Monday, July 22, 2013

Bundles of fluff

Thursday 18th July

Yesterday I arose at 5.30am. It was just after six when I left my flat – I decided that was not a good time – just before six is good, because there are some buses that head off for Lusaka promptly at 6 hrs. Anyway I walked past the bus stop and headed for the 'tarmac'. On the way I was accosted by a lad who enquired whether I was heading to Lusaka. He directed me to a bus – possibly a little bigger than a Rosa and not in the usual Zambia blue. He told me is was a time bus and that it was setting off at 6 hrs. Since it was half empty I said I doubted that it would go for an hour or so. Anyway I asked the price, 55 kwacha I was told, and I decided to board - expecting a long wait. Almost immediately it made its way slowly along the Lusaka road. It stopped by the showground – a popular picking up place. I was surprised that instead of turning around it continued towards Lusaka – still there was still plenty of opportunity and many empty seats. We reached the Golden Pillow and tried to persuade a few more passengers on board. A little way along the road the bus pulled over and the conductor said prayers for the journey. Still half empty we picked up speed in the direction of Lusaka – maybe its true it is a “time bus”!! I paid my 55 kwacha but a little later the conductor came to me and gave me10 kwacha back, saying that Monze to Lusaka was only 45 kwacha! Miracles do happen!!

I had been worried that it would be late by the time I hit Chisamba (at least late afternoon or early evening). The bus driver made good progress at a sensible speed. We made a detour at the Munali Hills, going closer to the quarries than I have been before. There was a short section of roadworks after Kafue but I am beginning to wonder whether I was hallucinating the other day. The massive roadworks near Chilanga had evaporated! So at 9hrs I disembarked and headed for the next bus. I have always made a long trip via Cairo Road in the past, but seeing a road named Lumumba Road and wanting Lumumba Bus station I thought I would take the chance. Sure enough my destination was a kilometre or so straight along the road. A bus was waiting – as usual and after no more than ½ hour I was once more on the road.
Other than walking there is little option but to take a taxi from the crossroads. Again it wasn't unusual for a taxi to be waiting - in fact it would be extraordinary if one wasn't. What was incredible was that the taxi was waiting for two passengers and since another guy on my bus was heading that way, we set off immediately.

I always hope to see a troupe of monkeys running across the Chisamba Road, but this time I was disappointed. However I was well compensated by seeing a zebra and a large flock of Marabou Storks in a field of cows! I had heard of the zebra before – I believe some wild animals found themselves fenced in by commercial farmers, this zebra seems to have made his (or maybe her ) home with the cows.

I was keen to catch up with the project - “Kaliyangile”, a vocational training centre. There is a lot of activity taking place – they even had some small fish delivered to a tank yesterday – unfortunately due apparently to the transfer taking around 8 hours – the fish didn't survive. Moses who has a large pond offered to try again if they would promise a more rapid transfer. A course in bee-keeping is about to start. The tailoring students have been involved in making bee-suits and they planted some nachas (a citrus fruit like a Clementine or Satsuma). These will become an orchard providing food for the bees. I had a tour of the grounds and also looked at the accounts – still, to my amazement, being prepared using my accounting system devised for Kaliyangile a few years back.
This morning we had a power cut and had to revert to my laptop, the Centre machine having no battery power. This seemed to be an unscheduled outage, as opposed to last Sunday when the power in Monze was off between 8 am and 8 pm! Persis heard today that the father of a cousin staying with her had been killed in a road traffic accident. There is a terrible toll taken on the roads in Zambia and so another family is left grieving as a result of this tragedy.

Walking to and from the Centre I pass over a railway line. On the way to the Guest House for lunch I encountered a goods train on the move. It was moving slowly but these beasts are very intimidating close up – I was walking along the side of the track. I trusted that some metal doors that were clipped back wouldn't open and take me with them. Fortunately the train passed without incident, I received a cheery wave from the driver as he passed.

This evening after talking to the trainers I sought Davison and the new delivery – 500 'day old' chicks! Wonderful fluffy bundles. Each was picked from the box and given a quick feed before being deposited in her new home - they are meant to be layers, so we hope that are all female!!



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