I have remarked in earlier years how I take for granted sights here that you wouldn't witness in the UK. Yesterday I realised how many people were wandering through the streets of Lusaka pushing wheelbarrows. These are loaded with all sorts of goods, some no doubt being the wheelbarrow owners own items, but many more being transported for a customer for a small fee. Often the barrows are piled high with heavy goods I suspect that having a well balanced barrow is a must. Big bags of charcoal, onions or even furniture is moved around in this manner. Women, and a few men carry heavy loads on their heads, goats are tethered outside shops – many more wander at will, cows graze at the side of the road in the high street, children sell goods at market stalls, and 5 or 6 year old children walk around carrying babies on their back. All these are everyday sights here in Zambia and I have grown accustomed to them. The insects and other creatures that are part of life here don't cause me to turn very often. Crickets, grasshoppers and locusts are abundant and fly rather than jump – some can easily be confused with birds because they grew quite large – as do the beetles! A moth chose to land on my leg the other day and I realised how I react differently to different insects. I was delighted when on more than one occasion after a quick flight he chose to return to settle on me again. I react differently to the ants and mosquitos who also seem to be attracted by my flesh!!
On Sunday the power was off – this is a common event in Monze when they use Sundays to do maintenance work. The lack of mains power didn't stop the wedding celebrations using the space opposite my house from filling the air with loud music for most of the day! Maybe its my age, but I find a type of music that is very common these days disturbing. The beat is very fast and the song is a constant repition of a few phrases. I am sure that I have been told in the past, that the rate of the beat of the heart is very significant. A slower beat has a calming effect while a faster one brings excitement, but also tension. I think that we live in a world where the beat is too fast and this is reflected in the music – one feeding the other.
I attended mass and section prayers and, not being sure when power would be restored, I made a 'vegetable salad'. Diven came around in the evening so we feasted on sump, which he had brought plus my vegetable salad and my version of garlic chips! I will start putting on weight! Sump seems to be a universal term for a sort of vegetable stew. Diven's contained beans and groundnuts.
Yesterday I spent much of my day travelling – setting off at 8 hrs to try to find the landlady and leave the front door key. Even having visited the house before, I had very little idea where it was – though I knew it was in the same road as my house. I asked several people and called at another house before I received some recognition! I hope that I gave the keys to the daughter of the owner and not a stranger! – otherwise I could be in trouble!!
I was given a front seat in the Rosa bus and felt very vulnerable without a seatbelt! This year buses to Chisamba from Lusaka seem to fill quickly. When I arrived and the bus was full, but within a few minutes the next bus filled and we were on our way.We were overtaken en-route by the bus that filled behind us. In the past I have sat for an hour or more at Lumumba bus station.
I have exchanged my luxury villa for an empty converted storeroom (the conversion comprising a wall which has been built to make a bedroom).I have a mattress on the concrete floor. Both sets of accommodation, believe it or not, have their attractions! I don't have a veranda but I can sit on the cattle troughs and look out over the project land. There is always bird song – plus the constant clucking of the hens in the barn next door. I have water and electicity and asked if a kettle and mug plus chair and small table could be provided. These installed, I am very content!! I have a bowl and spoon for my cornflakes and can make a cup of tea whenever I wish. There is a cool shower and toilet block within 100 metres and the place is very peaceful. Last night I walked to the guest house for a meal guided by a wonderful bright, almost full, moon. I use small paths that cut through the fields and cross the railway lines but I didn't need a torch to light my way – the Lord provided a spotlight casting its wonderful light and mystical shadows from the sky above.
On my last visit I suggested that it might be an idea to invite the local community to meet at Kaliyangile and discuss how they would like to make use of it. Persis has organised the meeting for tomorrow inviting all the church and youth leaders to be present. It seems that the response has been very positive. Yesterday I met with Grace a local social worker who explained that many young people want quick money and spend it on drink. There are various initiatives to try to help the youth to seek more positive ways of spending their time. I hope that this project can help in this process.
This morning I visited the new Catholic priest to talk a little about the project and my role. The Catholic Church was very much involved with setting up the project and its early running and I am keen that they continue to play an active role. We also met with Patrick whose family provided the land for the project's use. It is important that all interested parties and particularly those involved at the inception of the project, are involved in its development and are happy with any changes.
There is a sense in which it is easier to relax here in Chisamba. The project forms a single focus here and I am a little bit shielded from the harsh realities of this world. In Monze my friends are a constant reminder of the difficult lives that so many face.
As I write this three little children are enjoying playing games with me just outside the room. I have taken some photos and will see their reaction in a minute.