Sunday, December 1, 2013


Mom sponsors a boy in Zambia, and his name is Shy.  I am not making this up.  His name really is Shy, and guess what -- his father is also named Shy!  Mom and I think this is a funny name, but we like it.  We don't know if Shy is really shy or how he got his name.  In Zambia, they speak a lot of English because the British used to be in charge there.  So sometimes the people have kind of odd names made of English words.
Shy, age 3
Anyway, Mom started sponsoring Shy when he was 4 years old.  Now he is 7 years old.  He has two parents and an older sister.  His mom's name is Agness  and his sister's name is Linda.

Village scene

The family lives in a house with two rooms.  It is built of concrete blocks, and it has a concrete floor and a corrugated metal roof.  Shy sleeps on a mat on the floor.  There is no electricity, and meals are cooked on a coal stove.  The family uses a latrine, and they get their water from a community pump.  Shy's father works as a street vendor.  He makes about $50 a month.  Shy's mother does not work outside the home.

The women of the community wear skirts
with bright colors and grow plants in pots
outside their houses.

Mom found a whole bunch of photos on the Children International website of the community where Shy lives, and I am going to share some of these photos with you. The organization works in several countries, but in Zambia, they help people in a couple of squatter settlements outside Lusaka, which is the capital city of Zambia.  So that is where we think Shy's family lives.  There are over one million people living in Lusaka.  The official language is English, but the main local language spoken in the city is Nyanja.  Another language that people speak there is Bemba.  In other parts of Zambia, there are lots of different languages, and if you add them all up, the total comes to 73.

Kids on the school playground

Here's where Zambia is in Africa

Shy goes to school, and his favorite subjects are math and art.  When he is not in school, he likes to play with his friends.  What he most likes to play is soccer.  Zambia has free public education up to year 7, and if you go to higher grades, you have to pay tuition.  The literacy rate for male Zambians is 86.8% and for females it's 74.8%.


The people who first lived in the region of Zambia were the Khoisans.  Then they were conquered by the Bantus in the 13th Century.  Later on, European explorers showed up, and by the end of the 19th Century, the area was a British protectorate called Northern Rhodesia.  On October 24, 1964, Zambia became an independent nation.

The name Zambia came from the Zambezi River, which makes the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe.  One of the most famous sights in Zambia is Victoria Falls.  The native name for this waterfall is Mosi-oa-Tunya, which means "the smoke that thunders."  These falls are classified as the largest in the world because their height (354 ft) and width (5,604 ft.) make the biggest sheet of falling water anywhere.  Victoria Falls is about twice the height of Niagara Falls and twice the width of Niagara's Horseshoe Falls.

Aerial view of Victoria Falls
Zambia has two main seasons.  The rainy season is from November to April, and the dry season is May until October.  The dry season has a cool part and a hot part.  There is enough altitude to make the whole country have pleasant, subtropical weather.  The average temperature is about 68º for eight months of the year.

Getting health care
The life expectancy in Zambia is 52.03 at birth, and the under-five mortality rate is 68.4 per 1,000 live births.  There is an AIDS epidemic in the country, and because of this, many children are orphans.  In 2009, the HIV rate was 13.5% among adults, but HIV went down 25% between 2001 and 2010.  Which means the epidemic seems to be getting less.  Children whose parents have died are often cared for by relatives, but sometimes they are left to take care of themselves.

Community Center

Three friends

Man repairing bicycles

So that's all I know to tell you about Zambia and about Shy.  We hope he will stay healthy and get a good education and be able to have a better life someday.

Shy, age 7

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