Archive for May, 2010

Mu’zunga dancing & bream with nshima!
May 10, 2010

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’!

Zambia calling………….
May 5, 2010

I originally drafted the following post on 3rd May. It took over an hour to draft and then frustratingly, but not surprisingly, it failed to upload!

Yesterday I walked down to the internet cafe twice, in the blazing sun, and there was no internet service available in Livingstone at all. 

Today it has taken me over 15 minutes just to access the wordpress site. Anyway that’s enough moaning. As they say around these parts,  “That’s Africa!” and I guess I’m going to have to get used top it.

I have added to my original post, below,  which luckily was saved in the drafts folder. 

I’ve arrived safely in Livingstone and have found an internet cafe on the main street but it is tediously slow. I’ve managed to read my emails and the comments that have recently been posted on the blog – many thanks.

I think blogging from Zambia is going to be difficult because of the slow connection. However I’m keeping a handwritten log and will edit my posts, adding greater detail and photographs, when I arrive home.

In the mean time this the Zambia experience to date – in brief:

  • Campsite better than expected – in the grounds of a slightly faded and dilapidated colonial property of the former governor of N Rhodesia!
  • Got a tent to myself this week but being  joined by another male next week. At the moment  there is a crew of  7 women plus me, the token male!
  • Nice wooden verandah where ice cold drinks can be taken from the  ‘honesty bar’  – Castle Lager from South Africa and the local brew Mosi!
  • It was 27 degrees when we arrived at Livingstone airport  on saturday and it has been pretty much the same since.

On  Sunday we visited Victoria Falls -awesome. We walked across the footbridge and got absolutely drenched. The wet season has just ended and the  falls were seen in their fullsplendour.  The roar of the cascading wall of water was deafening.

  • This week, we arevisiting the Lubasi Orphanage which caters for children from 3 – 19 years of age. There are currently 40, mainly orphaned through Aids.
  • I have met and worked with some lovely children. Many of the children and adults we have met have enchanting names such as Gift, Prince, Honesty, Moses. 
  • I have introduced them to Monkey & Elmer and things are going pretty well.
  • Each day we work from 9.15 to 12.30 on site and then following lunch we plan activities for the next day which takes a further hour or so.
  • We are taking it in turns to produce meals on a two ring burner and I must say the standard has been pretty good so far. As the sole male I’ve ben pencilled in for a barbecue tomorrow – talk about stereotyping!
  • Four of us have booked an overnight safari to Chobe National Park, across the border in Botswana , this coming saturday /sunday.
  • Tonight we are going to a cultural show with traditional Zambian song & dance.
  • On Friday we are having a night off cooking and washing up and visiting a local restaurant to sample Zambian cuisine!

I haven’t forgotten that tomorrow is election day although I do feel somewhat distanced from it now. Surprisingly a lot of the people over here are aware of the UK election and interested too. Obama is also big over here – stickers everywhere!  

I’ll leave it there and keep everything crossed as I try to upload.