Wednesday, 12 August 2009

7-12th August

The last five days have certainly been eventful. When I left you last, we were going to head out to Raphodies which is a fancy resteraunt in Lusaka and then hit one of the night clubs. The meal was a complete success and everyone had a really good time and we were enjoying the night club until one of the girls was a victim of theft and had her camera and purse stolen. The purse wasn't the annoying thing, but the memory card of photos which are almost priceless in terms of memories. Anyway, we had a big cofuffle in the local police station with the guy accussed of stealing the belongings and eventually made it back to our beds at 4.00 in the morning.

Considering the late night, it would perhaps be forgiven of us to have a bit of a breather, but never the less, we were all up early and many of us were preparing to sample the experience of living in a rural community in the real Zambia. We made the journey from Lusaka to Kafue in one hour and arrived just before it was getting dark. Upon arrival, we were greeted by Emily, a friend of Kelvin’s, who had kindly arranged our stay for us.

Although Kafue is far less developed than most of Lusaka, it wasn’t the rural community we were going to experience on Sunday, only our place of rest for the night.

We were shown to our accommodation, one house for the girls and one for the boys, for the night and dropped off our belongings before heading out to visit the slums of Kafue, which approximately has 4,000 residents.

Once dark, we made the trek back to the girl’s quarters where the Zambians, all training to become Doctors, treated us to shima, soy and fish before saying good night and parting ways for the evening (but not before some cultural exchange in the form of Zambritish dancing!)

We were all up early at 6.00 to make the short voyage to one of the Catholic Churches in Kafue, where many projects involving children are run. One this particularly Sunday, an organised activities day had been planned for the children of Kafue which involved drama, games, music, and a service in the afternoon. We were then told we would be the special guests for the day and songs and dances had been prepared for us!

From the church, we arranged a bus to the rural community where the project was being held. As we made the trek, the level of development decreasing was clear as we passed tiny communities and significantly less electricity and modern technologies.

When we arrived we quickly started off with some Zambian games before our time had been come to be sang and danced to by the children. During the song, we were told us muzungos must dance in the middle, which, having seen African’s dancing, was a complete embarrassment!

We then led some games for the children including ‘Whats the time Mr Wolf?’, ‘British Bulldog’, ‘The ship is sinking’ and ‘Stuck in the mud’ before, with permission, we were allowed an insight into how rural this community really was.

We were shown inside a mud hut which had been constructed with empty tins of paint and then coated in mud and water until it dried. The hut is well made as in the summer it’s cool and doesn’t get too warm and has a removable straw roof which is changed during the wet season.

In terms of food, Shima is part of every meal, as it is in any Zambian’s and other foods include sugar canes, fish and chicken.

We then made a short journey down to the harbour to have a short look around and test out some of the local food catching techniques in one of the boats before heading back to enjoy some food which had been kindly prepared for us by the ladies of the church.
After lunch, it was time for the church service and we were kindly allowed to see the first ten minutes which involved much singing from the children before having to jump on the bus back to Kafue and then back to Lusaka. Overall, the weekend was a really interesting insight into how the real Africa gets by and made us all appreciate how fortunate we really were.

We then made the trek back to Lusaka and endulged in some British football in the form of Chelsea v Man U, which turned out to be a suprisingly good game in the company of a couple of Castle largers. Happy days.

After we returned back to the house, there was a British roast awaiting us made by the rest of the group which had been made for the Zambians who had made a traditional Zambian meal for us a week before. There was certainly no caterpillars this time round.

On Monday I was shown round Muvi TV's, (Zambia's first independent TV Station) home base which was really interesting. It's actually more advanced than you would imagine and very insightful considering I've never seen inside a TV Station.

And that's about as far as I've got, in terms of my work here in Zambia, I'm currently working on the Sport In Action Website - - and creating a database of photos for the two NGOs. On Friday, I will interview 4 girls who are part of the Zambian ladies football team who have recently returned from Norway.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Next Installment ( I forget what day I'm on )

OK, so it was only actually a couple of days since the last post, but already, so much has happened....again!

After the long weekend of doing very little, we felt we owed it to ourselves to get dinner out as a group and treated ourselves to a meal at O'Hagans, which is the Irish bar at one of the Shopping Arcades in Lusaka, Manda Hill.

The food was absolutly delicious and was nice to have a steak and cheese baguette with chips! Beautiful! During the day, I had finished working on redesigning the Sport In Action Newsletter and felt happy with the end product which looked a lot better than it had originally.

That was pretty much the extent of Tuesday, but Wednesday is when it all picked up. In the morning I just went into the office for a meeting with the man who runs and manages the Sport In Action Website and just as he was about to show me how to edit it all, we had a power cut, which wasn't restored till 4 that afternoon meaning no work whatsoever could be done meaning I had the opportunity to go for a roam.

One of the ladies at the offices, Francine offered to help me find a Zambian football shirt in town and so the pursuit began. It was incredibly hard to find the offical replica kit and we scanned the streets being offered everything on show! You can find absolutly anything you could possibly need in town, but we had no joy when it came to something offical and authenic! Anyway, we went into this shop called Axis and the owner said if I came back at 4 he might be able to help me out.

Kelch had previously told me that I could get the shirts from the shop and that the owner was the manager of the National team and so when I returned at 4 I asked the man if he was the owner - and to my suprise he was! It was so strange to just bump into the manager of a national team - you wouldn't exactally find Capello working in Matalan! Anyway, we had a good chat and managed to get a photo and such is the manner in Zambia, he sold me one of the shirts he had managed to find me and chucked in a free penant. I think I will go back and ask him if he wants to join us for dinner one night - which would be incredibly cool!

That really made my day and was chuffed with the shirt. It was also a good day because I had bumped into some TV show producers who were out getting an interview at EduSport and offered me the chance to go to their studio and possibly get interviewed (which would be very cool!). Francine has also made me a small receipe book of traditional Zambian meals which made it a very good day all round (other than the lack of productivity).

Thursday was also a good day, but again of little productivity because of another power cut throughout the day. However, I had previously agreed to make Shepards Pie for Cecherine as she had made me shima on Monday and thought it would be nice to treat the peer leaders at Kalingalinga (one of the placements) to some traditional English food - which I think they really really enjoyed which was pleasing. I spent the day in Kalingalinga just soaking up some Zambian culture watching the local football team training and making some more Chimbonas (the plastic bag balls) before returning back to the house to make dinner for the rest of the grouip - the spaghetti bolongese also went quite well which was suprising more than anything.,

Strangely enough, when asking for directions, I bumped into a kids TV show presenter who said I could come to their studio as well just proving it's not what you know, but who you know! Shame all these good contacts are in Zambia!

Anyway, thats all for now - tonight we are going out for Dinner as it's Kerry's (one of the staff members) last nights here before hitting one of the local night clubs - which could be interesting!

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

A Muzungo In Zambia - Days whenever to 20!

OK so on Sunday after the eight hour trip back from Livingstone, we arrived back to our house in Lusaka to another surprise. Basically, the landlord had evicted us and given us till Monday to move houses which was an absolute nightmare. That included moving all the furniture which belonged to Sport In Action (bunkbeds and such!).

It took us ages to gather everything and jump onto the truck to move to our new house which had previously belonged to a group of St Andrew students who had been working for Sport In Action. However, even though it took so much effort to move house, it was really worth it because the new house is absolutely huge! I’d like to think I’d become less indulgent and materialistic since my time in Zambia but it was such a big house it was amazing.

Because of all the faff of moving house, no body went to their placements they had been due to continue on and we went out to repair some hungry stomachs (it’s never a good idea to use the word starving in Africa…). We went to a café at Arcades which is where all the rich Zambian’s and murzungos hang out. After two weeks of African food, I found the most british meal on the menu I could find, Steak Pie and chips, beautiful!

In the evening we watched everyone’s videos from the Livingstone experience which included people jumping over the Zambezi river and the white water rafting.

On Tuesday I had a pretty blank schedule in terms of my media work so I went along to one of the placements in Kalingalinga (which has since become my favourite out of all the placements, mainly because of the awesome peer leaders). I watched Hayley and Rachael give some morning sessions before heading to the Sport In Action office to set up a meeting with George to discuss my work with the organisation and work out a schedule. Myself and Naomi then went to use the internet café at Arcades for the rest of the day so I could plan my presentation I was due to give to people at Sport In Action on Thursday.

On Wednesday I attended Charles’ football work shop which was really really good. It was obviously something he is very keen and dedicated about. He was very effective in getting his message about the purpose of each drill across to those doing the practical side of the workshop. After that I went to the office to work on Sport In Action’s first ever newsletter.

Thursday was my big day as I gave my presentation on journalism. Because of the convoluted nature of the British newspaper system and many language barriers I reframed from going in depth but spoke about the fundamentals of writing a story. I pointed out the inverted pyramid and the 5 W’s which are a necessity when reporting. I then involved a practical activity when those who attended split into two groups and designed their own newspaper front cover and opening two paragraphs to the same story, one in the style of a tabloid and one in that of a broadsheet to illustrate the differences. Apparently it was quite enjoyable and I got a sign of respect from the Zambians at the end which was very touching.

I went to Chawama in the afternoon to just have a look at the placement and watch a football game between some under 15s. The standard is very good, but that could be expected when children have nothing else but to play football 20 hours a day. I was absolutely assaulted by the children there and muzungos get surrounded. They all want to shake you hand and are content just running after you for an absolute age until they catch you. John got a great picture which he said make me look like Jesus…..his words.

In the evening it was mine and Gabby’s turn on the cooking rota so under inconvient circumstances we served up Stir Fry, which although not my favourite dish was actually pretty tasty and I can say that without sounding big headed because I didn’t actually do much other than cut up some onions, set the table and cook the noodles!

Friday was a really good day. Charles and I had been asked to tour round a Christian Radio Station out of the city which took a real mission to find I can tell you. Majery who we had met before showed us round and was a really good guide. It was really interesting to get an insight into the quality of the Media in Zambia. I can say without a shadow of a doubt that that radio station was a million times better than that of ours at Stirling, but then again, they have 13 full time employees and we are just student radio, but even the quality of the equipment and skilled technicians was really high! I did get my picture taken with the DJ who was on at the time and tried to get one with him with me holding a sign saying AIR3 – but I don’t think it came out very well.

I spent most of the working day trying to revamp the Sport In Action newsletter before we headed back to the house for our first big party which all the peer leaders were invited to. It was a really good evening with some Zambian tunes and dancing and gave us a good chance to get to know the peer leaders a little better – all of whom are amazing people. I intend to sponsor 2 for next year which to us is £60 each – but to them a potentially life changing chance.

On Saturday we attended a workshop being held by two of the girls at Kalingalinga on agility, balance and co-ordination. Afterwards we went to Arcades and just spent the day taking in some western culture which is sometimes needed. We relaxed by having a big lunch and hitting the cinema to see some predictable American rom com ‘Ghost of a Girlfriend’s past’ – which although predictable had some redeeming qualities and it was good to see some form of culture we are more use to (not to say it’s always such a good thing).

On the Sunday we hit the markets and got some more souvenirs and presents for back home before we went with Koh, a worker at Sport In Action to an all you can eat Indian meal for K23,000 (less than £3!). It was really good and as soon as you finished your curry they came round and filled up your plate with some more food. After the meal we hit Manda Hill which is another shopping mall. It was a bank holiday Monday because of Famer’s Day which is a national holiday. That meant over the weekend there was a huge agricultural show at the Show Ground which means it was a hot spot for theft. As soon as we got off the bus to go to Manda Hill, all muzungos were targeted and you could feel people rummaging through your pockets feeling for goods. It was a really horrible experience in which you just had to power your way through thefts. After those daunting moments we watched some English football at an Irish pub for the first time since we had been in the country. We met the rest of the group and found out we had a new pet rabbit which one of the staff members had bought from the show ground. In the evening it was Zambian Night which meant the Zambian people at Sport In Action came to our house and cooked traditional Zambian food including caterpillars, which were actually as disguisting as they sound. They had been fried but were ridiculously crunchy! Perhaps the taste wasn’t actually that bad on reflection, but it was the mere thought which turned my stomach as I chewed on them. Obviously this was served with Shima which I have since learnt how to cook! The rest of the food was really good and it was an enjoyable evening which we concluded by sitting around chatting about different things.

On Monday I had arranged to have lunch at one of the peer leader’s house for another conventional Zambian meal. When I got there I found out it was Cephil’s (the peer leader) mothers birthday! I had the meal with Cephil, her two sisters, her younger brother and her mother and it was really good to experience the good food in an authentic Zambian household. I learnt all about how marriage and dating were different in Zambia from what we are used to. Basically, you can date someone for around 4 months before you are expecting to marry them. When you do ask them to marry you, her parents will come and meet your family and ask questions and a deal is expected to be made. This can be done by trading money or even animals for their consent for their son to marry the daughter. Hopefully me referring to just men and women getting married hasn’t sounded narrow minded, as in Zambia, being gay is illegal and highly frowned upon.

Anyway, after the meal, I had felt bad about being invited to their house and having food without having a present for the mother, so bought her favourite, which is apparently chocolate ice cream. After this, we went down to the community pitch to watch a game between a couple of local teams. Then another of the peer leaders, James, taught me how to make a chimpomba which is an African football made of newspaper and heated plastic bags. I then was allowed to keep it and we are going to make some more on Thursday.

And so here we are, that was last Monday to this Monday, although all the days seem to merge into one! That’s all for now.