My Hometown Top

Feeling safe at home in peaceful Kaoma, Zambia

A cyclist passes a local market in Kaoma, Zambia. (Nasilele Ngonda/YJI)

Kaoma, ZAMBIA – If you were to visit my hometown, the first impression you would get is that of life in a quiet, peaceful village.

Five hours drive away from Zambia’s capital, Lusaka, we live a very simple life in my hometown. Almost everything is homemade or grown. We don’t have industries or large factories. Stay tuned as I take you through the daily activities of Kaoma.

To the outside world, Kaoma is a boring place, but to me, living here is an adventure.

So many activities take place throughout the year and people engage in different tasks to make ends meet.

Farming is the main activity. Different kinds of crops are grown each year, from cash crops such as corn to family produce such as millet. Local trade is also common here. The local people barter maize for fish or bush meat – with the latter act done in total secrecy.

Goods on display at a market in Kaoma, Zambia. (Nasilele Ngonda/YJI)

Apart from cash crops, Kaoma takes pride in the picking of caterpillars, a local delicacy which is well known in many countries of the world. During this seasonal activity, people go camping in the forests where they look for trees hosting the caterpillars and chop them down.

The chopping of these trees invites the forestry department. Once caught, offenders are charged fines and sometimes locked away. But this does not stop the local people from going into the forests. The caterpillars are sold here, but large amounts are taken to the nearest border post where they are exported to the outside world.

When the caterpillar season is over, the mango business follows. During this time, businessmen and women go around inspecting mangoes in different villages, buying whenever the quality satisfies them. They then transport them to the capital, where they are sold for a very large profit.

Lumber is a big industry in Kaoma, Zambia. (Nasilele Ngonda/YJI)

Kaoma also has large forests which attract foreign investors wanting to invest in timber. The town now has three timber processing companies run by Chinese people. Many youth are employed at these timber processing companies.

Part of the lumber operation in Kaoma. (Nasilele Ngonda/YJI)

There’s never a dull moment here. People of different ethnic groups live here in my hometown and there are quite a number of festivals. These ceremonies bring the local people together and tribal differences are put aside. On such occasions we are all happy and together.

A market stall in Kaoma. (Nasilele Ngonda/YJI)

Going through all these activities each year is exciting but telling about them is thrilling. I have gone away from home several times, and I must say the best moment in all my absences was when I landed back home.

The freedom that comes from knowing you are in your safe zone, home, is overwhelming.

Nasilele Ngonda is a Junior Reporter with Youth Journalism International.

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