The Elizabeth Bowers Memorial Library Dedication Celebration

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Lumwana West
NW Province, Zambia
July 9TH, 2009

THE HANDOVER OF THE ELIZABETH BOWERS MEMORIAL LIBRARY AT LUMWANA WEST - 9TH JULY, 2009

PROGRAMME

  • 10:00 HOURS ARRIVAL OF ALL INVITED GUESTS
  • 10:05 NATIONAL ANTHEM
  • 10:25 INTRODUCTION THE DEBS (DISTRICT EDUCATION BOARD SECRETARY)
  • 10:45 WELCOMING REMARKS THE DEBS
  • 11:15 POEM/SONG BETH’S GIRLS
  • 11:35 OPENING REMARKS THE PEO (PROVINCIAL EDUCATION OFFICER)
  • 11:55 DANCE/SONGS BETH’S GIRLS
  • 12:15 SPEECH BY GUEST OF HONOR THE DC (DISTRICT COMMISSIONER)
  • 12:35 SONG/DANCE BETH’S GIRLS
  • 13:05 SPEECH BY BOWERS FAMILY - HANDOVER OF THE LIBRARY
  • 13:15 POEM/SKETCH BETH’S GIRLS
  • 13:30 WORD FROM AREA MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT
  • 13:50 WORDS OF APPRECIATION HIS HIGHNESS
  • 13:55 PRAYER

Zambia National Anthem

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Stand and sing of Zambia, proud and free,
Land of work and joy in unity,
Victors in the struggle for the right,
We have won freedom’s fight.
All one, strong and free.

Africa is our own motherland,
Fashion’d with and blessed by God’s good hand,
Let us all her people join as one,
Brothers under the sun.
All one, strong and free.

One land and one nation is our cry.
Dignity and peace ‘neath Zambia’s sky.
Like our noble eagle in its flight.
Zambia, praise to thee.
All one, strong and free.

CHORUS

(Sung After Third Verse Only)

Praise be to God.
Praise be, praise be, praise be,
Bless our great nation,
Zambia, Zambia, Zambia.
Free men we stand
Under the flag of our land.
All one, strong and free.

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District Education Board Secretary Maseka Dorothy’s Speech at Lumwana West Basic School

Opening Speech at the Opening of the Elizabeth Bowers Memorial Fund

(Presented by Njolomba Mbongo, Headmaster, Lumwana West Basic School)

In the first place, we are greatly honoured and overwhelmed by the presence of all these very important visitors and parents who have come from both within and outside Zambia. Without any doubts in our minds, we can declare that we are a blessed community.

Let me remind our honoured guests that the unity that we are witnessing today has been made possible by the vision of the late Elizabeth Rachael Bowers. She was one of our American Peace Corps Volunteers here in Lumwana West. Before she could realize this dream, she had a tragic accident that led to her death in 2002. However, her parents, Gerry and Linda, did not want her dream to die. They continued where their daughter had ended. In this regard, may I call for all of us to observe a moment of silence for this heroine.

*Note: At this precise moment a wind swept through the village for the exact duration of the moment of silence. Beth’s presence was tangible.

After the demise of their daughter, the Bowers family then formed an American non-profitmaking NGO which is called the Elizabeth Bowers Zambia Education Fund (EBZEF). This organization supports the Lumwana community through the sponsorship of our girls’ education and also in infrastructure development like the library that we are opening today. From deep down in our hearts, we sincerely thank the Bowers family and the EBZEF for all the support that they are wholeheartedly giving us.

As a community, we are working very hard in order for all this support not to be wasted for nothing. This is evidenced in all the work that the community has put in order for this library and the librarian’s house to materialize. We are also very happy to state that amongst our girls that are being sponsored, there are some who have reached college levels and even one who has already graduated at diploma level.

The idea of the library was born when the Bowers family realized that the reading levels of our community were very low. This was hindering the academic progress of our children and also the development of the rest of the community. In conjunction with the American Peace Corps Organization, World Vision Zambia, the Lumwana community, and under the direction of our District Education Board, the construction of the Library was started in 2006. It was an uphill battle because it was built by using local laborers, and materials like bricks, stones, sand and water had to be provided by people who were not using trucks but their own heads to carry these heavy materials. Despite all these limitations, we are proud that it is now completed and the EBZEF has fully stocked it with books that can proudly compete with any major libraries that are in any of the bigger cities of Zambia.

I will also mention it that our sponsors have assisted us with the library and the books but there are many other things like computers, solar power, printers, and many other things that are needed for the library to run properly. Another issue is that most of the books that have come are the universal type. We are now lacking books from within our own country, especially those within our curriculum which will be used directly by our pupils.

Even when we say that we are opening the library, we do not have a librarian to run it. It may take some more time before its services are available to the general public.

Taking all that I have said into consideration, we are humbly appealing to our Ministry of Education, the donor community, our political leaders, our local business community, former Lumwana students, and all interested parties to come on board and assist us.

In concluding, we shall not get tired of thanking the Bowers family for what they are doing for us. We also thank all our distinguished guests for being with us. We are also thanking in advance all those who will join us in this cause. Thank you very much.

Presentation by Area Councilor Kachacha

However, fortunate as we are in having this library, we are handicapped as a community because the highest education that has been made available to us ever since independence is only up to grade 9. For us, the nearest High School facilities are over 90 Kilometres away in Mwinilunga town. Unlike the children in most parts of Mwinilunga West, our children here have been cut off from higher education. Without the High School here, this wonderful library may remain to be a white elephant.

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The Provincial Education Officer Speech during the Handover of the Elizabeth Bowers Memorial Library at Lumwana West

The Senior Chief Sai’lunga
The Members of Parliament
The Provincial Librarian
The District Education Board Secretary
The Bowers Family
The Heads of Department
The Village Headmen
All Protocol Observed
Ladies and Gentlemen

I feel honoured to be part of this special gathering that is putting a landmark in the development of this area in general and education in particular.

Ladies and gentlemen. I must hasten to quickly give you a glimpse of the beauty of knowledge carefully tucked and preserved in the pages of a book.

It has the latent power of being preserved for a long time. It can also be passed on in its original form without distortion. It can be referred to anytime while the tenets of various technological advancements can be portrayed as they were conceived by the patriarchs only needing improvement. Many generations can benefit from the discoveries and innovations while holding in high esteem the knowledge passed on to them.

The performance of our children will largely depend on the richness of their information source. This is an information centre that is so rich for both the in school and out of school. Those desiring to do well will find this establishment not only captivating but also fulfilling in the pursuit of high heights.

Education is not a stand alone enterprise but depends on other supporting bodies for it to grow, be nurtured and passed on from one generation to the next. This relationship can be described as the book, the child and the teacher relationship.

No school has stood without a book; no college without teachers and no university without a library. This is what gives education the clothes to wear, power to deliver, eloquency in debate, advancement in technology to mention but a few.

The library we see today is one that has been constructed in memory of Elizabeth Bowers a Peace Corp Volunteer from America who came to serve this community and died in the call of duty.

It has been constructed with her in mind and all the books and donations speak volumes of how the family feels about their daughter’s being part of the community and also her relationship she created while she lived.

The Elizabeth Bowers Zambia Education Fund has been instrumental in encouraging the girl child to aspire for great heights in education. It has sponsored a number of our girls currently at Mwinilunga High School and also those lucky few at Mukinge Girls School from this very community.

There can be no protea seed sown greater than re-aligning their objectives with the national policy if all of us, the government, ministry of education, donors and our society, can achieve the necessary change in the lives of children in a competitive world.

I must remind you ladies and gentlemen that the provision of this library is a step forward in addressing the low reading levels that can account for the province’s dismal performance at various examinable levels.

It serves as an icon in the missing jewel of lengthy sought after solutions of improving our schools. Many people in the province and district will benefit from this facility.

I wish to thank the Bowers on behalf of the Ministry of Education for this well thought gesture and also implore the community to look after this facility with all it takes.

As it is not my show, may I invite the District Commissioner to deliver his opening speech.

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District Commissioner Samakesa Webby’s Speech during the Handover of the Elizabeth Bowers Memorial Library at Lumwana West

The Senior Chief Sai’lunga
The Members of Parliament
The Provincial Education Officer
The Provincial Librarian
The District Education Board Secretary
The Bowers and Family
The Heads of Departments
The Village Headmen
All Protocol Observed

Ladies and Gentlemen

I am greatly priviledged to officiate at the handout of the important educational bank of knowledge to the Lumwana community and the district at large.

The establishment seen before us today takes us back memory lane to the year Zambia received American Peace Corp volunteers to serve in various communities sharing their knowledge, lives and expertise.

The volunteers, ladies and gentlemen, did not choose to serve the Zambians in urban places only but willingly decided to come and be part of communities like Lumwana West and most importantly so to live among its people.

They left much of their elaborate and elegant lives most of them to experience the kind of social existence that most of our people are living. In short, they lived with us, ate with us, laughed with us and also learned the rudiments of our language and culture in the two years they are given.

It is this life and love of the American people that brought Elizabeth Bowers to Lumwana West to serve and rub her life as though she were a carbon paper on those she served. And, as fate would have it, Elizabeth met with her untimely death as it were riding her bicycle in the course of duty cutting short all that the community would have learnt from her.

I am aware of the efforts that were put in place to save her life, but unfortunately she passed on even in the presence of such medical facilities as those in South Africa.

All who knew her received her death with grief, and we, together with those who were close to her, were robbed of a role model in society.

I must remind you here ladies and gentlemen that this one life made the connection. Which led to the establishment of the Elizabeth Bowers Zambia Education Fund. This fund specifically took upon its objectives the furtherance of girls education in the community from grade 8 onwards.

The EBZEF sponsorship has seen a number of children mostly girls enter secondary school and some to completion and further education like the case of Mary Lundeba and Prudence Masanyinga to mention but a few.

The trust fund in the bid to make her memories live on have gone an extra mile in building and stocking a library so that others to come will carry on the vision of caring.

This memorial library has a lot of books that will help encourage many to improve their education. It apparently stands as one of the biggest in the entire province. A gesture we are so grateful to the Bowers family.

This facility will not only cater for those in Lumwana but those also far away who may come and research from here. It will not only cater for those living now but for posterity.

We as government are thankful for such a contribution as it will go a long way in equipping our citizenry with the knowledge they require in their various fields.

Allow me also to stress the fact that such a contribution to society must not only be received with gratitude but also guarded jealously so that it can serve the purpose.

The books that are in the library go beyond grade 9 most of them, and I hope that this is the prelude to the provision of senior education in this community.

Such a facility would not have come at an opportune time than this when the call for improved results is being sounded and North Western as a province is already showing positive strides towards improvement. This is investment in children’s future and needs to be commended by us all.

With these remark I now declare the Handover Ceremony officially open.

I thank you.

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Speech for the Hon Member of Parliament, Katuka Steven, from Mwinilunga East Constituency

The Provincial Education Officer
District Commissioner
Donors for Berth Girls
World Vision ADP Management
DEBS Office
Heads of Govt Depts
All invited guests
Ladies and Gentlemen

It is my honour and priviledge to speak to you this morning on an important occasion like this one.

Allow me to inform you that your Member of Parliament for this constituency was supposed to be with us at this important function, but due to other national duties he is performing, he is unable to do so. Otherwise, he sent his message so that I can deliver it to you the people of Lumwana West, and the district in general.

Your Member of Parliament is greatly humbled by the good gesture extended to our community by Berth Girls in conjunction with World Vision-Mwinilunga ADP.

Your Member of Parliament said that the community of Lumwana West should begin to see the importance of such gestures because there are so many roles this library will play.

One prevailing example is the performance of our boys and girls in this province which has been very poor, whose attribute could even be lack of learning materials such as books.

By the donors of Berth Girls putting up a library in Lumwana, we are sure that the performance of our boys and girls in Lumwana and the district as a whole is likely to improve.

Therefore our parents, boys and girls as well as teachers should guard this property jealously as their own.

The community must know that a library is an important tool in the provision of good education. Not only that, but also an important tool to attainment of good and better education.

Through reading, our boys and girls will acquire wider knowledge necessary for their development.

Instead of our boys and girls just moving aimlessly in the streets and being involved in bad vices, they should make use of this library.

Again the library in itself may not be enough. Therefore the community together with the teachers should work hard to acquire other facilities such as internet and many more that are lacking.

Those that are going to benefit from this library facility should also plough back in one way or the other in order to develop this facility.

With these few remarks, on behalf of the Member of Parliament, I am once more humbled and wish to take this rare opportunity to thank the donors and organizers of this event.

I say thank you.

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Gerry Bower’s Bowers Library Dedication Speech

I want to say special greetings to the Beth’s Girls. When the Beth’s Girls marched to our meeting today, they were singing a song “We are Marching in the Light of God.” “We are marching in the Light of God.”

When you go to the Library, you will see Elizabeth Bowers smiling at you. You will see her in a graduation gown from the day when she graduated from college. Although my daughter has died, she is with me in spirit, and she is with you in spirit.

She came to Zambia to share her education with you. Now she does that through the Scholarship Fund and through the Library. She is with you through the leadership of Mr. Njolomba and Linda Bowers.

We are very gratified by the Ministry of Education’s support for the Library. We know that the Library will be protected and valued. Now it is up to you to make good use of this Library.

Education is not easy, but it is the answer to many of our problems. When you educate yourself, you are with Beth’s spirit. You are “Marching in the Light of God.” Thank you.

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Linda’s Bowers Library Dedication Speech

Beth had a dream. She had a dream of global peace and understanding. That is what brought Beth to Zambia. When she died, her dream passed to us. And that’s why we have come to Zambia.

Our daughter has taught us much. And now our Zambian daughters must teach your families much. The village of Lumwana West has a dream. You want to have a secondary school in your village so everyone can get an education. The Library is a step forward in that direction.

Gerry and I have a dream. And that dream is to bring literacy to Lumwana West. But dreams take hard work to come true. And we could not do this by ourselves. We have wonderful partners. There is the Peace Corps. This was a Peace Corps Partnership Program. And we must acknowledge those who are not here who helped to build the library.

Peace Corps Volunteer Bob Wilder, Peace Corps Volunteer Jessica Hillsley, Cindy Threlkeld, who was Country Director, and Jody Olson who is the Deputy Director of the whole Peace Corps. We are very happy to have representatives with us today, Brother Mizhi Kakoma and Stevie Greenwell. Stevie is a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mfumbwe. She came with us to celebrate.

And we have wonderful partners from World Vision who help us to administer the scholarship. We have a representative from World Vision here today, Esther Nkumbwa Mweene, Mwinilunga ADP Manager. We have many partners such as the Nakana Lions Club in Kitwe for help with the eyes of Beth’s Girls... But our best partners are the people from Lumwana West. You built this wonderful Library. And you built those beautiful tables and chairs.

This will be a library which will help Beth’s Girls to become leaders in the community. But it will also help everyone in the community learn to read. If you can read, you can do anything. You can educate yourself. So people who did not pass your high school exams when you were young, you can come back and use the library, and you can pass them now.

And so the Library is a gift to you, to the Lumwana West community, from Beth. We want to present the keys of the Library to Mr. Njolomba without whom this could never have happened. And we want to thank High Chief Sai’lunga without whom this could never have happened.

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Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

High Chief Sai’ Lunga’s Library Dedication Speech

In the first place, I really appreciate what has happened. But, before I go any further, I would like to see Mr. and Mrs. Bowers here in front.

[Translator: No one can touch the High Chief. But because of the great things you have done for the Lumwana community, he’s asking the community to allow him now to greet you, to shake your hands.]

May God bless you and be with you all the time. Do not forget us. Please, always be with us. We shall also not forget you. Because of the time, I thought it would be in my house.

These people lost their child but they keep on doing these things for us out here. And this is a problem. We have not given them anything, but they have continued providing and giving us things. I am urging them to continue assisting us, and they have agreed that they will continue assisting us and not forget us.

I do not have many words, but there are just a few words that I want to leave with you Lumwana people. In English we talk of vandalism. Lumwana people you must really appreciate for these things that are taking place in your village. And you must go ask for forgiveness, and you should actually look at me as an example.

The government of this country is very merciful. They have provided a way through which the American volunteers come to be with us and assist us in the ways that they are able to. In their country the volunteers do not have mosquitoes. But they have agreed that “Let me go to Lumwana. Let me be bitten by the mosquitoes.”

We should never forget the life of Beth Bowers. We should pray that “Let God keep her spirit in peace.” Let us all pray very much that the Lord keeps and protects Beth Bowers’ family. They have come all the way from the states. Let us all pray that God keeps them well.

Verse 14 in the Bible on the wedding at Canaan actually emphasizes on greetings that are the gift of love.

We should also love this friend of ours who has brought such beautiful things to us. There are no riches that surpass education. I’m telling you those people who are learned, they know whatever problems are happening they will know what they are going to eat today. They will know what they are going to eat tomorrow.

For us who are not really educated we do not even know what may be coming and we shall just bump together and not know exactly where to get the food. Tomorrow we may have diarrhea. Because I have eaten things that are not good, I have had diarrhea.

I’m urging all of you to be learned because this thing has come to cure that problem of illiteracy so that even your life may be improved. Those who have vandalistic ideas, those that are thieves, I’m actually urging that you should not even stay in my kingdom. You should move away from here.

Let those that are here and are helping us to teach our children do their job so that our children will have a better future and we will have a better Zambia. For the good policies which allow donors to come freely and assist us, we must really thank the government.