Zambia is a beautiful country, consisting of high plateaus, a pleasant climate, and fascinating wildlife. Zambia is the third most urbanized country in Africa, with 40 percent of its population living in cities. The country is named for the Zambezi River and is home to the awe-inspiring Victoria Falls, which boast a drop twice as long as that of Niagara Falls. Once a British protectorate, Zambia has been independent since 1964. It is headed by a democratically elected president.
With the average household income around $490 US per year, life in Zambia can be difficult for both adults and children. Even today, almost half of the population lacks access to safe water. This leads to medical problems and affects the quality of life for individuals, families, and entire communities. Adequate health care is also a challenge for many Zambians. In fact, the average lifespan in Zambia is only 37 years, due, in part, to the high 10.2% infant mortality rate. Children in Zambia have difficulty obtaining a quality education; approximately 57% of children are enrolled in school each year.
Zambia ranks 163rd of 187 countries on the Human Development Index, a measure of overall well-being that includes length and quality of life, access to education, and standard of living. As might be expected, rural Zambians do not fare as well as those in urban areas. Rural Zambians typically live with their extended families in huts that are clustered together. Even with the difficulties that abound, a beautiful spirit of cooperation prevails as family members share work, assets, and the experiences of daily life.