March Madness

The last few weeks have been pretty busy here in Zambia. Recently, I had a chance to visit Kalwa Farm as part of my duties for Open Africa. This farm is located just outside of Serenje, so it worked out well to bike there from the house and stay for two nights. Kalwa Farm is rich in history and now hosts a guesthouse as well as being a working farm. While I was there, I met with the manager of the guesthouse and he agreed that Kalwa and Open Africa were a good fit, and seemed enthusiastic about joining the route. Everyone I met here was really nice, and I was even given some guavas and oranges from the orchard.

Kalwa Farm is a new addition to the Nsobe Sitatunga Experience. Located about 15 kilometers northeast of Serenje boma, it is a quiet spot with an interesting history. The farm was started by Malcolm Moffat, a name which might sound familiar for several reasons. If you have been to Serenje, you might recognize the name from the Malcolm Moffat College of Education, of one of the best teachers’ colleges in Zambia. The surname Moffat is also familiar to African history buffs as the maiden name of David Livingstone’s wife and a well-known family of missionaries in their own right. Malcolm Moffat was a nephew of Mary (Moffat) Livingstone.

The property was given to the Zambian Baptist Mission by the Moffat family in 1971 on the condition that they continue to take care of the family graveyard. The graveyard is located near the main house and is the final resting place for Malcolm Moffat, his wife and children. For over twenty years, the farm was managed by an American missionary, before he left Zambia in 1998. The main house (which now serves as a guesthouse) was finished in 1939 and is classically colonial in style. I really loved this house. It reminded me a lot of an old farmhouse back in Iowa – complete with squeaky screen doors.

Kalwa Farm is a working farm, with maize and soyabeans being the primary cash crops. In addition, cattle, goats, sheep and chickens (both layers and broilers) are raised. Vegetable gardens and fruit orchards are also found throughout the property. Oranges, mangoes and guavas are grown, in addition to more “exotic” fruit like peaches, apples, and grapes.

My trip to Kalwa Farm was an interesting combination of some of my favorite things about Zambia and one of my least favorite things. My favorite things about Zambia that this trip highlighted were the scenic beauty, the incredibly nice people, and an interesting history.  However, this wonderful experience was detracted from by the presence of a man who followed me from Serenje to the guesthouse and basically refused to leave. While I am used to people saying hello and wanting to talk to me because I’m white, usually it is incredibly frustrating and annoying.

It’s hard to believe that I have been in Zambia for over three years. I know I have grown both personally and professionally over this time. Almost every day has been an adventure – sometimes good, and sometimes not so good. The question that everyone has for me now is ‘what next?’ – but the only answer I have right now is ‘I don’t know’. I have a tentative job offer with the same organization I was meant to be working for during this past year in Lower Zambezi. It would be a great opportunity for me, but there are still a lot of factors that need to be figured out before it is finalized. I have also been looking at jobs in America. I have about two months to figure it all out.


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