Dear Africana Woman and Man,
Hey Babes. I think I should call this the Chronicles of a Small Town. Before I get into it though, how are you? You good? How has the week been? Listen it’s even a new month. Like how? This year looks like it will fly by.
Okay where to start from. The show I am producing on KNC Radio premiered last week 26 January, 2022. It’s so weird to hear myself on radio. I have also recorded a couple adverts or show intros. You know I would be randomly driving and then my voice comes on and it’s strange. But yoh! Can we just talk about how my audio editing skills are improving. There were things I never dared to do that I now had the courage to try and I was so chuffed with myself. You don’t even know.
Then we continue to have beautiful events at KuMushi Garden. I always imagined as family spending quality time in the garden. You know the kids running around. Having so much space to use up all their energy. The parents playing games with the kids. The braai with all the good foods you can imagine. In my mind it was my family that had those moments. Katwishi nangu ni bututu olo shani but they have not taken up the invitation. But you know what, it really is a joy to get to open the space up to other families. I love seeing families create memories. I love orchestrating moments where families make real connections that are not centred around a device or screen. It’s really magical to witness. And maybe one day I won’t be a spectator but a participator.
There is something to be said about a compass. You know when you dive into what is your life, sometimes you can get lost in the business, in the opportunities, in the attention or praise. I was feeling like that earlier this week. Like wait a moment, where exactly am I going with all of this and what exactly am I supposed to be doing? And I mulled over it for two days just direction less. And then as I was meditating it occurred to me that I had a compass, called my Goals for 2022. In January, I had taken time to write down my vision for 2022. I had written my SMART goals in the different Gardens of my life. I had written down deadlines and my why. So I did not have to be lost. All I had to do was pull out my 2022 Goals and recenter myself, recalibrate, realign. Remove the things that were not fitting into the bigger picture. A big problem I have is shiny object syndrome. I love new things, namely projects. So I have to be very intentional about saying, "No Ma'am, you cannot start a new project. We already have ALLLLL this to work on." Anyway, what I am trying to say is that I hope you have a compass in your life, which you can look at when you are feeling lost.
Then my son went back to school. It’s great that he is getting an education. BUT he is also the chef in this house. My mother knows me so well. She said to me the other day, “Chulu are you even eating?” To which I had to sheepishly admit that I had popcorn and pineapple for dinner the night before. HAHAHAHA. Ala I am a lost cause. I literally cook once a week and it better last the whole week because friend, I just cyant. Then you know the day I dropped him at school and I got home, it actually hit me that I have never spent time alone for an extended period at KuMushi Garden. My son is always there. I can hear him watching something, messing around in the kitchen, laughing on the phone. This time I am by my self in this big house. I don’t know why it feels different than when I was at my flat in Lusaka. I guess the flat was smaller and the neighbours felt near. Chaaal I spend majority of my time in the east wing, I don’t know whats happening in the west wing. Strange sounds penetrate the darkness manje I am not muzungu so it’s not in my DNA to investigate. I just pretend it didn’t happen. So far that strategy has been working well for me. It is a little eerie living alone and will take some time adjusting to.
Let’s take a moment to talk about finding employees. You know my Zambian friends abroad (I love you) they have this fantasised notion that finding good help in Zambia is easy. They are like, "There are plenty of people who need jobs, just get some one and that’s it. Finish you are sorted." There is me looking at them like REERRY. Exhibit A. At the beginning of the week I started telling my gardener about a booking for a party, which meant that he needed to come in earlier to help with set up neh. We are talking about it for days. Even the day before, when he was knocking off I reminded him. Ati, I will be here. Oho okay jazz. Day of the event. This person is a no show but the show must go on. I pitched tents my $#@* self, lifted the tables, set up the chairs MYSELF. Ninshi the owners of the party are talking about we want to start at 11am and by 10:15 there was still a ton to do. This man rolls into the yard at 11:30am ati I couldn’t come because of the rains. Dear friend we actually live in the same area. I don’t know how a nimbus cloud flew over to just his house and sat there for 5 hours. But wait for it, it gets better, he then says to me, “Madam, napa wama pano. Ala nayi wama sana (this place is looking nice)’’ ….My eye is still twitching. Let me tell you being a leader mu Africa requires a special kind of patience. Because as much as you want to hurl a chair at them, you can’t. You still need them and you just have to take the punches as they come and keep it moving.
EXHIBIT B okay this is not malicious but its funny and devastating at the same time. So the owners of the party asked me for basins where they could put the ice and cool the drinks. We gave them a couple. The leader instructed her team to put the ice and drinks in the basins. When she came to check on them she found them opening the beer bottles and pouring it into the basins. That was how they interpreted the instructions. By the time she found them they had emptied 2 six packs of different beers. Ati, we thought you were making a punch. AAAAAAHHHH She was in shocko for a while. Again, my friends abroad are so cute. They are right though, help is easy to find, manje the quality is where you will get a migraine.
Understand that these are people who have been in a school system that does not teach creative thinking or multiple ways to solve a problem. That means that they have to be instructed exactly what to do. Most likely you have to micro manage a lot. This is because our schools teach our children to be factory workers, that is, to do the same thing over and over again in the exact way that they have been taught. That’s what they know. As an employer or leader, micro managing is not the ideal situation at all. Therefore, you have to play a fine balance between teaching your team to be creative, empower them to solve problems independently whilst carrying them along for some time. It takes a while. You want to get to a point where you can tell someone what to do, and let them figure out how to do it within a certain framework. Ideally in your team you want a mix of the muscle, creative types, problem solvers, strategic thinkers and inspirational leaders. The problem we face in our country is that there is plenty of muscle but the rest are a minority, therefore more challenging to come by. I mean as an employer, what has your experience been with this. Please let me know in the comment section. Let’s share ideas.
So yeah, this week has been colourful. Never a shortage of stories to tell. Sweetheart are you new here? Welcome to the family. Make sure you subscribe so as you get this love letter right in your inbox every week. Sis, Bro you know I love you so much for kicking it with me till now. Remember Africana Woman has a Blog, Podcast and Visionary community. Do explore. You can catch me on Instagram