When to visit
Nchila is open from May 15 to November 15, and outside of that time it's really very wet here. The prime time to visit is August to end-October for birding.
The Fisher Family
Pete Fisher is Zambian – part of the fourth generation of Fishers in Zambia. Lynn, his wife, is Californian, but has always lived in Zambia. They live in the oldest house on Hillwood Farm with their two sons, Sonny and Christopher. Pete's father, Paul Fisher, and his sister Melanie, and her family, also live and work at Hillwood.
The history of the Fisher family is an interesting one, and inextricably linked with the development of the local area. The story begins in the late 19th century. Inspired by David Livingstone's and Fred Arnott's aspirations to end the slave trade in Africa by establishing Christianity and legitimate commerce in its place, Walter Fisher was a willing recruit to the missionary quest. In 1889, freshly qualified as a doctor and with a gold medal for surgery at Guy's Hospital, Walter Fisher left the UK with a party of seven other men and women, bound for the Angolan coast. Suffering from various hardships on arrival, the party moved out of Portuguese territory to Kalene Hill in Northern Rhodesia. Indeed, the ruins of the houses and store rooms they built in the Angolan style, with bricks made of baked anthill, can still be found there.
Kalene Hill eventually became the home of a mission hospital and an orphanage after Walter's wife, Anna Fisher, rescued a newborn baby. She found the child after it had been lying on its mother's grave for two days – where it had been placed as it was believed to have caused her death (the mother had died in childbirth). The orphanage is now on Hillwood Farm, in the care of Paul and Eunie Fisher, and its emphasis is on keeping a traditional African way of life so that the children can return to their village at about six years old. Until then, they are taught, fed and clothed to give them a good start. As has always been the case here, each baby comes with a female family member to assist with its care. There are currently 30 orphans; visitors are warmly welcomed. Esther Townsend and Helen Finney, two English orphanage mothers, currently manage the day-to-day needs of the orphanage.
In addition to the orphanage, Anna Fisher was also responsible for establishing the Nyamuweji village for old ladies, where they cultivated the land and were protected by the Fishers from customary witch hunts. Such women, too old to work hard, often came for refuge. There remain six to eight women at Kalene, and they are more or less self-supporting.
Sakeji School started in 1925, next to Hillwood. It has a very wide catchment area for its size, made possible by road links and the well-maintained Sakeji airstrip. The school teaches Grades 1 to 7 (Junior) and is funded and staffed by mainly Canadian and American missionary workers from an organisation called 'Christian Churches in Many Lands' (CCML). In 1962 the Bible was translated into Lunda by Singleton Fisher. A new version by Paul Fisher and Joan Hoyt is under way for the Zambian Bible House.