All work and no play? Well no, not really. This is Jane and I cautiously celebrating at the end of a very exciting week which culminated, this lunchtime, in a meeting with Chibamba Kanyama, the Corporate Affairs Director of Zambian Breweries. Zambian Breweries are a subsidiary of SABMiller who bottle Coca-Cola in Zambia.
Chibamba was a delight to talk with and is a public figure here. As well as his role with SABMiller, amongst other things, he is an ambassador for young people and enterprise. He writes a column for one of the national dailies and has just published a book on Business Values.
A lot depended on this meeting and so Jane and I were very nervous. A trial of ColaLife would never work without the support of the local bottler. Anyway, we needn’t have worried. Chibamba was very interested in taking things to the next stage especially given the partners we had talked to over the last week.
Of course, from Chibamba’s perspective this meeting would have been the final step after checking back with Coca-Cola at global level and with SABMiller HQ that the right procedures had been followed and everyone was happy. So we are very grateful to those who have worked in the background to make all this happen.
Switching to the common interest mode . . . . the picture above was taken by the pool of the house we are staying in. As you can see, I forgot to pack my shorts! The house belongs to ‘The Pearsons’ who worked on a sister project to the one I worked on, in Mpika, 20-25 years ago. They have lived in Zambia every since. When they heard we were coming, they offered their house and car even though they are not here – hugely generous. We are most grateful. Below, under the chair is their fierce guardian: Mr Dog. Such is his reputation for terrorising visitors that our hosts were going to kennel him during our stay. As you can see, he is petrifying.
Tomorrow we are completely switching off. We are going to visit another expatriate Mpika colleague who never left. Dutch Gibson now farms here and promotes the concept of ‘Conservation Farming’. The farm is 50km north of Lusaka and we will be spending the day there with him and his partner Barbara. This will be the perfect way to set us up for the week ahead.