Thursday, November 25, 2010
Back in Chisamba
Thursday 25th November
The weather has turned cooler and the cloud cover has increased. Though it is unlikely to compare with what I hear is happening in the UK. Temperatures today only reached about 28 °C and I still turned red waiting and travelling in the minibus yesterday.
I attended mass at 6.30 am yesterday and set off for Lusaka at a little after 8 am. The bus moved off quickly, but stopped along the main road until it was full. I still forget what full means! When we set off we had five adults wedged into the four seats in our row. Behind us there were 5 seats but children don't count, so an additional 3 or 4 joined the adults. The bus was the all stopping variety. Which means that if anyone is at the side of the road the driver stops and the conductor tries to persuade them to come for the ride – irrespective of the number of passengers already aboard.
As a result it was about 12 hrs before we reached the drop off point in Lusaka. The buses used to go into the bus station in town, but, probably because of the traffic jams, they now stop as we enter the city and it is a short walk into town.
I had arranged to meet up with Justina at the CHAZ offices and she was waiting for me when I arrived. We talked a little about her project to set up “LIFE Zambia” and then caught up on other topics. We were joined by a lady from CHAZ and a guy who originated from Rotterdam and was acting as a consultant for organisations involved with NGOs. They were enjoying nshima and fish which looked rather appetising – maybe the menu at CHAZ isn't as fictitious as I had imagined – one day I might even get my crocodile steak!
Justina led me to a bus station to catch a little bus to Chisamba. I was told to take the front seat and, when the girl who had been sitting there protested, she was told that girls aren't allowed in the front, (and the driver wasn't going to let me sit in the back). I told her that he wouldn't get away with that in England. Apparently she was the first on the bus at 9hrs and was told it would be going by 12. It was 14hrs and we didn't set off till 14.40 – and then we only moved a few metres before stopping for another 20 minutes!
I decided to get a taxi from the crossroads rather than get Justine to pick me up. I wasn't sure how many passengers we had since people got in and out over a period of a few minutes. I expected to wait an hour or so until we had sufficient passengers, but suddenly someone said “let's go” and the taxi filled immediately and off we went!
I was greeted warmly by the staff at the guest house and given my usual room – this time they have installed the mosquito net much to my relief. While waiting for Justine, Patrick, who is very much involved with the project, appeared and was surprised to see me. I also got chatting to a guy who said that his father was involved in the fight for independence along with Sata who is now one of the current opposition leaders. Unfortunately Zambia is a country that has been getting worse economically over recent years. Many blame the politicians. The current ruling party has now been in power for 20 years and it isn't easy to displace them.
I enjoyed my nshima beef yesterday, today I am told chicken is on the menu – so I will have that for a change.
I decided to give the bar a miss, instead I read and had an early night.
It rained a little last night. I enjoyed a breakfast of eggs and chips, with a few cups of tea before heading for Kaliyangile – our Chisamba project. One day the windpump will be working again and that will be a great joy for me – until then I will just hope!
It was time to catch up with Justine, the Centre Manager. As always there are plenty of challenges. HATW have recently started using Global Giving and The Big Idea to help raise funds for projects in which we are involved. We hope to add PIZZ in Monze and Kaliyangile here in Chisamba to the list. One of the major issues here is transport costs. Almost everything needs to be brought from Lusaka which adds to the cost. Justine suggested that a small van might be a cost effective investment. There is a lot to be done here and as usual funds are hard to come by. However, if a few young people can be given a chance to make a reasonable living then it will be well worthwhile.
I tried the latest fix for the computer and progress is being made! I can now open in Windows as far as the Desktop Background. However icons and toolbars there are none! However I am actually composing this in Open Office using Windows! I suspect that I will be able to open any Windows application using a rather convoluted method. If it works I will attempt to send this blog later using the modem – and might even add some photos!
I will run out before supper and buy some airtime.