Editor’s note: Beginning Tuesday, May 1, the Bangor Daily News is distributing Amjambo Africa! in the City of Bangor. Look for the free publication inside the BDN the first Tuesday of every month and on Bangor newsstands around the middle of each month.
Amjambo Africa! is Maine’s new monthly newspaper for and about new Mainers from Sub-Saharan Africa. The newspaper is an initiative of Ladder to the Moon Network, a nonprofit organization based in Portland. Amjambo Africa! is published in English, French, Kinyarwanda, and Swahili. The paper is free, with ad revenue and small grants providing funding. The publisher of Amjambo Africa! is Georges Budagu Makoko, and the managing editor is Kathreen Harrison, both of whom are board members of Ladder to the Moon Network. Harrison is from the United States and Budagu is from Democratic Republic of Congo.
Warner Graphics of Camden handles design. A team of three New Mainers — Nathalie Gorey, Jean-Claude Niyibizi, and Pastor Maurice Namwira — handles translation.
The publication was the brainchild of Harrison and Budagu, who met at an event sponsored by Camden Conference one year ago. In conversation after the event they found they shared the belief that both the newcomer and local populations in Maine could benefit from more information about each other. Harrison speaks English and French and Budagu speaks English, French, Kinyarwanda, Swahili, Kirundi, Kinyamulenge, Lingala and a little Kifurero. They worked for a year to get the paper off the ground. April 1 marked the publication of the first issue of 10,000 copies. Publication has increased to 12,500 copies with the second issue. Distribution extends from South Portland to Bangor. The newspaper is available by subscription by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org. Amjambo Africa! is also available for download http://www.laddertothemoonnetwork.org/newspaper.html
The paper includes cultural information, profiles of individuals and organizations, listings of resources, coverage of events of interest to both local and newcomer populations, news from Africa, fun facts, and information about why people have moved to Maine. Amjambo Africa! welcomes letters to the editor, notices of relevant local events, photographs, and suggestions for future stories. Contributions are published at the discretion of the editor and as space allows. Rate sheets for advertising are available by request.