Timber Plantations or the Girl Childs Safety
In a province that was once dominated by mines and produced a good percentage of copper to export to various parts of the world, now lies in ruins as it slowly tries to rebuild its economic stability.
One of the many solutions is the growing of Timber as proposed by the Ministry of Tourism under its Forestry Department. ZAMBIA Forestry and Forest Industries Corporation (ZAFFICO), located on the Copperbelt Province, ZAFFICO is involved in the establishment and maintenance of timber plantations and the harvesting and marketing of mature timber.
Success of the Zambia Forestry and Forest Industries is the talk of the town when the rich sit to discuss their fat pays and great achievements of the overworked plantation workers (commonly known as ba gwebaa), a name they hate to be called by. Most of them women wake up right before dawn to go and prepare the million seedlings for the plantations.
In the scorching sun they struggle and break their backs to reach their daily targets for a very minimal reward. What motivates most of these women to work even harder is way beyond disheartening. They strive hard to raise enough funds in order for them to survive and send their daughters to boarding schools because they seem to be safer in my country. But, “safe from what?” one would wonder.
A mother of four whispers a prayer every night, asking God to watch over her daughters who walk more than ten kilometers deep through the grown eucalyptus plantation to school every day.
My heart breaks when she tells me on three occasions two of her daughters have been sexually abused by the over enthusiastic, arrogant and financially hungry men who work in the plantations. Even involving the local police authorities proved futile. I sob with her as my I try to put myself in her position. She asked, “Will you ask the president to bring the security for my beautiful African queens?” With so much emotion taking over me, knowing very well I have little, if not any access to the president, I assured her it will be done sooner than she hoped. My faith was beyond me.
Should it only be about these plantations and the great stories of their enormous generation of revenue? Why can’t the backbone’s benefit from it? Should the seedlings only grow rich expensive trees or grow an environment where women are protected like the trees? So many questions need to be answered in my society.
Not only money brings out the benefit, social security is one of the most vital needs in communities with women. I continue to fight for security for my people.
I believe in women-And I believe those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves. The girl child will shine till the end.