Nabusanga, Art, and the End of My Zambia Trip

I was pleasantly surprised with another unexpected visitor. Elias Thole, one of the founding Day by De members and director of the Candice De Youth Soccer Academy in Zambia, visited us in Kabwe. He was a contributor during the original planning stages of the Nabusanga garden project. Elias joined us for our last two days at Nabusanga.

On Wednesday night, I stayed with the Mulenga's, the family that hosted Victor and me for a night last June. Before cooking dinner, Elias, Mr. Mulenga, and I visited a local Zambian army bar for drinks and to play pool. The locals at the bar were very skilled at pool and my record in Africa dropped from 2-3 to 2-5. It was nevertheless fun and everyone was characteristically very friendly.

Back at the Mulenga's, I was tasked with cooking caterpillars, per my request. I was told there are two types of caterpillars - one has thorns and is more nutritious and the other lacks thorns but is less nutritious. We were cooking a mix of both.

After soaking, before frying

After soaking, before frying

First, the caterpillars are soaked in salt water for at least 30 minutes. Next, they are drained in a colander. Once drained, the caterpillars are added to hot oil. They are fried for about 20-30 minutes until slightly crispy. Salt is added to taste. The flavor is hard to describe but they're salty and almost leafy. The texture is comparable to crispy chicken skin but slightly more chewy.

Delphine anxiously awaiting one of her favorite foods.

Delphine anxiously awaiting one of her favorite foods.

The Mulenga family

The Mulenga family

Back at Nabusanga, our first order of business was a student art exhibition. The students used various media and presented a jump rope made from milk bottle caps, a paper mache camel, two model houses, a wood carved fish, a pencil drawn map of Zambia, baskets made from plastic straps, and two students played the drums.


Meanwhile, James and his crew were hard at work. By the end of the art exhibition, the chicken house was nearing completion. Nabusanga even had the foresight and ambition to prepare the foundation for an expansion to double the capacity, thereby doubling the profits and benefits to the school.

We'd like to thank ERM for the grant funding that made this impactful project possible and our Day by De team and all of the Nabusanga volunteers who put in the work to make this happen. This project will have a huge impact on the school and students, providing them extra funds to run the school and buy supplies while teaching the students valuable skills in raising and selling chickens.

On my last night in Zambia, Chileshe and I attended Ms. Emily Kirby's (no confirmed relation) art exhibition at the StArt Foundation's 37d Art Gallery in Lusaka. It was a high class, invite-only event with complementary champagne and hors d'oeuvres. Chileshe told me he recognized some high profile Zambians like a famously accomplished constitutional attorney and the Zambian Solicitor General. It wasn't our typical scene but I was ecstatic to be share the experience with Chileshe.

Ms. Kirby is a Zambian-born English artist who has a distinct and beautiful aesthetic style heavily influenced by her time in Africa.

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Her subject matter includes the wildlife and people of Africa typically with blank muted green or orange backgrounds. Ms. Kirby was pleasantly down to earth, approachable, and well-spoken. We bonded on our love of travel, particularly in Africa. I encourage you to check out her impressive and original art: https://www.emilykirby.org/

On my last morning in Zambiag, I kept my promise and cooked Chileshe's family an American meal. His favorite food is pizza but Narendra made him that a few years ago and I don't know how to make it. I thought a similar dish to try would be lasagna. Aside from the ricotta cheese, which I substituted with cottage cheese, I found all the ingredients at the market. I didn't have time to share it with them because I had to catch my flight but I was told that they enjoyed it.

As for my reflections on my Zambian experience and the impacts it had on me, I still think it's too soon to tell. However, I'm certain that I've never been more committed to Day by De or the Zambian people.

I hope you've enjoyed the Zambian and Day by De portion of this blog. If you've enjoyed it or want to help, I encourage you to subscribe to our email list, donate your time or money, and continue following the blog.

And sorry it took so long but I wrote this blog from just outside Isalo Park in southwestern Madagascar and cell service is spotty here. For my own memories, I'll probably write a single Day by De blog about my own travels and update it as I go. My time in Madagascar is almost over but I'll leave a preview - a greater bamboo lemur in Ranomafana National Park, critically endangered with an estimated 500 remaining and once thought to be extinct.

As you might expect, a greater bamboo lemur eating bamboo.

As you might expect, a greater bamboo lemur eating bamboo.

Ben KirbyComment