Bushtracks Community Hero: Royal Zambezi Lodge, Zambia

Our Community Hero of the month is Royal Zambezi Lodge, situated in the Lower Zambezi region of Zambia. They have implemented a wonderful development to assist expecting mothers in the rural community.

The Royal Zambezi Lodge, with the assistance of Henry and Claire Kartegener, has been responsible for the development and building of The Claire Kartegener Maternity Ward.

Natalie Black, the General manager of Royal Zambezi Lodge, had the idea of building the maternity ward after she first visited the clinic at Mugaremeno. The clinic consisted of one small room, with no electricity or running water. Not only was this clinic treating the ailments of more than 3 000 patients, it was also serving as a maternity ward.

Royal Zambezi decided to begin the process of blueprinting a decent maternity ward to provide mothers with privacy, dignity and sanitary conditions during some of the most important moments of their lives. The Kargarteners, close friends of the lodge, helped source funds for the project.

Four years later, with manual labor provided by Royal Zambezi Lodge, the dream became a reality. The new maternity ward officially opened in December 2016, and has had a hugely significant positive impact on the local community. Since its opening, more than 80 babies have been delivered in the new building, including the children of several Royal Zambezi staff. A lodge employee, Kelvin Kamutimbe, and his wife recently welcomed their baby girl into the world in the new facility and named her Esther.

The community members have been extremely appreciative and grateful for the new maternity facilities, and now several children in the villages are named after Claire and Henry. "We had a big problem before this maternity ward was built. We had to go to Chiawa village; it is a very long journey, especially during the rainy season. We used to walk because we had no transport, and there have always been wild animals around. The community made plenty of appeals and then, one day, Royal Zambezi Lodge answered our cries," says Kelvin.

After the opening of the lodge, Mr. Kartegener reminisced about how the lodge came to be, "Claire and I visited Zambia with friends and family to celebrate her 60th birthday. The trip included a visit to the village of Mugarameno, whose medical facility was clearly in need of an upgrade. We have worked in Africa for over 35 years and felt a need to give back to the continent that has brought us so much joy and good fortune. The construction of the maternity ward, thus, was a wonderful way to help a community in need, and it also allowed us to show our appreciation for what Africa has done for our family. This project has been the most rewarding thing we have ever done."

The Royal Zambezi Lodge have expressed that they are proud to have helped author such a wonderful story, and look forward to the many more that will undoubtedly begin at Mugaremeno's new maternity ward!

​ The next project that Royal Zambezi Lodge is working on is to source funds to build doctor's accommodation, so that the Ministry of Health can then transfer a doctor or clinical officer that can be based in Mugaremeno, in order to assist the resident Nurse Rosemary.

Images: Royal Zambezi Lodge

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