So far, I have written about some specific incidents and adventures since I have been in my sabbatical trip. So now I want to spend some time just describing life in Zambia.

First off, everyone is very friendly. Sometimes it can even be overwhelming how friendly folks are. Every day when we walk around (more on that later) we are greeted by and/or greet everyone we pass. It often goes something like this:

“Hello”
“Hi. How are you?”
“Fine, and you?”
“Good.”
“Have a good day.”
“You too.”

Note, in the above, fine is actually good, as is OK. So it will be strange being back home where those are usually reserved for when things aren’t so good.

Now, if there are children involved, high-fives are generally added to the routine. And this starts just down the street form us where the kids live there never seem to tire of them, even if we pass by 3 or 4 times in a day. As they spot us, they start jumping up and down, saying “high-five, high-five”, of course we oblige having them run out to the road and gather around us as we spread our high-fives around as evenly as possible.

The picture below is of the family after we also gave them some toys one day as we passed. That is followed by a shot a week or so later of one of the girls doing a great job with the jump rope that was part of what we distributed.

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You will probably notice in the picture that that road is pretty sandy. This is the case just about everywhere. Even the main roads have sandy shoulders, so every day my feet are a few shades darker between the time I get home and when I can wash them.

Given that I was in this neck of the woods last year, and it was sandy everywhere, I am not sure why I was surprised to find the same thing in Zambia (a.k.a. Sandbia – name thanks to Jeff, another volunteer who was here).

Every day when I get home, I have to dump the sand out of my shoes into the trash. And most of my socks have met with the dustbin since there are holes in the toes. Of course, the white ones are also now a shade of brown, even after washing. The first picture below is before washing and the second is after, my guess is that you really won’t notice the difference.

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So back to that walking thing. People here walk just about everywhere. Yes, there are taxis for longer trips, but by that I mean really longer. For example, the school where I am working is about 5 minutes away by taxi (I know because we took one on we when had a lot of things to bring as donations, including 3 globes). Yet normally we walk and that takes us 50-60 minutes each way. The way there is quite nice as it hasn’t gotten hot yet, and it is mostly down hill. The way home, on the other hand, slopes gently upwards most of the way, and as we are walking between 12:30 and 1:30 it is quite warm.

And the walking is quite nice, especially combined with the friendliness. You just don’t see that back home since folks just drive everywhere and don’t have the chance to greet others on a daily basis.

In addition to walking to and from the school everyday, I tend to walk to and from town at least a couple of times a week. And that is also about a 45 minute walk, each way. As you can see from the link below, the town itself is not that big, so once there, I often find that I am walking all the way through town to the ShopRite to buy some groceries. Food is included here, but sometimes you find that you are longing for something from home, for instance the kumquats that I found the other day.

http://www.maplandia.com/zambia/southern/livingstone/livingstone/

And there is the ever present water tower to find as a landmark close to home if you should ever feel the slight bit lost.

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But the best part of walking through town for groceries is stopping for gelato along the way. After burning off so many calories walking, it seems rightfully fair to indulge. And on top of that, the small serving is just a perfect small treat with two flavors. And very good flavors they are, and super fresh – a most amazing find so far from Italy.

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There is much more to tell, but I will save that for later when I share more details about life in the volunteer house as well as what it has been like to teach English here. So I will leave you with a parting shot of one of the sand roads near the volunteer house.

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Wendy

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