Wednesday 29th July
I arrived at the Kobil filling station at 6.30 and Fr. Kenan was there waiting. I was wondering how three of us would squeeze in the front of the pick-up, but he told me he was swapping the truck for a car. I was then a little confused when we headed from Monze in the pick-up!! At Mazabuka we offloaded the maize from the truck and then continued in the pick-up!! It eventually became clear that there was a loose convoy and someone was driving a car in the same direction as we were travelling. In Lusaka we called into Photo Express where we both had some photos printed. Next stop was Voltamp, where I was able to buy a battery for the solar mobile phone charger, followed swiftly by the opticians - Fr. Kenan's main reason for being in Lusaka.
We drove a little further to an area where there are a large number of car spares shops – and finally Fr. Kenan spotted the car and the other driver. For the next hour and a half we attempted to find some new shock absorbers and a back light fitting. Shock absorbers were found and two lads took the old light fitting and ran off into the distance. We hang around for a while, we swapped vehicles and Fr. Kenan and myself headed for the airport.
We arrived in good time and found the cocktail bar and restaurant. This has many happy memories. When I have arrived on early flights and someone has been coming to meet me, I would tell them to take their time. I would then make my way to the cocktail lounge and have a pot of tea while I acclimatised to the new environment. It was a nice way to settle back to Zambia and prepare for the challenges ahead. Fr. Kenan and I were both ready for lunch after our early start. We both chose the whole bream – which was a good selection.
Jane's plane landed on time but about 15 minutes after the Ethiopian Airways flight. I was concerned that she would be held up for 3 hours like I was, but was pleased to see Emirates bags coming out. It seemed that they might somehow have found immigration first. Within about an hour I had at last met Jane. She had the advantage of seeing pictures of me – I had no idea what she looked like and resisted waving back to every white lady who gave a wave!!
Fr. Kenan told us that his glasses weren't ready so he was staying in Lusaka. Fortunately the other driver Staffred would drive us back to Monze. The drive was without incident (other than seeing a couple of animals that looked like deer, just before Mazabuka. I haven't spotted wild animals – apart from the very occasional monkey – on this journey before. Before 21 hrs we had reached home.
Deana had prepared some supper and we talked for a while. I abandoned putting up the mosquito net for the night, but provided an electric killer instead. I have only noticed one mosquito since I arrived, but there could be others around!!
On Tuesday we had decided to have a leisurely start. Since the power wasn't due until after 10 hrs we didn't plan to go anywhere beforehand. My only appointment for the day was to take the picture of a child that I spoke to on Friday, when I had forgotten my camera. So after a couple of cups of tea I took Jane for a stroll down the road, then past PIZZ school – all sites! - and finally settled for half an hour or more by the small lake for a rest in the shade of a small tree. Time had run away. We said hallo to Diven on our return and decided to call in to take the photo before returning home. Mrs. Sianga and Jane were introduced to each other, but we quickly said goodbye and headed back home for lunch.
It seemed a shame to stay in all afternoon, so, as it approached 16hrs and was a little cooler, we headed out for another stroll. I thought that Jane should find the town, we then wandered down the 'High Street' and greeted Ireen. At the end of the High Street I decided we might as well visit the railway. Astonishingly a train approached as we neared the station. I pointed out that this was not a common occurrence.
We crossed behind the train and made our way to Railway compound, where the standard of housing is rather better than in other parts of Monze. We passed the golf course and I showed Jane the house I used last year – now Tubbyland School. We eventually returned home via the indoor market – picking up some spices from my friend – The Queen of Spices. Unsurprisingly Jane was ready for a cup of tea and a rest when we got back!!
I had volunteered to make a Zambian omelette, so, once I sorted myself out, I started to prepare the meal.
I stayed up trying to access the internet, but eventually gave up.
Today was a typical Zambian day! All was going well in the morning until the dongle stopped working with a message saying it had an 'invalid profile' and I should contact the network provider. After trying all the usual avenues with no avail, I headed into town to the MTN office, via the Diocesan Projects office and the Hospital - only to be told it was a network problem, despite the error message. I returned home, picking up an avocado on the way home – it was guacamole sandwiches for lunch!!
I went with Jane to PIZZ School after lunch where she was to work out a timetable with the staff. I spoke to one of the sponsored children I hadn't previously seen on this visit, before heading back into town. I wanted to meet the people from Leonard Cheshire to find out more of their work and see whether some sort of link could be made with the home in Cheltenham. Mr Meheritona had agreed to introduce me to the guys.
We walked over the road, across the railway tracks and headed for the station. The Leonard Cheshire office was a little way before the station, but unfortunately all the staff were out!! I returned home, after having a local fizzy drink at a cafe in town. At least today I had some exercise!!
Jane cooked and Raymond paid us a visit this evening. Once again the internet is playing up!! There is no water in the taps though there is another pond down the road, next to a familiar looking digger!!!