Mariah Chibinda, Champion Agent Kapiri-Mposhi

Here are a few photos from my recent road-trip up to the Copperbelt, the northern Zambian province with (you guessed it) a lot of copper mines. And copper related industry.

On the way to the Copperbelt is Kapiri-Mposhi a mostly unremarkable stop, except for the Tanzania-Zambia railway that originates there. As of May it’s a bit more remarkable, at least for MTZ, because it’s the location of our latest Champion Agent.

This Champion, Mariah Chibinda, is young, tall, fashionably dressed, and most often concealing her large smile with characteristic seriousness. She began just weeks ago as our Agent in Kapiri after passing our training course in Lusaka.

Kapiri is nothing like Lusaka. It’s a one street town, a truck stop and weigh scale in between the capital and the Copperbelt. Moving to Kapiri for someone like Mariah is trading in friends, nightlife and urban hustle-bustle for farming shops, highway dust, and cat calls from a throng of newly energized suitors. Yet she has made the move with consummate grace and much work ethic, like so many of our young Champion Agents. City life exchanged for a micro-franchise in a foreign town.

I wonder if Mariah and our other Champions are just really pressed for a job, or if they truly think they can make their shop into something special, maybe even something lucrative. I hope it’s the latter; in fact it’s my job to make it the latter. For Mariah, I must make her hardwork worth a good and steadily growing monthly wage, get her pocket money enough to have a regular weekend away with friends in Lusaka or the Copperbelt. We can’t run a business that relies on saint-like austerity from our Agents just to break even.

We need to make Mariah into a markedly successful shop manager in this otherwise unremarkable truck-stop town.

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About Graham Lettner

My wife and I recently moved from Zambia back home to Alberta. I'm lucky to have been asked to be a guest blogger for the Localize Project. I love writing stories, and when the subject is food -- something that connects us to the planet and to each other -- the stories are endless.
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One Response to Mariah Chibinda, Champion Agent Kapiri-Mposhi

  1. Colleen says:

    Thanks for sharing Graham. It’s always good to hear about the people that you work with. In this case, about a lovely lady. So what made Mariah want to go to Kapiri?

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