The wire cars included in your Zambia Aboki Box were made by two young men named Nalisa and Sean. They both grew up on the Copperbelt Province of Zambia, though in different towns. Sean lived in Kitwe while Nalisa lived in Ndola. When they finished school, they both moved to Lusaka, and that is where they met and became friends.
Growing up on the Copperbelt, Sean and Nalisa learned how to make wire cars and paper balls.
Sean says, “I learned how to make a wire car when I was a small boy. That’s what we used to do growing up. We never used to go into a shop to buy toys. We made the toys ourselves. We used to make wire cars, paper balls and even aeroplanes.”
Nalisa agrees. “During school holidays we would go looking for materials to make toys. We would pick up wires of different sizes, and sometimes even empty plastic bottles that we could use to make the body of the cars. We would make various shapes and sizes of wire cars out of them. Then we would collect bottle tops and put them together to make wheels for the cars.”
Having finished secondary school, Sean and Nalisa are not yet in formal employment because jobs are hard to come by and there is not enough money to go to college. So, using the skills they learned, they make different kinds of toys and sell to prospective customers. That helps them to earn a little income.
Sean says, “Making the wire cars for Aboki Box was fun. It was a good opportunity for us to make some money. It was exciting to know that our cars and balls would be going to the United States of America. The children there will experience what it’s like to play with a toy made from local materials in Zambia.”
Nalisa says, “We chose to use copper wires to connect the joints of the cars so that the children in America can see the copper that comes from our country. Zambia produces a lot of copper, so the wires are not difficult to find. We would scout for some in the community and if they run out, we would go to the market and buy them.”
Copper is very important in our country. Even the Zambia National Soccer Team is named “Chipolopolo” which means “copper bullet.”
In addition to the wire cars, Sean and Nalisa also made the paper soccer balls included in your Aboki Box. “We love soccer in Zambia”, Nalisa explains. When we were young, during school holidays, we would make paper balls we call “Chimpombwa” in the Bemba language. So, when you kick the ball we made, you can call yourself “Chipolopolo” because you will score many balls like a Zambian soccer player!”
We hope that one day you can visit our country and have fun with us!