Martha, first of all, congratulations. You successfully graduated from The Zambia Institute, the university where you finished your Hospitality Management-studies. An achievement of which I am sure you are very proud of. A few months have passed now since you collected your diploma. How are you feeling? Are you still as cheerful as the day you received your certificate?
I am very happy that I finally graduated and that I have a diploma now. I am the first one in my family to graduate from college and also the first from the Zambian-hockey coaches. This makes me very happy.
For the reader who is only just starting to get to know you, Martha, could you please introduce yourself? Where do you live, with whom, and how does an average day in your family’s life look like?
My name is Martha Kalomo am the second born in a family of three, one boy and two girls. I love cooking and playing sport and apart from hockey I also play netball. My parents divorced when I was two years old and ever since I have lived with Mum and my siblings. We live in Lusaka, which is the capital of Zambia, where my mum has a small business: she sells coolers and some snacks. I am still working with HDF where I get an allowance that also helps us with our daily expenses.
What are your passions in life? We are certain that hockey must be one of them. Not that long ago you wanted to become a chef. Is becoming a chef still your dream?
Yes, I still want to become a chef and work for a big hotel, or start my own small restaurant or take away.
Now that we have gotten insight into your day-to-day life, could you please tell how you found out about Hockey Dream Foundation, and why did you want to join our trainee programme? We are certainly glad you made this decision back then!
Gijs came to Zambia in 2011 wanting to form the foundation of Hockey Dreams, and when it was finally formed, I was selected as a the first female coach because of the passion I have for the kids and for seeing the game of hockey to be popular. We were only three coaches by then and I did not know that HDF had more plans for our future besides hockey and sport. Later on, the Foundation became known and we were having more volunteers in the program than we ever could imagine. HDF started recruiting more and more coaches in the program and gave them the chances and opportunities to go back to school and achieve their dreams.
What are your thoughts on the trainee programme? Was it all fun, inspiring, or perhaps mostly hard work? Could you share an example of what you learnt during your programme and from which you still benefit from up until this day?
The program is fun and when I was still in school the HDF-schedule was flexible as you choose for yourself what days you will be coaching as long as you follow the agreed-upon guidelines. I have learned a lot because we work with a lot of different people from different backgrounds, yet teamwork is the most important and being able to help each other. I have also learned to be open minded and being able to welcome different ideas from my fellow coaches. To this point I am still working with the HDF as a team captain as well as a coach. I have benefited a lot and I am still benefiting from the program thanks to the given allowance which is really helping me and my family now.
How were the kids affected by your coaching? Are they aspired to do some coaching themselves? Is it perhaps even safe to say that the kids are seeing you as their role model?
I have always been a parent to them: I talk to every kid personally so I know most of them personally and also I do know their backgrounds. There are about eleven boys which I started coaching as from my first assignment and I am really happy that they are still playing hockey for a big club and are also playing the senior league. Even now they always come to our camps to help with coaching and more. I am a role model to the kids, for example, when we are having a game the kids come by and say ‘’I want to play hockey like coach Martha’’. That moment I feel happy and I know I have to show my best self because I have people that look up to me.
What about the other coaches, how is your relation to them? Are you still seeing the coaches as often as you did? Most-likely you do, as your new role of being a captain!
Before joining the program until now, the coaches and me have always been friends and some of them we play for the same club so we know each other well. Being the captain has a lot to do with understanding each coach, like their behaviour on- and off the field. Everyone knows their duties and I have always been telling them one thing: “Do your job and you will be my best friend. Because at the end of the day we all need the same results to show the people that are supporting us we are worth it.”
It has been a few months since you received your diploma at the Zambia Institute. What have you been up to the last couple of months and what are your plans for the years the come? We are eager to know!
I have applied to many hotels but I have not received a positive reply until now and that is why I have worked with Zambia Revenue Authority as an intern chef for six months from October 2019 – march 2020. Currently I am picking up some coaching and I am hoping to get a good job and start my own family one day. At this moment, I’m working temporarily as a Data Collection Manager at a local company in Zambia.
And last but not least, how do you look back on the experience that you share with Hockey Dreams Foundation? Was the experience all that you hoped for and would you recommend this adventure to potential coaches who are reading your story?
Everything I have achieved is through the help of the HDF. I do not know where my life would have been if I had not joined the program as my Mum did not have any money to send me to college. I have met a lot of different people throughout the program whom have encouraged me to continue working hard. To be honest, I did not know that I could have get this far when the program was only just starting, but to my surprise I got more out of it than I could have ever think of. My family and I are so grateful for everything the HDF has done. I always encourage my fellow coaches to do their best because good things are yet still to come.