Mu’zunga dancing & bream with nshima!

Week one on the book bus completed! The children of  Lubasi Orphanage have been introduced to the delights of Elmer, the Gruffalo, Snow Bear, the Hungry Caterpillar and a whole range of football magazines.

It’s amazing how many European players the  children know. They  nearly all support Barcelona, for some reason, and are expecting Brazil to win the coming World Cup,  which they are getting quite excited about .

Unfortunately the book bus remains stranded at Grubby’s and last week we were travelling by taxi each day. The roads here are generally apalling and a big storm at the end of the wet season created such big potholes around the campsite that it has been decided not to risk moving it. 

Fortunately, over the weekend, a large overland all terrrain vehicle was    delivered and we will be using that from tomorrow.  We have spent all of today cleaning it and moving the books and resources on board- hot work in the current temperatures which are approaching 30 degrees!

During last week we visited Muramba market, the biggest in Livingstone, and sited close to the orphanage. It was a riot of colour with the ladies in their bright head dresses, children securely  strapped to their backs  by fabric slings, and carrying shopping in plastic buckets balanced on their heads.

The market sold just about everything imaginable from bananas  to beds, charcoal to carbolic soap,  dried fish (covered in flies!)  to beautiful African fabrics.

During the week we also visited an  excellent performance of ‘Dance Around Zambia’. The ladies from the book bus were so taken by it that a dance workshop was arranged for them the following day. I politely declined the offer to participate but went along as offical photographer. The session took place in the open air outside ‘Olga’s Pizza Corner’  and a crowd of locals soon gatherd to laugh at the mu’zunga dancing.  Mu’zunga is the local term (generally good-natured) for  a white  person.

On Friday we went for an authentic Zambian meal at a small local eatery,    rather grandly called the Heritage Restaurant. Here we had our first messy   encounter with the local staple food, nshima (silent ‘n’). It’s best described as a sort of polenta made from maize flour with the consistency of play dough! It actually tastes ok. I had  mine with bream and vegetables. It was a five-finger meal – the nshima being broken off, rolled into balls and used to pick up the other items of food on you plate. Luckily a jug of warm water and a bowl was passed around the table  before and after the meal!

We finished the week with a few bottles of Castle lager at a bar,  with live music,  where an old  Zambian crooner and his backing group had us in stitches with renditions of everything from  Cliff Richard’s ‘ Living Doll’  to Hendrix’s ‘ Hey Joe’!

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