From Tanzania to the Academy 1969-1983

From Denmark to Tanzania, 1969-1972

December 1968-January 1969: An Escape to Europe

Per Lene and I traveled to Europe via Ethiopia (Addis Ababa and Asmara) and Beirut Lebanon.  I traveled alone to Istanbul, Turkey).

The winter of 1968 was cold.  I arrived in Denmark on December 26, 1968.  Stayed with Lene Larsons family (Hans Jenson) in Oostervang, a small town in outside of Copenhagen. Eric Due, Lene Larson’s brother ran me around the town to pick up odds and ends.  Scandinavia in Winter is dark and cold.

Overnight trip to Oslo, Norway to visit Per and Lene Larsen.  Per worked for Norwegian Peace Corps.

January, 1969.

On January 1, 1969, I arrived at Elsinore, Denmark.  I have a job.  Teaching English as a Second Language for the Danish Volunteer Service, at the International Peoples College.  The program was run by Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke (People to People) a contractor to Danida.

Colleagues included Jorgen Drostrop Anderson, A Danish School Teacher and Roger Anderson, British academic.  Also Kirsten Abramson, Danish instructor. The Director was Jo0rgen Schoovsbro (Wife Lisa).

Taught Six hours a day.  Two in the lab. Two in the class room and two hours of technical language and area studies.

A Vivid memory.  After the first period, a thirty minute break.  Coffee and Toast. Always hungry.

The school had a large number of international students, and many from American semester abroad programs. One of the American girls kept me supplied with Canadian manufactured peanut butter.

The Danish films were very frank.

February.

Met Lene Gaemelke.

March.  Needed to leave Scandinavia to get a Work Permit to stay in Denmark. Trip through East Germany by rail, through East Berlin to the Danish Military Mission in West Berlin.

Heard a song “Obladi-Oblada” which became my image of night life in Copenhagen

April. End of first three month training program. Took the train alone through Germany to Munich via. Frankfurt, Nuremberg, and Heidelberg. Looking for images of war.

June.  Trip through Sweden to Norway with Per and Lene Larsen

Not Ready to Go Home:  June 1969-December 1970

Arrived back in Saginaw after close to four years away (less one visit, Christmas of 19670.

Madison, Wisconsin, August, 1969-May 1970

Completed two years of Graduate School at the University of Wisconsin.  Decided not to stay. Declined a Ford Fellowship in order to return to Denmark.

June 1970-January 1971

Tanzania, January 1971- June 72

June 1971

Danish Volunteers in Zambia and Zambia Area Studies 

(An excerpt from a 1971 trip report). In reading this in 2012 it is more than a bit shallow and sterile). 

            This is a report on a four week study tour of Zambia undertaken on behalf of the Danish Volunteer Service and sponsored by the Danish International Development Agency by Louis A. Picard, instructor at  Danish Volunteer Training Centre, Tengeru, Tanzania.

            Between June 14th of 1971 and July 9th, I undertook a four week study tour of Zambia for the Danish Volunteer Service visiting former volunteers and their work sites.  The purpose of this visit was several fold.  A major purpose of the trip was to familiarize myself with the country in connection with my assumption of responsibility for the Zambia Area Studies program.  In this connection, another purpose was to make contacts with Zambians and expatriates living in Zambia who might be of some assistance in the Zambia orientation program.

During my visit to Zambia a major concern was also an attempt to meet and talk to as many of the Danish volunteers as possible and to familiarize myself with their problems and with the problems of the regional administration in Zambia.  The basic question asked to both the volunteers and the administrators working in Zambia was of course “What suggestions do you have as to the approach taken in the Zambia Area Studies Program?”  A major part of this report will be an attempt to answer this question on the basis of the observations I made and the views of the people I talked to.  In addition, I will attempt to provide some impressions of the country and the major areas I visited and the things I have seen.

A note of caution should be made from the outset of this report.  The duration of time spent in the country was extremely short, between three and four weeks.  Much of the time was spent not “in absorbing Zambia” but in trying to gather source material and interview some 35 or 40 people spread over a country 17 times the size of Denmark.  While I did travel by surface along the line of rail from Livingstone to Ndola much of my travel was done by air.  All of these things point out the danger that my impressions of Zambia might have been distorted.

On the other hand, one of the motivations of this report lies in the fact that I am the first “outsider” (excluding Zambia volunteers and regional administrators), to visit Zambia for the Danish Association for International Cooperation (Mellemfolkeligt  Samvirke,  for any extended period of time. (website: http://www.ms.dk/)

The scope of the journey itself was overwhelming.  Following an initial six days in Lusaka, I flew to Mongu in Western Province for a period of four days.  From Mongu I traveled to Livingstone for a three day stay.  From Livingstone, I returned to Lusaka by bus for an overnight stop before going on to Kabwe by rail (with two to three hour waits for delayed trains both in Lusaka and Kabwa) and then on to Ndola and the copperbelt.  My stay in the copperbelt was broken up by a three day trip to Kasama in Northern Province by air.  On my return to the copperbelt via Ndola I paid brief visits to Luanshya and Kitwe.  After a three day stay in the copperbelt I returned to Lusaka for two days before returning to Arusha.

Before drawing any conclusions from my Zambia study tour it might be worthwhile giving an area by area description of what impressions I had and a summary of some of the conversations I had with Danish volunteers interviewed.  Much of what follows then in a summary of the notes taken at the time.  From time to time direct quotes will be noted in the body of this report.  These are direct quotes from the notes, and paraphrases of what volunteers have said; they cannot, of course be verbatim quotations of what volunteers have said, in all cases.  With regard to these interviews two things should be noted.  Firstly, I shall only attempt to summarize the views of those volunteers I was able to interview in circumstances so that a written record of what they said could be kept.  I met countless other volunteers, both Danish and of other nationalities and of course other expatriates and Zambians from which I gained valuable impressions.  Some of their views will no doubt slip out in the more general section of this report dealing with some of the conclusions drawn from the trip.

Secondly, it should be mentioned that the interviews took place in a variety of settings.  Some were on the job, some in volunteers’ homes and more than one in a pub over a glass of beer.  These factors will of course affect the reliability of some of the interviews and the quality of some of the suggestions given.  Nevertheless, I feel that the views expressed do represent cross sections of opinions of Zambia volunteers on Zambia and the Zambian orientation program.

Lusaka

My first stop in Zambia was of course Lusaka, the capital.  I arrived on the 13th of June and remained there until the 20th.  In Lusaka my time was divided between meeting volunteers at their projects and making contacts at the various ministries. The first impression one gets of Lusaka is the airport and the drive in from the Airport on the great East Road.  For people coming from a two to three month stay in Tengeru the contrast is very striking.  The drive into Lusaka on the great East Road and Church Road to the Hotel Victoria (where volunteers have been staying for the past several courses) exposes the volunteers to the new, modern half of Lusaka (the kind of area photographed in information service films.)  This contrast between Lusaka and Arusha/Tengeru is a major factor in what the Lusaka regional office calls the “Double adjustment” factor.

Lusaka is in many ways a “very big small town” with a para-urban population of approximately 248,000 people it is one of the larger urban units in Black Africa.  Yet, contrasting with this are many unusual “gaps” for a city as large as Lusaka.  All of the major city roads and the main trunk roads in and out of the city are very good tarred thoroughfares.  Contrasted with this is the appalling lack of public transportation.  Except for a few bases which run between the compounds (or townships) and the centre of the city there are effectively no bases in Lusaka.  There are very few taxies and many of those one does find are unlicensed and uninsured.  There seems to be only one stream of metered cabs in the whole of Lusaka.

The physical environment of the people living in Lusaka is at first glance, impressive.  The city is a new modern urban area with new buildings and “very European” residential areas.  The newness of the city no doubt reflects very much the past neglect of Lusaka as a territorial capital under the Federation, when all major offices, public and private were located in Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia.  In looking at the city, one must conclude that bulk of development has taken place in the last 10 to 15 years and that perhaps Lusaka has grown much to fast leaving the serious gaps of which some Lusaka residents complain in the social and cultural fields.

The Federation period seems to have left its mark in other areas as well as far as Lusaka (and much of the rest of Zambia is concerned).  There is much residue segregation left in housing and district zoning and in interpersonal relationships.  The whole concept of “compounds” of African workers is a direct influence from Southern Africa.  The same applies to trading areas with Cairo Road in Lusaka, the first class trading area almost completely (in 1971) foreign owned with the 2nd class trading areas located to the south of the centre of the city in very clearly defined “African areas”.  The government offices and ministries are largely located in the western suburbs.

The slums of Lusaka (and to a certain extent of the other urban areas) are very well concealed to the visitor.  They are in many ways outside of the “keu” of the European resident, and the African and Asian middle classes.  On the other hand housing in the African compounds seems to be on a higher level than any area in East Africa, reflecting the higher standard of living in Zambia.

The economy of the city is to a larger extent than many capitals based upon government which is of course the largest employer.  There is some light industry but much of this seems to have been drained off by the copperbelt needs.  Thus Lusaka is very much a political capital dependent upon the economic capital of the Ndola/Kitwe hub.

There is a certain amount of wholesale and retail trade of the sort that does little more than “supply itself” and perhaps not as completely as many Zambians would like at that since there were at the time I visited Zambia some serious shortages especially with regard to some basic agricultural products.

The educational facilities in Lusaka are both large employers and producers of skilled labour for Lusaka and the rest of the country.  It seems as though between 70-80 percent of the population of Lusaka are currently receiving primary education (perhaps even higher).  There are close to a dozen secondary schools operating in Lusaka of varying quality, although the quality of education will be more uniform as the effect of the abolition of fee paying institutions (1969?) becomes more apparent.

The two most important centres of higher education are the University of Zambia (UNIZA) and the Evelyn Hone College of Further Education.  In both of these institutions the problems of staffing is very acute.  In the case of Evelyn Hone College, with approximately 700 students approximately 85% of the faculty members are expatriates.  In the case of the University with an undergraduate programme of 900 students in its sixth year of operation only between 8 and 10 members of staff out of a total of 250 members are Zambians.

In discussing the situation in Lusaka as in the rest of the country it is important to note the continued dependence upon Southern Africa both with regard to ownership of major business and industry (several INDECO relationships, including the mines and ZOK supermarkets, for example are in effect Zambia government/South African private industry partnerships) and with regard to imports.  South African products are still widely in evidence as to a lesser extent are some Rhodesian products, especially in pharmaceutical products.  South African timed fruits and vegetables are especially in evidence as are South African wines.  South African products are very often cheaper than other competitive products, thus allowing them to compete favorably.  This is also true of much technical equipment.

Most of the South African newspapers, both black and white are readily available in Lusaka.  Many of the smaller shops and hotels are owned by Europeans of Southern African origin.  Telephone lines, the rail use, and the highways (including a luxury bus service from the copperbelt) all connect Lusaka and Zambia to the south.  (Bulawayo, Salisbury, Johannesburg, and Capetown) though direct flights to southern Africa have stopped, it is quite easy to fly via Blantyre, Malawi.

In talking to volunteers and others in Lusaka much is heard of the lack of a cultural life in the area.  The complaint “the copperbelt has it all” is often heard.  The feeling is that it is much more limited in Lusaka than in any of the East African capitals.  There is one first class movie theatre and two second class (and informal segregation patterns seem to be in evidence here.  There are two live theatres, the open air theatre at Chikukwa operated by the University and the Lusaka players, which still is largely an expatriate amateur theatre.  In addition there are occasional Friday evening concerts throughout the city.

For reading, there are two good libraries, the Lusaka municipal library and the University Library.  In addition, there are three “not very good” book stores, Kingstons (a Rhodesian chain) and “The Book Centre” in Lusaka and the University Bookstore which is influx because of the recent university takeover of the store from a private concern.

For many of the volunteers in Zambia, the night life in Lusaka (and much of the rest of the country is very limited).  Most of the bars close very early, often as early as 10:00 in the evening.  There is one attempt at a nightclub, the Woodpecker Inn, and of course the Lusaka Intercontinental Hotel which caters to Zambia’s limited number of tourists.  Some of the nightclubs in the “compounds” are open much later again reflecting a kind of “double standard” of life.

While in Lusaka the amount of time that I had to see and talk to volunteers was limited by the fact that much time was used making contacts in ministries, at the University and with “shopping” for the course.  Nonetheless, it was possible to have extended interviews with eight volunteers at which notes were taken.  A summary of the interviews follows:

Mogens Fischman, Group 16, works in the Computer Centre as an instructor.  Mogens felt that the course as it existed in his time was too long.  He suggested that a shorter main course was needed of between two or three weeks.  He felt that there was an “overemphasis on the behavior type of thing” and on health.

With regard to Area Studies said that the best procedure would be a combination of lectures and student reports, perhaps one for each volunteer.  He felt that the stress should be upon the Economic and Political Development of Zambia.  He liked the idea of making use of outside people, for example the Rhodesian on group 16.

Niels Lauritsen is also an instructor at the computer centre in Lusaka, (Group 21).  Niels felt that the move from Elsinor (Denmark) was not a good thing.  He felt that Tengeru was in many ways “A Volunteer Factory” and that some of the original spirit had been lost.  He would like to see the course moved from Tengeru to Lusaka.  The basic English should be completed before the course begins and that the course should be seven weeks for all.  He feels that Tengeru stressed “living in the bush” far too much as far as the Zambians are concerned, since most of them live in urban or semi-urban situations.  He felt that the training course should encourage people to hitchhike around East and Central Africa as a good orientation.  Stress should be made on the purely professional aspects of the programme, specifically on the Technical English programme.

As far as the Area Studies is concerned he feels that during the short time he was in Tengeru, many “small faces” gave them a great deal of information.  He feels that the idea of having each volunteer prepare a long lecture is a good one as it makes people “dig deeply” into a subject of interest.  In combination with this he feels that the course should show as many films as possible.

I met Karen Thompsen (Group 20) in her home in Lusaka and as school had just finished I didn’t get a chance to see her project.  She is a trained pharmacist teaching at Evelyn Hone College.  She felt very much that she hadn’t been given enough English.  She had asked to be allowed to participate in the language course but had been refused.  She felt that this very much inhibited her work.  She thus stressed that people be given as much English as possible, especially teachers.  Thus she felt that the Area Studies was very much secondary to this.  She felt that her Area Studies teacher (Ray) was worthless to her.  Her feeling was that Area Studies should be an individual activity with each person choosing a report subject of their interest and making either a written or an oral report.

Inge and Bjarne Kaulberg are at present attached to the training course on the Area Studies programme.  Bjarne had worked as a photographer for the Zambian Information Services and Inge had worked as Secretary to RUCOM (Rural Commercial Corporation) in Lusaka.  Though I met with Inge in her office and with both Inge and Bjarne in their home, it might be appropriate to refer the reader to their report, and perhaps to any report they might make of their experience in Tengeru.

I might however briefly summarize the comments made by Inge in the interview I had with her at RUCOM.  She stressed the fact that she felt that people were interested in getting out in the field during the main course.  The Area Studies should thus make them more involved in what they will be doing.  She felt that too full a programme was dangerous.  The students should be involved in the planning of the programme as it develops.  Three things should be stressed, as much as possible:  Films should be used whenever possible.  This would aid in what she felt was the most important aspect of the Area Studies Programme, that is “How People Live”.  Thirdly, she felt that people going to Zambia should know something about the liberation movements in Southern Africa, since in many ways they have an impact on Zambia.

Ole Dahn, (Group 21) who is a printer, was working at a mission print shop, at the time of my interview with him.  He was later transferred and is at the time of this writing working in Kenya.  Since he went through the Tengeru course, however, and worked over a half a year in Zambia his views follow.  Ole was very disappointed with the programme for Zambians.  His views were strong, and harsh.  He commented at length about the fact that “nobody (in Tengeru) knew anything about Zambia.”  The course was not certain about local language.  Some volunteers wanted it some didn’t.  They received, he says, very little.  Extra English might be more appropriate.  He felt the technical English disappointing.  Too much stress on classroom teaching (which he was not doing) and too little material.  He felt that his Area Studies Instructor talked too much about politics and tribalism and did all of the discussion himself.  Instead, he should have had the class participate.  Ole was more interested in the Economy of Zambia and Zambians, specifically “the way the average man gets his money”.

In the Area Studies, Ole said, that they did discuss some inequities.  He also said that one good part of the course was that a volunteer from Rucom (Inge Kaulberg) was brought up for some days and gave them some practical information.  Other than that, Ole concluded, “he got nothing out of the course,” it should be moved to Zambia.

Ole felt that three things had to be stressed in training:  1) the effect of the dry/rainy season on Zambia and its temperature, 2) the difference between the towns and the rural areas, and 3) the effect (culture shock) one feels on first seeing the airport, and the modern city of Lusaka (after three months in Tengeru).

Grethe Anderson (Group 13) has been in Zambia almost three years.  She is a Laboratory Assistant in the Nutrition Project at the University of Zambia (U.N.Z.A.).  She feels that the Area Studies programme is very dependent upon the project that you have.  This makes a great deal of difference.  The greatest problem during his course was that they never got started.  The whole time was spent discussing what they should do.  She has felt very much that a local language is necessary and should be on the programme.

With regard to the Area Studies programme, she says “Let people decide for themselves what they would like to do.”  “Don’t make assignments, let people read about what they are interested in.”

Sten  Thorgensen is an instructor at mathematics in the computer department at the University of Zambia (U.N.Z.A.).  His programme was rather special, as he was the only volunteer for Zambia on the training course.  His programme was one of self study.  He felt that his programme was very useful; he had plenty of time to read about Zambia.  He said “I was not surprised about anything.”  He felt that he had gotten a pretty good idea about the country.  He suggests that any programme should be more of a study session than anything else.  He comments, “Don’t teach, but discuss.”

Sten has one suggestion; that we keep in contact with an organization called “Africa 2000.”  This group has created a newsletter called News From Zambia.  Several volunteers, including him, were participants.  The idea behind the newsletter was to summarize and supplement the newspapers.  He has agreed to keep us supplied with this periodical.

Mongu

I flew from Lusaka to Mongu on June 21, via Kaoma.  I stayed in Mongu four days from the 21st to the 24th.  During that time I was able to see the projects of all of the volunteers stationed in and around Mongu.

Mongu is the district capital of Western province (formerly Barotseland).  Mongu has a population of approximately 10,000 people, located on the edge of the Zambezi flood plain about 150 miles from the Angola border.  In physical appearance, Mongu is a town of dust and sand, scrub vegetation with some forestation.  The community is often heard that if it were not for the Zambezi River the whole of Western province would be part of the Kalahari Desert.

The population, being traditionally pastoral, does very little subsistence farming.  Among the crops produced are cassava, sweet potatoes, a bit of maize, and “the occasional odd person growing some fresh vegetables”.

Madison, Wisconsin, August, 1972-November, 1974

Southern And Eastern Africa, 1974-1976

London, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Gaborone, Botswana 1975

During the calendar year 1975, I carried out field research in London, Botswana and Tanzania for my PhD dissertation financed by a dissertation Fulbright.  The focus was district administration and local government in Eastern and Southern Africa.  Tanzania and Botswana were my two case studies. Money was tight and my research diary for 1975 is filled with notations about the cost of gasoline, food, and other basic goods.  Lene and I were together for the whole trip.  It was a difficult year.

London, England, December, 1974-January, 1975

Six Weeks at the Salisbury Hotel, Templeton Place, Earl’s Court.  Research in the Public Records Office, Chancery Lane. A Dickensian experience.  The Hotel was dim, dingy and full of alcohol fueled Australians.  The PRP was a delight to do research in.

Tanzania, February, 1975

Botswana, March-August, 1975

Tanzania, September-December, 1975

September 12

We left Gaborone, Botswana for a one month trip to East Africa via South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Zambia.

September 15

Zeerust, South Africa

September 16

Johannesburg

September 16

Johannesburg and Leslie, South Africa.

Flat tire.  Had to buy a new one. Purchased, blankets, utensils, a lock and chain and food.  We camped the whole trip.

September 17

Mbabane, Swaziland.  We had to push the car across the border as it broke down just on the South African side.

September 18

Major repair work on engine of car.

Kruger National Park

September 19

Manzani and Tzazin.

We tried to get into the newly independent Mozambique but were turned back at the border.

September 20

Messina, South Africa.  Crossed the border into Rhodesia. Received visas on a brown piece of  cardboard.

September 21

Bulawayo, Rhodesia

September 21

Wankie, Rhodesia

September 23

Livingston, Zambia: Crossed the border from Rhodesia via Kazangulu ferry.

Mazabuka

September 24

Lusaka

September 25-26

Traveled to Kabwe, Kapiri-Mposhi, Serenji and Mpeka.

Little did we know it but the secret war in Angola began that August.  We did sense a great deal of disturbance while we were in Zambia

October 28.  

First day of interviews in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

November 12

Outpatient at Aga Khan Hospital in Dar. EKG. Fortunately it was negative.

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