“You see, when I was talking to President Obama last week….” Helenor Webb (not in the ‘gang’ picture above – I’ll post a photo of ‘mum’ tomorrow) started to say….. “What!” we all yelled at once! It was true! Helenor went on to explain that the previous week she’d taken part in a conference call with the US President. He’d spoken from Air Force One, to a group of supporters about the US Medicare system. Helenor’s roots are in Belize, she’s an Obama supporter, and has been involved in the Medicare reform issue since she retired last year from her job with Ticketmaster. Milli Jam and George Soulchild’s eyes were on stalks!
Helenor and daughter Tamara are visiting Zambia with friend Denise Anderson and were kind enough to Guest on the latest edition of the Chanters Lodge Experience with the Milli Jam Ingredient, the radio show we sponsor every Sunday night on Zambezi Radio 107.5 fm, Livingstone’s best loved local radio station, despite therefore missing the sight of the famous lunar rainbow over Victoria Falls on the night of a full moon! “Shame!” I hear you cry.
“What sort of company is Ticketmaster?” Milli Jam wanted to know, and Helenor went on to explain that the company sold tickets for events and shows. “Did you get tickets to see shows yourself during your 18 years’ service?” We asked. “You bet” said Helenor “the best two shows I ever saw were Tina Turner and Janet Jackson – I had a box seat!” Milli Jam and George Soulchild (on technical) were agog again! “Milimo’s been in love with Janet Jackson for years” I commented, turning to him “haven’t you?” “I like Janet Jackson” he admitted shyly!
We made a mistake. We played ‘Macarena’ by Los Del Rio. What happened? These raucous American ladies, who of course were guesting on the show because they had accommodation reserved at, and were staying with us at Chanters Lodge, got up and danced. I had a strong suspicion people were dancing all over Livingstone to this great number! Tamara and her mum had all the moves!
Tamara’s on a six month volunteer programme in Khorixas, Namibia, some 4 hours from Windhoek. She’s working with the Namibian Ministry of Education through Worldteach, administering classes for students of all ages learning Maths and Science on a computer programme – Plato. Helenor and Denise are visiting her from the States. Denise hails originally from Guyana and is an Adoption Social Worker with Montgomery County in Maryland. “How did you get from Windhoek to Livingstone?” Milli Jam wanted to know. “On the Intercape bus” they replied “and we’re gonna make sure we buy blankets for the return journey – we were very cold! Other passengers looked at us quite pitifully!”
“How did you choose Chanters Lodge?” Was the next question. “By surfing the internet and checking with Lonely Planet” Tamara replied. “Pleased with your choice?” Asked Milimo. The girls all agreed that they were. Apart from ‘Macarena’ we played ‘Missing You’ by Black Eyed Peas a great track from their new album. ‘Dance With My Father Again’ that wonderful number by the late great Luther Vandross went down well, and our American visitors enjoyed hearing two local numbers – ‘Masese’ by Tommy D (a number for his boss meaning ‘I work hard but you pay peanuts, pay me what I deserve!’) And ‘Kokoliko’ by Tobby Zambian (?) meaning ‘we’re gonna party til dawn’. The Chanters Girls were specifically instructed by me on radio to ignore the lyrics of both these two songs!
“Where would you ladies like to be and what would you like to be doing ten years from now?” Milimo wanted to know. Denise replied that she’d like to be raising a family and still helping other chidren. Milli Jam asked her if it was true she’d attended Barak Obama’s inauguration in Washington last January. “Yes”, Denise replied “along with millions of other people”. “What was it like to be there?” “Amazing!” was Denise’s one word answer. I bet it was too!
Tamara also said she’d like to be raising her own family ten years from now and helping other children too. Mum? Helenor would like to see Obama’s Medicare plan through to fruition. “Where’s your husband?” Milli Jam asked Helenor and she explained that he was still working but would be visiting Tamara in Namibia later. “And yours?” Milli Jam turned to Denise. More hoots of laughter. “I’m single” she eventually replied. “Single fit to mingle” murmered Milimo. “Is it true your boyfriend’s working in Iraq?” Milli Jam asked Tamara. “Yes” she replied “he’s a radio broadcaster over there”. “Is it serious?” “Very!” “Isn’t love at a distance rather difficult?” pursued Milimo. “Yes it’s very difficult and sad” replied Tamara giggling! “Do you have political ambitions?” I asked Tamara, taking a guess. Good one, she does!
The ladies talked of their sunset cruise on the Zambezi that day, their excitement about riding elephants on a safari lined up for the following day, and a sense of anticipation about their trip to Botswana for a one day safari in the Chobe National Park on Tuesday. In between times Helenor had enjoyed a church service at St Andrew’s anglican church in Livingstone and the ladies had loved the Livingstone Museum!
The photo? Tamara Webb, me, Milli Jam, Denise and George Soulchild, left to right.
Great show! Fabulous guests, super music! We gave away a dinner for two with drinks, as a prize. Some people texted us what they thought would be the answer to the question before we’d asked it! So we changed the question, and asked them what country Tamara’s working in! Namibia! Replied Irvin and won! Honestly, what some people, (including radio presenters), will do for free food!