Samuel grew up in a mud-built hut with a thatched roof about 70km from Ngoli. To get to his home from Ngoli he needs to travel fifty kilometres on the tarmac road then turn off onto a dirt road for twenty kilometres. He leaves the dirt road and travels down a cart track for three kilometres and when this runs out, he has to walk another two kilometres along a footpath to his parent’s hut surrounded by their maize fields.
Samuel was a bright student but his parents are subsistence farmers and they had ten children to try and feed and buy books and uniforms for so they could all go to school.
Samuel had to leave school at twelve and left home to work in a chicken smallholding, sleeping on the floor in the chicken hut. His uncle, Gilbert, managed to get a job in Ngoli, at the coffee plantation paying $40 a month, and it was agreed Samuel would leave home and live with Gilbert who promised to put him through basic school.
Gilbert was as good as his word and Samuel was a great student. In 2012 Samuel was one of the first three ZMCP scholarship students and went, as a boarding pupil, to Mungwi Technical College. All our scholarship students have to board as the High Schools are at least fifty kilometres away and they can't afford transport costs even to get to the school for the start of term.
Samuel passed his High School exams. His results were good and he enrolled in one of Zambia’s best universities to do a four-year Bachelors of Education degree. When he completes his degree and gets a teaching post, he will earn in one month what uncle Gilbert earned in a year. He currently boards at Rusangu University as it is about 16 hours away from his home by bus.
At the end of his second year at University we took him home for his first visit in five years. His entire extended family, were there to meet him and it was a wonderful celebration of his success. Uncle Gilbert was there too and as the day wore on, he asked if he could recite a football commentary - something he is well known for in the family.
Stop a moment and listen to the joy and happiness in his voice.
Uncle Gilbert talks football
Meet Samuel Songolo