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ruffled feathers

Monday 13th July.

I got our reservations¬† at the hotel pushed back without too much trouble. I notified the people we’d be filming that we’d be delayed.

And yes perhaps most importantly, I got the meat from the hunting trip all cut up and divvied up amongst those who had adequately scmoozed up to me leading up to the hunt. ūüôā

I met up with the driver for the second team. Got the car washed and detailed ready for round 2.

THEN, I got another call from Chris, they weren’t able to make the monday night flight and would not arrive in Zambia until Thursday night, July 15th. Oh, dear!

 

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Off to the bush

In a few hours I’ll be headed out into the bush with my dad and some friends for my first kill. Our licences are for lechwe and I am psyched. In all honesty, I am also a bit afraid that my shot won’t be the kill shot and then I’ll have to run after the stupid animal and someone else will make the kill for me. pictures and video will taken, this moment of my life needs to be documented. So Lochinvar, in Kafue National park, here I come.

For the environmentally conscious or those that consider themselves one with nature (or with animals), have no fear. This isn’t a sporting hunt. We’ll eat all the meat or gift it to people who’ll eat it. And as an added bonus, I am considering having the skin cured as evidence of my dominion over the animal kingdom.

Have a good weekend.

PS. Lots of new and exciting pictures taken this week. Probably post them early next week.

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brownies in a foreign land

Okay, so Zambia is not quite foreign but anyway, we made brownies tonight. They were pretty good but not as good as Amy’s (without nuts!!!).

All of this while the US football team schooled Spain in the semifinals of the confederation cup in Bloemfontein, South Africa.

Oh, and we played scrabble while watching football and baking brownies and I won. Yay me!

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a familiar bullet-ridden gate

For several years, my sister, Tyna (pronounced Tina), Gwendy, and I were inseparable. We would even let our younger siblings join in the fun. Tyna and her sisters lived up the street from us and we spent many afternoons together. We did so many things together: swam together, watched tv together, hung around town together, we even went to church camp together once.

Tyna’s dad owned a bar that was next door to the Lusaka Community Playhouse and it was in this theatre that I first saw the musical Grease. Because Tyna’s dad owned the bar, the director of the play allowed us to come in and watch the dress rehearsal. The play was on late at night and there is no way that our parents would have approved of us being out so late. I remember feeling quite chuffed and privileged that I got to see the play before everybody else and it was absolutely awesome. I loved going to the bar. First of all, it had the best snacks and we were allowed to drink as much pop as we wanted. Plus, Tyna’s dad often took us to lunch at the Spur restaurant that was across the street at the Holiday Inn.

As a foursome, we got in trouble together and we had a lot of fun together. In fact, Tyna’s mom once got us to star in a commercial spot for a new Lodge that had opened in town (to this day, I am not completely sure that my mom knew or even knows about this). Funny side story about this ad, just after it aired some random joe that apparently somehow knew me, ran into one of my mates from high school who was wearing a school shirt and walked up to him asking him if he knew me, to which my mate said yes. RJ (random joe) then proceeded to tell my mate that he was my boyfriend. I DID NOT have a boyfriend at this time and granted while my parents wouldn’t have approved, it was mainly because all the boys I had soft spots for just couldn’t be bothered.

Anyway returning to the foursome, I remember we got in trouble at church camp, and yes it was because of boys. I remember the story quite well, it is quite lengthy and so I shan’t tell it here. However things erupted into this big fight, girls versus boys. The girls won, because Tyna cursed the pants off of the boys, which landed her, well no, all of us in trouble. I think I talked us out of it.

Today, I walked up the road to their house to see if they still lived there. At first I wasn’t sure, things seemed different. However, once I got in front of the gate and saw that the bullet holes were still there, I knew that at least their family still lived there. I’m not so sure about the story behind the bullet holes, I believe it had to do with an attempted robbery, a gun and Tyna’s dad.

That bullet ridden gate is a testament to a chapter of my life long gone but not forgotten. The girls don’t live there anymore. Tyna’s in England, married with 2 kids. Gwendy is here. Shasha in Engies. Chi and Nkem in L-town and Okem in Zaria. We all have separate lives.

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in the system

so for the last seven-ish years, I’d like to think that I have been on my best behavior ;-). Well, at least on my better behavior and I have done what I could to keep my record clean. I have zero desire to have my info popping up when CSI:Lincoln [haha] or whomever goes looking for suspects. Not that I buy into conspiracy theories but I’d like to think that I am to some degree in control of my personal info, my fingerprints and the like.

Well that all came crashing down today. In the space of an hour this morning, my fingerprints were entered into the system. Perhaps that is but a small price. Well, it’s not like I could have done anything anyways….

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the adventures commence

Today I publicly transported myself from one part of town to another. A rather interesting experience, I tell you. I have been cooped up in the house for much of the last couple of days. This was largely due to the fact that I have no mode of transport at my beck and call.

So off we went walking towards the bus stop. Crossing main roads and dodging vehicles as in Zambia, cars and not pedestrians have the right of way. On the bus, I sat next to all sorts of¬† people, some funny, others funky, if you get my drift. I hadn’t ridden¬†a zambian bus for years and a¬†public transportation bus for a while (not since I left New York and even then, the last time I think was in July of 2008). I have nothing against the bus or riding the bus but truth be told, it¬†is always an experience of some kind, being that close in proximity to the humanity of others.

We got into downtown Lusaka and then trekked by foot¬†from Kulima Tower (the bus station)¬†to¬†¬†Kamwala Market. My friend Busiku was headed to a driving school to find out the rates and sign up for classes. The driving school is in essence a large clearing where a number of enterprising gentlemen had gathered cars that they had purchased and stamped extensively with caution signs and large L stickers indicating that they had a “learner” driver. They also had little tents on the top of the cars similar to those of Jimmy Johns (I am a sucker for a #5 sandwich, bad breath and all), broadcasting their names, Matuta Driving School, Valileo Driving School and so on and so forth. In this clearing they had set up cones and the novice drivers drove around and around within this small block. A detailed driving lesson package costs about K750,000.00 (equivalent to $150.00) and that in essence amounted to 40 minutes of driving for 21 days.¬† I’m not sure that I think that’s sufficient but I’ll keep my comments to myself for now.

After the driving school chapter, we headed into Kamwala, so that I could buy a chitenge. I didn’t have enough space to pack a towel when I came out and whilst at the hotel didn’t need one but now that I am out and about, I need something and a chitenge would come in handy. I went in expecting only to buy 1 but then after having bought 1, I stopped at a wholesalers and found another 2 that I fell in love with and as they were rather affordable, I now have 3 new chitenges.

Busiku and I then got a ride to Manda Hill where he met up with one of his friends and I went to check out Mr Price. When I lived in Zambia, we didn’t have a Mr. Price and so shopping at Mr. Price was a real treat whenever we went to South Africa. I was a little disappointed. I wasn’t planning on buying anything but I was bummed that the quality of the products left much to be desired. As I had some time¬† on my hands, I decided to try on some pairs of shorts to see if they fit. Acknowledging that I am built like an African but not as well-endowed as most Africans are in the rear aperture, finding shorts that fit is not always easy. I thought, well here’s a store with clothes specifically¬†for Africans, surely I’ll find shorts that fit. Nope. No luck. My rather [comparatively speaking] minute rear aperture had trouble not falling out of these shorts, even when I went up a couple sizes. It is a bit disconcerting and I am not quite sure just how to respond. I guess I am just glad that I am not currently in desperate need of shorts.

On our way out, we stopped off at Hungry Lion to pick up some good yummy greasy chicken. Another let down. Granted we didn’t eat till we got home, about an hour later, but the chicken was dry and blah. I hope I can get to Kabwe, where my favorite Hungry Lion shop is located, to restore my faith in this brand of greasy chicken.

Getting home though was another wonderful challenge in itself. Standing at the bus stop in Manda Hill, we could not get on a bus; all the buses that rolled past us were full to capacity and not just any capacity, developing world capacity standards. Seriously, like the #24 Star Tran East Campus buses at the noon hour. So to get home, we walked up the road to the next mall, Arcades and were able to get on a bus there. All in all, I was glad to be able to make it home before it was completely dark outside. Granted there was no power welcoming us home and so it was dark at home but at least here we can lock out undesirable adventures….at least to some extent!

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pains that never heal

Yesterday, I went to visit an orphange that I had volunteered at exactly 7 years ago. This orphanage, the House of Moses, caters to young children aged 0-1yr who have no one, no where, no thing.

It had changed since I had last been there. Now it homed 32 babies, 10 more than before. The offices had been moved out to create space for the growing demand. In spite of this, many more babies, many more children in Zambia were not as privileged or as lucky as these few, these 32.

Walking into the first nursery was an immediate assault on my hearing. Several babies screaming at unimaginably high decibels, all wanting nothing more than a confirmation of life, an intentional touch that conveyed care, love and acknowledged that they existed. But there was nothing that the caregivers could do. They each carried a child in a chitenge (a length of cloth) on their back and attended to the needs of another child.

I did the best I could. I held one child against my shoulder, another I laid along my legs and gently rocked, another I held up with my other hand while making faces at a fourth so as to keep him from crying. In spite of this, the heartbreaking sounds of many children crying continued to peal across the room. I held them, I rocked them, I touched them and I sang to them but I wasn’t enough. I wasn’t enough.

I did have one particularly profound experience at the House of Moses though. Three kids playing together, two girls and a boy. One of the girls was crying and so the other two took turns putting a toy in her mouth, simulating the action of feeding her. She wasn’t hungry though. I had just seen her being feed by a caregiver a short while earlier. It seemed instead that what she needed was the interaction, the human touch. It was moving to see three young nubile infants, espousing care, compassion and consideration for each other. It gave me hope.

While visiting, I wondered how much it would cost to buy 32 new pacifiers, so that each child could have something that belonged to them.¬† I know that pacifiers aren’t much but it’s a start.

I also wondered if we could find hands, seeking nothing for themselves, instead giving from the heart, giving of everything. Hands  touching, holding, and loving these children, showing them that they belong and there is a place in this world for them. Hands that gave them someone, and gave them a place. Hands that would give them everything.

It is hard to put to words my experience in that house. Hard to convey the churning in my heart, my feelings and emotions.

I know this though, I hope never to become insensitive to this. I hope it¬†always¬†breaks my heart and the pain never heals….

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