In the morning one of the locals, Esther, took us around her village. It was Sunday so the children were not in school and were very excited to have visitors. It started with 6, then 12, then 30! The older ones could speak quite a lot of English. The little ones wanted to hold hands. We each had two or three on either side.
Esther explained the process of brick making from mud to baking. Each family unit has 4 living spaces made from bricks. The main living area, the toilet, the shower and the kitchen. The first three have steel sheets for roofs but the kitchen has thatch to let the smoke escape.
She introduced us to several families—which all seemed to be a cousin or a sister. Most families have at least 6 children. She explains, “This is why Zambia is so poor. The wife cannot say ‘No’ to her husband.“ The children from Mfuwe all seemed to be healthy and thriving.
The school is a series of 6 rooms, a library and a kitchen. In the kitchen there were only three large fire pits with humongous pots. This is where breakfast is served. ALL the children come to school every morning because of the breakfast porridge—a mixture of cooked maize, mashed soya beans and ground nuts.
The library is its own building and is the most popular place in the village. There are 2 volunteer librarians to help with reading lessons.
The remaining rooms are the classrooms: 6 rooms, 6 grades, 1,000 students. The kids from all of the neighboring villages come to the Mfuwe school. They also come on Sundays to watch television and play. Thus the throng that greeted us this morning.
We learned that each village has a “head man” who reports to the Chief. The Chief rules over several hundred villages. The chiefdom is not an elected position but an inherited one.