It’s been about a week since my last blog and everyone is firmly settled into their placements. They’ve had over a week worth of day’s at their sites, coaching sports, leading school PE sessions and taking education classes about HIV and AIDs.
A lot has happened since my last update. For starters, I’ve just got back from the first of three trips to Livingstone, home to one of the world’s seven wonders, the Victoria Falls.
Hayley unfortunately was unable to come on the trip because she was required to lead Netball workshops in Chipata, around 7 hours away from Lusaka. Me being soley responsible for 11 other individuals sounds a little daunting, but it was fine (I say that, but you’re probably better off asking one of the guys for an unbiased opinion), if maybe a little stressful at times.
I managed to arrange transporting with my good friend Wiseman, whom I met last year on the trip. He charged us 3.2million Kwacha for a return trip, that’s about £450 between 12 people, which is pretty reasonable (Livingstone is an 8 hour bus journey).
He’s a good friend, such a good friend, that when I found out he had a new born baby (only 4 days old at the time), he decided he was going to name him after me. Therefore, Wiseman’s new child is named Andrew, which to be honest, is just going to look out of place on the register at his school – but Wise didn’t seem to care!
Everyone in Zambia likes to know the meanings of songs and various words so he was quite happy when I said Andrew was a Greek name meaning a leader of men – however I had to use myself as a living example of how meanings don’t always transfer into reality. When he told me his plans, it was probably one of the happiest moments of my life – I say this full in the knowledge of the risk of sounding soppy. He’s promised to bring him round to the Wallace house shortly so I can meet him, so I’ll have a picture for the next blog.
The rest of the trip was good, I had taken part in all the real touristy activities when I was on the project last year, so spent most of the time relaxing at Jollyboys, officially one of the world’s best backpackers. I did however go back to the waterfalls, it was Wiseman’s first time in Livingstone so I wanted him to see it – he got really excited by it. The picture below is the two of us with his friends that travelled with us.
We walked around the falls, got very wet from the spray and then walked down to boiling point – which is the bottom of the falls.
I got this picture of the bridge people bungee jump off – much to Wiseman’s disbelief. Two of Zambian’s biggest fears? Heights and water…
Lots of people went and did safari and white water rafting as well – but I was more than happy taking pictures of this monkey I found.
I spent the rest of the day lounging around the backpackers soaking up the Zambian sunshine. Pretty sure I’ll be bored of the place by the end of the 3rd trip! However, when the 3rd group do arrive, the water levels in Livingstone and at the falls will be lower, which will mean me and Hayley will be able to try out Devil’s Pool – a little area right next to the edge of the top of the falls you can swim in.
I do sometimes find it hard to experience the very tourist orenitated Livingstone in between experience the depths of deprivation in areas of Lusaka, but you can’t really go to Zambia and not see the falls – it’s almost a crime.
Since the last blog, I’ve also seen my friend Vince who took me along to the new Lusaka Youth Development Olympic complex near the compound of Chipata. The complex was created with the pure intention of training children in Lusaka in Olympic sports whilst also educating them in the process. The complex is astounding and has facilities we’d be proud of in 1st world countries.
I joined in with one of Vince’s basketball sessions and just proved how epically unfit I was getting knackered within the space of 10 minutes. This is one of the things Greg pointed out to me when he first saw me again 3 weeks ago – “Andrew, you’ve put on weight” (dumbo is the word for a little portly in Nanja) , this was then repeated by pretty much the population of Lusaka – but 4 months of nshima and basketball sessions should put me in good stead.
Often when you’re visiting a placement, the peer leaders who work for the two NGOs will very kindly invite you round to their place for lunch. I’m already a big fan of nshima so I’m always keen to take them up on the offer. However, as I’m sure my parents will back up, my last attempts to make nshima last time didn’t go too well as it just looked like soggy porridge (I suppose porridge is always soggy really). So I’m practicing my nshima technique and will have another bash for folk when I’m back. I’ve splashed out on a Zambian cook book too so people should be excited for caterpillas and rats when I’m back (jokes, it will be nshima and sweet potatoes with peanut butter).
A sneaky wee snap of me stirring the nshima for the day.
I’m actually really enjoying the food out here. I thought I’d miss food from home, but the chicken here is just so good it’s not an issue at all – although I might have changed my mind after 3 months.
Today as a thank you to Greg, Kelch and Paul (who all work at EduSport) I took them for lunch at a marketplace restaurant near the office. It was 6,000Kwacha (around 80p each) for nshima, the best chicken I’ve ever tasted with cabbage and gravy. It was amazing. Afterwards, they bought Boel (fellow Stirling Media student) and I fruit and sugar canes to complete a true Zambian lunch. I wasn’t such a fan of the sugar cane and having to tear it open with my teeth. I felt like, and apparently, looked like a panda wrestling with it before attempting to eat it.
My Dad found an interesting article in the Guardian about the company Alive and Kicking – situated in Zambia – and forwarded it to me. They make footballs, employing disabled people to help offer them a source of income when it can be very hard. Sport in Action and EduSport both buy all their footballs from the company – so here’s a little picture of one of their balls to finish with.
If you search for them online, you’ll easily find their website. There’s a link to famous people that endorse and use their footballs across the world. There’s a picture of Obama alongside no other than Robert Green – no doubt that will not be there in a couple of weeks! Unless they’re trying to prove their products aren’t goalkeeper friendly.