I want charcoal, not emeralds

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I want charcoal, not emeralds

So my husband and I were having one of those restaurant lunches. Apparently we were both famished and there was more of chewing than talking(lol).

Anyway, our neighbours were very loud and you couldn’t help hearing what they were saying. It was a debate I have heard a couple of times before. Why is Zambia poor even when we have so many natural resources? He went like ‘This is the problem with Lambas(a local tribe part of which lives in an emerald-rich part of Zambia) God will whip them, he has given them emeralds but they choose to burn charcoal instead. Their Chief, Chief Nkana lives in a a grass-thatched house when his chiefdom is so rich with emeralds. The people in that area prefer to burn trees and make charcoal instead of mining emeralds’.

I don’t know which part of this conversation you agree with but it really did get me thinking.As a person who has visited the area in question, I know what he is talking about. It should be a well developed city considering the millions of dollars it produces. But you go there and all you see is a remote, very rural and very undeveloped area. Actually its not that remote in terms of distance from cities. The people there are known for charcoal not the emeralds the land is so rich in.

‘What is so wrong with us Zambians that such scenarios keep happening?’

People like to blame the government but doesn’t the government have enough on its plate? To what extent can you really blame the government for such a situation? I really don’t know the answers but I would love someone to shade some light if they can.

Maybe there is no money? Its a common but lame excuse as far as I see it. Suppose a group of say 8 locals, with support from their local leaders formed a company for this very purpose, why wouldn’t they be supported?

I do know for sure that as a people we must have such an attitude towards wealth that such keep happening in our land. But how do we change this mindset? Foreigners are getting rich on your land but you choose only to make and sell charcoal, destroying the environment and making only enough to keep from starvation. What is the solution?

 


About Author

Susan Mulongoti

Engineer, Entreprenuer, Mother and Wife
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