This year, Our Welcome to Zambia program took place from the 18th of August to the 29th of September 2014. Eleven participants took part in it: six students of the Missionaries of Africa who are appointed to Zambia for two years of pastoral experience in parishes; two Comboni sisters who have been working in Zambia for some time; a Fidei Donum priest from Poland who has just taken up an appointment in the Catholic Diocese of Kabwe; and a couple from the USA.
The 6 Missionaries of Africa students were staying at the Fenza hostel which was built last year for the purpose of providing accommodation to people who attend our courses; the others were commuting to FENZA.
The course covered the history of Zambia, its present political, economic and religious situation. Other topics dealt with cultural and social issues that are specific to Zambia such as some codes of behaviour, funerals in Zambia, Initiation rites, chieftaincy, Homeless children, HIV/AIDS etc.
A novelty was introduced this year: an input on intercultural communication has been added to the program. It aimed at helping the participants to mitigate the cultural shocks they might experience and how to communicate in a culture that is not theirs.
The speakers were the staff of FENZA and mostly invited professionals and experts in the topics covered. They enthusiastically came to share insights with the participants to help them deepen their knowledge and appreciate better the dynamics of life in Zambia.
The active participation of the attendants and eagerness to learn more about Zambia was very encouraging. With the updated insightful presentations from the speakers, and the chance to encounter and interact with different people, the program has been successful.