At the end of May 2006, a small group of pilgrims from Lusaka in Zambia, came to Medjugorje. Fred Mtamira, Florence Mwale, Jeremy Banda and organiser Joan Cochrane, outlined their impressions:
Fred Mtamira: I live in Lusaka and I am a parishioner in the parish of St. Ignatius. I came to know about Medjugorje through leaflets that I found in our parish church. Last year, I found some documentation about Medjugorje in the church my sister attends in England. For a long time now, I have desired to visit Medjugorje, the place where Our Lady is appearing. I wanted to hear about Her from the visionaries themselves. Five of us have come on pilgrimage this year. I am impressed by the presence of, and the harmony of soul demonstrated by, the great variety of people from so many different countries. I am experiencing peace and joy. I opened myself to prayer. Peace has to live first within us, for only then can we spread it around us.
Florence Mwale: I heard about this place as soon as Our Lady began to appear here. I had also heard about Lourdes and Fatima, but it is here I wished to visit most of all. I have met people from all over the world here. I have spoken with a number of them, and I can affirm that my faith has been strengthened. I have been raised to a new level. I feel a peace that I have never felt before. I thought that I was praying well and sufficiently, but during these days here, new horizons have opened up to me.
Jeremy Banda: A good friend of mine came here on pilgrimage about ten years ago, and whenever she remembers Medjugorje, whenever she speaks about God, about faith or about prayer, her face positively radiates. We meet weekly, and every time she relates a detail from her pilgrimage. She has strengthened my faith. When I saw a pilgrimage invitation leaflet in our parish church, I realised that I had the exact amount of money necessary in my account. My friend told me that I should go for sure, and here I am. I am not seeking signs. I am asking God to settle my life. I have obtained a tool here that helps me greatly. That tool is prayer, the rosary that I never really liked! Yesterday, I felt very bad, but as soon as we prayed a rosary, I felt better. It is a powerful weapon. I hope to take at least a little bit of Medjugorje home with me, and I further hope that I will return here soon again. I will take with me a part of Medjugorje, and when I lose peace, I will remember my experience here. In our country, 70% of the inhabitants live in poverty. The Catholic Church in Zambia exists only for about 100 years now, but it is doing a great deal of good. At present, help for the poor comes mainly from abroad, as there are very few wealthy people in our country. I look forward in hope to the time when we ourselves, the citizens of Zambia, shall be able to help our own poor.
Joan Cochrane: It isn’t easy to get the necessary visas for this journey, but the staff at the Bosnia-Herzegovinian embassy in Pretoria, South Africa, know me already. In collaboration with the Croatian Embassy and an agency from Medjugorje, they resolved all the necessary formalities within one week. In the beginning, our parish priest didn’t allow me to put our Medjugorje leaflet in the church. However, since we started Adoration in the parish twice a week, he is more and more open to Medjugorje. That helped a lot. We do not talk much about Medjugorje, but rather we put the messages into practice. This softened him… Our bishop invited the Medjugorje visionaries to Lusaka. He sent a letter to them, and he expects them to visit our parishes. He did this after I explained to him the main Medjugorje messages. I offered him a free ticket, and I hope that he will come and see for himself.