A 2016 reception at a private home for the Honorable Inonge Mutukwa Wina, the first female vice president of Zambia and member of the AME Church, resulted in a partnership to improve the living conditions for Zambian women and enriched the lives of members of First AME Church of Los Angeles (FAME) and friends, who recently visited the country.
The reception, organized by FAME member and Attorney Zna Portlock Houston, was hosted by FAME members Drs. Ludlow and Ruth Creary in their Hollywood Hills home.
According to Pastor J. Edgar Boyd, senior minister of FAME, who attended the event, “The vice president laid out her vision for establishing points of economic opportunity for women through constructing safe, clean, and convenient marketplace retail centers where they can sell fresh produce and other retail items to support their families.”
As a result, Pastor Boyd offered his support and asked Houston to serve as lead coordinator of a trip from Los Angeles to Zambia.
The excursion, called Journey to Jubilee (J to J), included 36 FAME congregants and three guests, with three teenagers and adults of all ages.
Pastor Boyd said, “J to J members paid for the drilling and erection of three new freshwater wells at a total cost of $15,000 U.S. dollars. Once completed, thousands of residents will be able to take advantage of clean, safe water for agriculture, animals, personal hygiene, cooking and laundry.”
The group’s donation of approximately 500 pounds of school and health care products and supplies for families in West/Central Zambian villages supported the entrepreneurial vision of V.P. Wina.
One of the group’s outings included a trip to the well-drilling site in Mulupusho. On that day, the group, along with the Honorable Sydney Mushanga, Member of Parliament, and Gladys Mutukwa, chairwoman of Jubilee Women’s Integrated Highway Markets, participated in the dedication of the well and helped erect signage bearing FAME’s name.
One of the highlights of the trip was a visit to the Zambian Parliament at the invitation of Vice President Wina. The delegation listened as Members of Parliament grilled Wina on various issues.
“What an honor for the vice president to invite the FAME delegation to visit Parliament,” said Nicole Jones. “Experiencing such a regal setting and ceremonial occasion was an amazing opportunity. Watching many women leaders in action, especially Vice President Wina, was truly phenomenal and inspiring.”
The group attended worship services at three AME churches: Mount Olive in Livingstone on the fourth Sunday and Ebenezer and Bethel, both in Lusaka, on the first Sunday.
Geraldine Hayes, a FAME Stewardess, said the worship experiences were very moving. “The bond between the church in Africa and the church in the U.S. is tremendous. The services were the same as those to which we are accustomed. It was a humbling experience and I was honored to join the Stewardesses of Ebenezer in serving Holy Communion on the first Sunday.”
The participants completed more than 600 miles of ground travel while in Zambia, visiting cities and rural villages, marketplaces and large retail establishments, and governmental complexes, including parliament and the U.S. Embassy. They also cruised the Zambezi River and experienced the spectacular sights and sounds of one of the wonders of the world, Victoria Falls in Livingstone.
“Dynamic work sessions, including a capacity-building workshop organized by the Jubilee Women’s Integrated Highway Markets, strengthened our bond with the Zambian women and allowed us to better understand their economic and social goals,” said FAME’s First Lady Florence. “I look forward to continuing our discussions and returning to Zambia in 2020.”
“I am so grateful to have had the assistance of Francesca Kay, Nyambo Anuluoha, and Gladys Mutukwa, chairwoman of Jubilee Women’s Integrated Highway Markets, her team as well as our liaison, Glenda Wina, in coordinating the trip,” said Houston.