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.

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