Saturday, October 23, 2010

Mom's New Sponsored Child

I think I have told you before that Mom sponsors some kids in different parts of the world, and now she has a new one.  He is a little boy who is four years old, and he lives in Zambia.  His name is Shy.  We don't know if he is really shy or not.  He does not look very shy in the photo.  Also his father's name is Shy, so maybe he was named after his father and not because he is actually shy.

Anyway, in case your African geography isn't so good, Zambia is a country in the south part of the continent, and it used to be called Northern Rhodesia, back when the British were in charge of it.  Before the British came along, there were hunter-gatherers living there for thousands and thousands of years.  Maybe those people used dogs to help them hunt, but we don't know if they did or not because people back then did not write any diaries or blogs or anything to tell us this stuff.  

Zambia is just south of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where lots of my distant basenji cousins live today, but I haven't heard of any basenjis living in Zambia.  Maybe there are only Rhodesian Ridgebacks in Zambia.

Anyway, most of the people who live in Zambia are in the capital city of Lusaka, or kind of in that region.  Also there are people in the northwest part of the country, which is called the copperbelt.  Mom's sponsored child, Shy, lives with his family on the edge of Lusaka, where many of the people are squatters.  This means they don't really own the land they live on.  Shy lives in a house made of concrete blocks, and it has a metal roof.  So it is better than some people's houses in that area.

A lot of people in Zambia are very poor.  The average income per person in a year is $1150.  About 55% of the people make less than $2 a day, which would not buy very much dog food.  Also a bunch of people have tuberculosis and AIDS, which are very bad diseases.  Maybe 15% of Zambians are HIV-positive.

It used to be that Zambia had a better economy, and that was because they mined a lot of copper and sold it for a good price.  But then people stopped wanting as much copper, so Zambia got poor.  Now they are trying to find other ways to make money, like by getting tourists to go there, by raising more crops, mining gemstones and nickel, and by making hydropower.

Open copper mine
In Zambia, there are schools for most of the younger children, but after the 7th grade, tuition isn't free anymore, so a lot of kids can't afford to go to school anymore.  If you finish the 9th grade in Zambia, you are thought to be well educated.  The organization that Mom sponsors Shy with, Children International, tries to help kids stay in school by paying their tuition and buying them school clothes and stuff like that.  Of course, Shy is too young to go to school yet, but he will start in the next year or two.

The main thing that people in Zambia eat is called Nshima.  This is made out of a corn flour called mealie meal.  Usually it is eaten as a porridge, but sometimes it is cooked into cakes, like in this picture.  You can also make Nshima out of cassava, which is a root, kind of like a potato.  Anyway, I think this food looks pretty yummy, but I bet the dogs in Zambia don't get to eat it, just the people.  

Nshima and relishes
Anyway, I don't think I would like to live in Zambia because people over there can't afford to buy nice dog food, so I would probably starve.  I guess it's nice that Mom can help a little boy like Shy, but I think it be better if she would spend the money on food or treats for her own dogs!


  1. Very interesting. I think Shy is a very good looking boy and I'm happy that your mom is sponsoring him. I, too, for years sponsored "a" child (or one at a time) thru Children International. There were different children thru the years, and every time it was a girl. The children I sponsored were always from Mexico. Did your mom ask to sponsor a child in Africa or was he just appointed to your mom. I'm ashamed to say, I can't recall how the procedure works. Hopefully, I will be able to start sponsoring again in the future. Also - my last cat's name was Shy...but we spelled it Shi for some reason. I'm sure you and your siblings would rather have the money go to your food and treats, ha, but it really is good that your mom is sponsoring a child.
    Love, AP

  2. AP again...I thought for the heck of it, I would do a little searching for the meaning of "Shy" as an African name. Didn't find a darn thing - ha. I just found the name interesting and thought I'd look it up!

  3. Dear Aunt Patty,
    "Shy" is not an African name. I'm pretty sure it is an English word used as a name. The African people seem to like to do this a lot, and some of the names are kind of funny, at least to us. "Memory" is used pretty often as a name, and so is "Gift." Mom chose Shy to sponsor by looking at the available kids on the website, but sometimes she has kids assigned to her, like for instance she just got a new girl to sponsor in the Philippines because the other one she was sponsoring graduated from the program.

    "Shy" is a good name for a cat, and it would work for some dogs, too!

    Love, Piper