Ouch, my head – how much did I drink? Oh shit, I guess I forgot to use my mosquito net too.
One of the things (actually, possibly the only thing) I had forgotten to pack was diarrhoea pills. Oh well, I’ll just need to try and deal with it the best I can. Instead I packed loads of Anadin. I have never been more happy to take some painkillers albeit it was self inflected. Oh and the heat does not help.
Shoutout to the American chick I met at the bar last night – she’s been living in Zambia for a few years volunteering in the American Peace Corps – that’s pretty cool. She was as wild as I imagined Americans to be! (Oh and thanks for giving me a cold slice of pizza for tea!)
Oh – this is Wednesday’s blog – sorry – flashbacks!
Today I am travelling from Lusaka (the capital city) to Ndola which is in the Copperbelt. I’ve heard Ndola isn’t really a tourism destination, mainly because there is nothing to see!
After having a shower I packed my things and my driver arrived to pick me up. He had just driven for 4.5 hours to pick me up – that’s crazy and I am so thankful (I don’t think I am quite ready for public transport yet!)
I should add at this point that I was hoping he would have been late. I needed a coffee and some fuel – food. Honestly because I have been ill since yesterday I reckon I am at least a stone lighter (keep dreaming Cam!)
And so – to the shopping mall. It was huge – I thought I had teleported and ended up in Braehead. It is a huge contrast to other buildings I had seen on my journey so far, outside the sun is melting your face then you are in a facility you would see back home. Guess what? They have Woolworths here, who would have thought they were still on the go after the financial crash.
Now, we all know that the BBC has been struggling recently – financially. Well as I am walking through the mall towards the Restrooms (yes, that’s what they are called here) I pass a shop called…. BBC One. I had to take a photo of it. Look! I actually want to know what it stands for – it’s certainly not the BBC I/we all know.
One of the things I had been worrying about on this trip was money – in Scotland I was unable to obtain any Kwacha – so opted for some USD just to keep me going. Anyway, I had notified my bank that I would be using my card and I was unsure if it would actually work what would I do if it didn’t? I would be absolutely screwed!
(Thankfully after finding a bank machine – it worked, nothing to worry about!)
Remember earlier when I mentioned not using my mosquito net? Well, apparently in Lusaka the mosquitos aren’t malaria carriers but using a net is recommended. However, in my next destination it is very possible of contracting it so I will make sure I use my net there!
I am taking my medication as required. However, something crossed my mind, what do locals do? Are they immune? Do they take a pill daily?
Well, having asked someone I can confirm people here can and do contract malaria. Apparently on average you will get it on average at least once a year. These guys aren’t constantly on mediation either – they are just very aware of the symptoms and self medicate with whatever can be sourced from the drug store. Apparently though, malaria here is gradually decreasing. Also because people here get malaria on a regular basis it doesn’t affect them in the same way as it would me, they build a slight resistance I guess but still needs to be treated. Death is still possible.
So yeah, we still haven’t left Lusaka and I am still laughing at the shop signs, one is called Zesco. Zesco? That sounds familiar I wonder whether this is a Zambian Tesco? I would really love to know. (It turns out Zesco is the Zambian energy board and the shops I keep seeing is for people to pay their energy bills and speak to customer services).
The distance between the two cities is crazy, hundreds and hundreds of KM lie in-between.
What a journey it was. If the Zambia tourism board are reading this, brand it as something similar to Route 66. It is a cool drive, looking at the scenery and discussing some cultural differences between our home countries.
Now, the guy driving me is the son of a local Reverend and he was asking when I had last went to church. Erm, a decade ago.
This country is really religious, on the road to Ndola there were homemade signs positioned along the road promoting the good word of god and Jesus. I read somewhere that 80% of the country are Christians and on the radio I heard the Zambian president announcing an upcoming national day where all Zambians were encouraged to fast and pray to help tackle the countries problems. I asked a few people about whether they would participate and they all said yes!
I was questioned more about religion. Anyone back in Scotland would recognise congregation numbers on a Sunday is very low which has resulted in churches being sold, converted into apartments or churches joining forces. For arguments sake lets say around 20 people attend (I’ve heard of less), well here in Zambia? Hundreds and thousands of people go to church and regularly.
Today allowed me to think of my relationship with God. Now, I should point out I am not religious – I’m not really sure what I believe in – science? When I was younger I use to go to church, actually I went on two summer bible camp retreats in Southhampton when I was a kid. Anyway, well this isn’t the forum for me to go all philosophical and write all my pinhead thoughts about religion. However, today I prayed before a meal and you know what? It felt good. Wherever I turn I keep getting religion thrusted upon me, one thing that really emphasised how strong people’s faith is – recently a group of senior reverends got together and prayed together. They prayed for rain. Rain. There is a good reason for it, Ndola (and well, Zambia) gets a lot of their power from dams which generate electricity. The electricity here has been cutting out during the day due to water becoming dangerously low. And guess what? On the 9th September it rained, isn’t that nice? It made me smile hearing this. And I guess in away restored some of my faith.
Now back to the journey the driver has an interesting career – he is a cabbage farmer, runs a media business and wait for it – a local radio presenter! He does a show on Sun FM every Tuesday & Thursday called Rising From the Ashes and he’s going to record one for the Bolt FM website!
One thing I discovered yesterday is Africa is big, well massive and it is being reinforced today driving for hours and hours. I had planned on going on Safari in Livingstone were I am travelling to on Friday but it will take around 10 hours to get there! Jeezo, when I get there it will be time to come back to Lusaka. Hopefully it provides me with an opportunity to explore it – it’s a complete maze Lusaka, it doesn’t have any reference points like other (capital) cities e.g tube stations, local bus stops, huge buildings, etc. All the streets look the same.
My new friend, the cabbage farmer, has invited me into his radio station tomorrow – I am really looking forward to it. I am hoping that I will be interviewed on the station about the project I am here to do. Speaking of interviewing, a journalist from the Times of Zambia is coming to interview me about the radio station and linking up with Bolt FM back home in Glasgow. I really hope the article is published while I am here, that would be pretty cool.
So that’s Wednesday, you are probably wondering why this post is called “Is that a grape in my salad?”. I had an “insane-which” – not my joke, which came with a salad that contained something which looked really like dark grapes. What was is….. *Drum roll please*
Who would have know, now I look like an absolute moron. Perhaps, I should eat more healthily when I return home and I would know these things. Anyway, it’s 19.27 here and I am starving, I have been advised not to walk the streets here after dark so here is hoping my lift arrives soon. Otherwise I will need to leave and go in search of food!
(Hope you’re enjoying the blogs, I’ve missed writing!)