Zambia: “Out of the Bush”

Seamus Kemmy is a Zambian. Or, a bit more precisely, he was born in Zambia around 22 years ago. For a good number of those years, the allure and possibility of a return to the land of his birth held a good bit of his attention. Last month, his “Aliyah” materialized.

In the mid 90’s his mom and dad, Tom and Ginger, and their 4 young boys moved as Oblate Lay Missionaries to Mongu (the small backwater “capital” of the Western Province of Zambia). They ran and extended the reach of the Mongu Nutrition Center. They also gave birth to Seamus.

Seamus sent me this interesting account of early missionary wanderings  and activities in his homeland.   – Fr. Billy Morell, OMI

Ahh, Bo Father, Mulumelesha! Muzuhile chwani? Luitumezi for the kind words. Everything is going great here, I’m doing very well, or ni iketile as they might say here. I tried to give you a call this week actually, but I can only make calls to another iPhone. I was under the impression you had one, but maybe not. 

Today marks a month since I’ve been here in Zambia, and if the next months develop like this first one has, I will have gotten the experience I was hoping for and more. I spent my first week at the Ngumbo ‘centre’ house in Lusaka, hanging around the guys there. Brother Max, Fr Godfrey, and many of the younger guys there took me around and I was able to take in much of the busy capital city in just a week.

Major Street in Mongu

Major Street in Mongu

I had an authentic Zambian transportation experience catching a bus from Lusaka to Mongu, where I spent a week at the Jack Joyce house there. I walked Kambule Street and looked into the window of the room in which I made my entrance to the world. I met up with my namesake, Brother Seamus,(an Irish Christian Brother who has worked in Zambia for decades) and had a few Mosi’s with him over at St John’s High School, and also got to take a look at Radio Liseli. I think Fr Barnabas is finding something for me to do there once I get back into Mongu.

mongu liseli - Copy

Radio Liseli, owned and operated by the Missionary Oblates in Mongu, Zambia

As for now, I am teaching English to two classes of 8th graders in Shangombo. I told my mom & dad that Shangombo makes Mongu look like New York City. When people say the bush of Zambia, this is what they mean. So while there is not as much excitement here as there might be in Mongu, I am valuing each day here since I am likely never to be in such a place again. The people are poor, but rich in spirit as they say. I have redefined my definition of what a long mass is, but now know what it means to truly celebrate mass. The Oblate priests here (Fr Faustino Kalebwe, Fr Chanda, and Fr Pius) are good guys, and are watching out for me. I will send pictures soon, I already have some great ones. Hope all is well. 

Ba yolumela