A group of Development and Peace youth members from across Canada are in Zambia on a youth solidarity trip to learn more about the work of Development and Peace and its partners.
Today, we visited the Zambian Land Alliance (ZLA) in Lusaka, the capital of Zambia. Development and Peace has given support to the ZLA over many years. I can clearly see why we got to meet some of the staff of the ZLA and hear about some of their current projects. We also heard from community members who had been personally helped by the ZLA.
One of the things that has struck me the most about the Development and Peace partners and the many Zambian citizens we have met so far, is their joy and hope. Despite what seem to be insurmountable obstacles, like oppressive policies surrounding land rights for the poor, unemployment and changes in the Zambian constitution, they always have a smile and a few minutes to teach us a word or two in Nyanja, the main language spoken here in Lusaka. Their hope is like the endless blue sky; it has no limits and no hesitations.
Something I have noticed time and again during our stay here in Lusaka is the link between humanity and the Earth. It is treasured here in a way that seems almost non-existent for many in Canada. Both at the Kasisi Agricultural Training Centre and at the Zambian Land Alliance, the necessity to understand the way nature is meant to work and our place in it, is made abundantly clear. This makes the current Development and Peace campaign on mining issues ever more important.
I am looking forward to heading up to the Copperbelt cities of Kitwe and Ndola tomorrow to learn more about the impact that mines have on the Earth and on the people living in the mining areas.