Sunday 7th October
Was it really Wednesday when I last wrote?
I have to keep reminding myself that roads in Zambia are for motorised traffic – with the possible exception of the ox-cart! Others are permitted to use the roads as a concession when the true owners are not around, but if a car wants to use any part of the road the driver has only to give a quick toot and claim the space. For those not familiar with Zambian roads – a road is a piece of ground that is used by motorised vehicles and stretches between the bushes that border it. Don't be confused by that bit of ground that has been laid with some tar – it is rarely used, being more holes than tar anyway- no, that sandy mud at the side of the tar is a major highway!
Despite being just as likely to move into the road than off it, by some miracle, as yet, I have escaped with my life – though I did have a very close shave last week with a bicycle travelling at the speed of light! Even animals here seem to have better sense than me – and they need to because many drivers assume that they know the highway code. This morning, on the way to church, I saw a donkey taking a stroll. He came to the main Lusaka / Livingstone road stopped looked one way and another and, after letting a couple of vehicles pass, wandered into the centre of the road – and stopped!! At least he made sure the next vehicle had plenty of time to brake – having made his point, he strolled to the other side and headed for the railway line (his next challenge!)
I am very familiar with seeing animals wandering around unaccompanied. Cattle, pigs, goats, chickens and even the occasional donkey routinely pass by, without me casting a sideways glance. Lizards and geckos are also a common sight. For one moment I thought a butterfly might alight on my hand this afternoon – it's wingspan was the size of my hand, but, as seems normal here, it didn't settle for me to get a good view. I am looking forward to the first swallows to arrive from Europe, there were a few at the church but I don't think they were the European variety.
Today, after mass, I chatted to five students whose education is sponsored through our church in Cheltenham. It was good to get to know them a little, some I might meet again in future years and follow their progress. After a very quick bite to eat, I headed for where St. Veronica's Small Christian Community were meeting. I had arranged to meet a couple of members who would take me to the meeting. I didn't see them but met another and was directed by them. In the event neither of the members who were to be my guides came to the meeting! I don't think I will ever understand much of what I experience here!
I have been touching base with a few places where there might be some work for me to do – such as the Diocesan project office and the hospital – but no one is demanding my time, so I will quickly retreat. I am not short of things to keep me busy! When at the projects office I did make a few enquiries about solar pumps to take water from wells and boreholes. This seems to be a major need.
I have a couple of computers that need anti-virus software – at least! I have to be careful not to let them devour too much time.
I have decided that I will remain at the priest's house until the end of my stay. I am sure I will be back home before the Hospital Guest House becomes available. Power has been quite good until just now. I only have a couple of minutes before my battery expires! In any case I better try to find my way in the dark to retrieve the matches and light a candle!! In the event the power was off for less than half an hour.
Tomorrow I have agreed to help Obert with his algebra. I told him that, because I never learnt any maths, I haven't forgotten any! In fact I have always found that even after many years I am able to help because I
understood maths rather than learning it!
On Tuesday I am returning to Chisamba for a few days and already I am aware that I have very little time left here in Zambia.