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Zambian Children’s Imaginal Caring: On Fantasy, Play, and Anticipation in an Epidemic

By Jean Hunleth

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Cite As:
Hunleth, Jean. 2019. “Zambian Children’s Imaginal Caring: On Fantasy, Play, and Anticipation in an Epidemic”. Cultural Anthropology 34 (2). https://doi.org/10.14506/ca34.2.01.

Abstract

Based on ethnographic fieldwork in Lusaka, Zambia, this article puts forth the concept of imaginal caring to examine a form of caring that is fantastical, exaggerated, and counterfactual. To develop this concept, I take the vantage point of young children (ages eight through twelve) who lived in households with persons who were suffering from tuberculosis and HIV. The children were involved in providing day-to-day care in many ways. They were also constrained in their efforts to give and show care because of their social positions, their access to resources, and their small human bodies. Through a series of examples, I demonstrate the ways in which children created and played with often visual images of giving care to family members in the past, present, and future. I show that fantastical imaginations and images of children’s involvement in caring not only expressed that they cared for others but also served as ways for them to provide or perform care. There were high social and personal stakes for children in not being able to care for others, and children’s efforts to care imaginally responded to such stakes, envisioning futures different from those scripted for them by global health discourses and the conditions of marginalization and exclusion into which they were born.

Mukusupawila

Ukulingana no mulimo wakufwailikisha muncende ishaba mu Lusaka, mu Zambia, uyu mulandu uleleta palwalala ilangulushi lya kusakamana kwa kwelenganya mu kweesha ukusanga umusango umo uwa kusakamana uwasumbulwa ukucila mu cipimo, kabili uwabulamo ifishinka. Mu kupanga ili langulushi, nasenda ulubali lwa baice (abamyaka cine-konse konse ukushinta pamyaka ikumi limo na ibili) abo abaikele mu ndupwa umwali abantu abalecushiwa na malwele ya icifuba ca ntanda bwanga (TB) na kashishi ka bulwele bwa kondoloka (HIV). Abana balibulilemo ulubali mu kusakamana abalwele cila bushiku mu nshila isha pusana pusana. Abana bali abashupikwa mukwesha kwabo ukwa kupeela no kulanga ukusakamana pa mulandu wa mikalile yabo, ishuko lyabo ilya kusanga ifyakubomfya, ukubikapo fye ne mibili yabo iinono. Ukupitila mu filangisho ifingi, ndelangisha inshila isho abana abanono balepanga elyo no kubomfya ifimpasho ifimoneka ifya kusakamana abalupwa mu nshita iyapita, ino, elyo ne ya kuntanshi. Ndelangisha ukutila ukwelenganya ne fimpasho ifyapulamo ifya kuibimbamo kwa bana takwalanga fye ukuti balesakamana abantu bambi (abalwele/abalupwa), lelo kwabombele nge nshila shabo isha kupeelelamo nangu ukubomba umulimo wa kusakamana. Kwali amaafya ayengi elyo ayakulu mubwikashi bwa bana abaleesha ukusakamana bambi. Kabili amaka ya bana mu kusakamana kwa kwelenganya, yalyafwilishe kuli ayo amaafya, ukwelenganya ubupusano bwa kuntanshi ukufuma kuli ifyo ifyalembwa pali bena mu malyashi yabumi aye sonde lyonse elyo ne mibeele ya kusuulwa no kupatululwa, iyo bafyelwemo.

Mwacidule

Kulinganiza ndi nchito yofufuza-fufuza mu madera ya Muzinda wa Lusaka, mu dzoko la Zambia, iyi mbiri ibweretsa ganizo lachisamaliro chofanizira moyetsa kupeza maonekedwe yachisamaliro chakuya, chozama koma chimene chiribe Mfundo zeni-zeni. Pomanga iri ganizo, ndatenga choonerako cha ana ang’ono-ang’ono (ali ndi zaka zisanu ndi zitatu mpaka khumi ndi ziwiri) amene anakhala mu mabanja anali ndi anthu wodwala chifuwa chabefu (TB) ndi matende ya Kaliwondewonde (HIV). Ana anali kutenga mbali yasamara wodwala tsiku ndi tsiku munjira zo siyana-siyana. Anali wobvutika mukugwapo kwawo kopereka ndi kuonetsa chisamaliro chifukwa cha mukalidwe wawo, kukwanisira kupeza zofunikira ndipo kuchepepa kwamathupi yawo. Kupyorera mu zisanzo zambiri, ndiri kuonetsa njira zimene ana anapanga ndi kusewenzetsa kawiri kawiri zifaniziro zoonetsa kupatsa chisamaliro ku anthu mubanja kudala, tsopano ndipo kutsogoro. Ndiri kuonetsa kuti kuyerekeza ndi zifanizo zozama zakugwapo kwa ana pa nchito yachisamariro sizinali kuonetsa kusamalira kwawo ku anthu ena koma kumaonetsa njira zawo zopatsa ndi kusamalira. Kunali mabvuto yayakulu ku ana pa kusagwapo kwawo mu kusamalira anthu ena, ndipo kugwapo kwawo kogwapo kofanizira kunagwebana ndi mabvuto ayo pamene anali kuganizira tsogoro losiyanako ndi zolembedwa mu nkhani yaumoyo yadziko lonse lapansi ndi mukhalidwe wachisankulo ndi kusayesedwa ngati anthu zimene anabadwiramo.

Keywords

care; imagination; children; family; global health; Zambia; ubusunge; ukwelenganya; abana; ulupwa; ubumi busuma mpanga yonse; Muchalo chesu cha Zambia; kusamalira; kuganizila; bana; banja; Umoyo Waziko; Dziko la Zambia