoria Falls – the girls admitted to being ‘a little bit scared’. They had seen the Falls from the Zimbabwe side as well as from here in Zambia. They had ridden elephants, walked with lions, encountered cheetahs and the next day were scheduled for a game drive to try and see rhino. They had not done the bungee jump – ‘not brave enough’ they said! Quite a package anyway! They described Victoria Falls as ‘amazing;.

Asked where they would like to be and what they would like to be doing ten years from now, Mackenzie calculated that at that stage she would be two years out of vet school and practicing her profession. Madison hoped to be pre-school teaching and raising a family. We wished them luck with their ambitions.