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One very special afternoon during my stay in Zambia was spent visiting two local villages. And the best part about it was that instead of doing it as a tour such as https://www.afrizim.com/Activities/Livingstone/Village_Tour.asp, we worked with a local from one of the villages whom we met at his stall in the Mukuni market in Livingstone (http://www.zambia-advisor.com/mukuni-park-curio-market.html).

So, that day, after we were done with our volunteer work, we headed to the market to meet up with Oliver who would both arrange a ride for us to the villages and come with us to guide us and introduce us to people there.

And the adventure started with the ride, we somehow fit 9 people in a taxi made for 6, and headed out of town. Of course, since we we over the passenger limit we needed to take a detour almost immediately to avoid a traffic inspection point. This involved driving down some very sandy roads which would have been much better handled by a safari jeep, of course that would have cost us a lot more.

Once we were back on the main road it didn’t take us long to reach the turn off for the village, ands although we were now close to our destination, the rest of the way was more sandy roads so the small distance left took more time that we had already travelled. And the overloaded car struggled a bit as well, with the bumper coming off a few times. Of course, the driver only saw this as a small problem.

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Before reaching the first village, we stopped at the dry river bed, a sign of just how bad the water situation is these days in the area.

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I that same area, land was being actively burned in order to make it easier for the villagers to hunt. I really want to do more research into this technique to see if there is some upside to this that they are reaping without knowing about it, such as aiding in the germination of certain seeds in the same way that certain pine seeds are only propagated after a forest fire causing the need for controlled burns or the way prairies need to burn on a regular basis to stay healthy, again calling for assistance now that many natural sources of such fires have been removed.

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Upon reaching the village we were quite surprised to find that they had prepared lunch for us, I can’t even try to tell you how amazing this is, since they have so little and yet they were so open to sharing what they have. In addition, the food pretty much worked a miracle, my stomach had been off all morning and I hadn’t been able to eat much, but this food, super natural, was a quick cure, and I was able to eat everything that they offered. It was quite a welcome change from all of the highly processed, preservative ladder foods I had been eating for the past weeks.

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After the meal, we were presented with an interactive demo of how they make the products that they eat. Starting with cord, they shuck it, then grind it multiple times, removing the husks at each step, to yield various products that can be cooked in different ways. The two main items that are produced from the corn are nshima (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nshima), pronounced shee-mah which is formed into a cake like dish which is in a way similar to polenta and another where the grains remain more recognizable.

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Generally, in Africa, maize is used as a fairly nutritious staple (http://www.africanfoods.co.uk/maize-flour.html).

In addition, we got to just observer village life and meet a few very new villagers, yes those two girls are twins!

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After this, we walked to another area of the village, which gave us a sense of just how remote we were, and also showed us more how friendly these people are.

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And how self-sufficient they are.

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After this, we headed to another, large village where we meet more friendly people going about their daily tasks.

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Of course, it was a lot easier to meet folks when most of them are related to your guide. If I remember correctly, Oliver had 24 brothers and sisters, some of whom he didn’t know since they were children of one of his father’s other two wives rather than his mom’s.

Finally, it was time to leave, and we had a great parting sunset as we made it back out to the main road.

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The same weekend that I went to the church service, a few of us headed to a local dance presentation on Saturday. We had heard about it from other volunteers and wanted to check it out to both get more of a feeling of the local culture and to do something that wasn’t very expensive.

We headed there a bit early, since we had heard that there was a market next to it that was only open before the show. As it was a very small market, we had quite some time to kill before the presentation actually started.

But first, we needed to get our tickets. This was a bit of a challenge, because we had also heard, that as volunteers, we could get in for half price. Of course the woman selling the tickets didn’t want to honor this at first, but we eventually convinced her to give us the reduced rate.

Even after that, we had some time to wait, and we did so as the only people in the theatre.

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Even as the performers were warming up, nobody else was coming in, making us wonder if we were going to have a private show.

Eventually, a few other folks wandered in, and interestingly, continued to wander in throughout most of the show.

Since I don’t know the significance of any of the dances, I am just including some of the best pictures below.

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I wish I could add commentary as to the meaning of each of the dances we saw, but nothing like that was provided. I did find this link (
http://kamangadance.blogspot.fr/2009/08/description-and-demonstration-of_27.html) but I am not sure if any of what is described matches what we saw.

However, I do want to share one particular story. Shortly after this dancer picked up the pot in his teeth as shown below, he lay down on the stage and put the pot on his stomach. Then another dancer took a very large pole and slammed it into the pot. Later, during our village tour we would see that this was a step in converting corn into nshima.

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The next part though is the most interesting as the other dancers came into the audience to get “volunteers” to perform the same act. And somehow, probably since I was wearing my chetenga, I was selected. I tried to get out of it, but my “friends” wouldn’t let me and I wound up on stage hammering this large pole into the pot. I tried to be gentle as it was a very strange feeling.

I don’t have any photos of me in action for this as one of the folks I was with filmed the event on my camera as a video, and I can’t add that to this blog. But I do have this one taken as I was heading towards the stage.

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Also of interest, was a small girl who was doing her best to imitate the dancers. I am sure I couldn’t do it as well as her, as the isolations that they do in this style of dance are remarkable. I have no idea how they can shake their butts like that without moving anything else. I guess, if you learn it as a kid, you just know how to do it.

Previously I wrote about how I walked just about everywhere in Zambia, including to and from the school where I was working. But I didn’t include the photos of that route, so this post will give you an idea of what that daily walk was like.

Since school started at 8:30, and the walk could take up to an hour, this meant that it was necessary to be out the door around 7:30. The good part about that was that it was still fairly cool as the sun was just starting to heat things up for the day.

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The first part of the journey was down this sandy side road, until reaching the corner where this partially completed house was a guide guidepost for finding the turn back later in the day.

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Upon turning onto the main road, the surface changed dramatically, as did the traffic, as large trucks would come whizzing past often. Thankfully, normally we walked on the other side of the drainage ditch, only vying for space with the trucks when we wanted to hail a taxi.

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And, for the trip to school, we were only on this road for about 10 minutes (when going to town we stayed on it all the way there). The next step was to take a right, and cross the road (nowhere near as daunting as in India) at the aforementioned water tank.

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We then were on a quieter road, though it did have its traffic, including folks who liked to go very fast, thus getting slowed down on various speed bumps along the way. And our next right turn could easily be identified by the car wash on the corner.

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After this, we had another decent walk before coming to our next right turn at a corner that for some reason that we never discovered, could be flooded by running water despite it being dry season. Of course, both of these last two roads, not being main roads, were not quite as well paved as this shot close to that sometimes water turn shows.

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We then had a short jog before a left turn that was just before the sign above the road that sent folks on their way as they headed to the airport hopefully after a wonderful stay.

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At this point, we had another good walk before getting to the final stages of the trip. And this turn was marked with a sign for Gloria’s Bed and Breakfast, easy to remember things that have the same name as a friend.

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Although, by turning right again, we headed on the opposite direction. And here things changed again as there as a little bridge that went over a swampy area where by then end of my stay had me being accompanied by a chorus of frogs. They were singing so much, they almost sounded like woodpeckers sometimes.

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At this point, we just had to head past the barbershop to our next right which was onto the road where the school was located.

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So, while maybe not as memorable as “turning left at oblivion and right at the cow” in India, but noting the route markers during the walk to the school on first day proved to be helpful in the coming weeks.

I must admit, when I first looked at the activity list for weekend excursions while I was in Zambia, the whitewater raft trip was not high on the list. My thought process was that I have done that elsewhere and could spend my money on better more local things.

Boy am I glad I was convinced otherwise. The rafting trip was the best I have ever done, and the rapids were so much more intense than anything I had seen before.

The trip consisted of 25 rapids, technically 24 since one was a class VI (http://wildwater.com/rafting-lingo/) and thus we had to portage around it. We tackled 10 of them, including the portage one, before lunch, and the rest after.

Before we set out, we were fitted with safety gear and given an overview of what to expect and how to stay safe. While all of this was good information, it also served as a means to increase the anxiousness factor.

For more information on each of these rapids, you can check out http://www.zambezirafting.com/livingstone-zambia/zambezi-river-rapid-guide.html. However, not all of the rapids are in there, so you might have to look elsewhere as well. But, if for no other reason, take a look to see the names folks have given to these rapids, and imagine hearing those names as you are about to enter into one challenging it to let you stay afloat.

I don’t have a lot of photos, since I have them on a thumb drive and can’t load that onto my iPad, but I was able to have someone send the following to me.

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Of course I don’t know where each of these were taken, so I will just have to summarize the trip in words.

We started at the Boiling Pot, after hiking down to it, clothed in life vests and helmets, with paddles in tow. After getting into our rafts and balancing our weight we pushed off to get a briefing from our guide of what he would be telling us to do over the next few hours.

We went over paddling, both forwards and backwards ad how to throw our weight around the raft when needed. But most importantly, as you might be able to see from the photos above, we went over the “down” command, which meant to get into the raft and hold on to the attached rope as we were about to bit hit by a wave and possibly tossed upside down.

After that it was time to tackle rapid #1 – The Wall. Before this and every other rapid, our guide would brief us on what to expect, down to the specific commands he expected to give. So we, or at least I, put nervousness aside, and we took on the challenge. And it was good, we stayed upright and had a fun ride, getting a bit close to the edge of the canyon, but didn’t suffer any scrapes or scratches.

The story wasn’t quite the same for rapid #2 – The Bridge, aptly named as it is right under the famous bridge connecting Zambia and Zimbabwe, that has sent many thrill seekers plummeting via bungee jumping and gorge swinging. Somehow, despite this being a class III rapid, well maybe III+, we flipped. In a way this was good, as it got it over with early in so I wasn’t nervous about it happening. And it really wasn’t that bad, I was able to hand onto the raft, and was not one of the folks who wound up in the air pocket under it, so all I had to do was hang on as we continued floating, fast, downstream, until the guide could help me back into the raft. This stunt, got us the name, Zambezi Rove Swimming Team, from one of the other guides,

After this, we did fairly well on the next few rapids, and never flipped again for the rest of the trip. That said, we did almost flip with the raft getting up online side and thus dumping most of us out once, and a few folks getting bounced out on a later rapid. However, if you look at the video of this, it almost looks as of they dove out on purpose. I can’t recall exactly which rapids these happened on, and just like I can’t get to the photos, I can’t see the video right now to check. Once I am home, I may remember to update this post with these details.

As for that class VI rapid, I recall it being a proper waterfall instead of a rapid, and am very glad we had to walk along side it. For that matter, one of the rafts that was sent over it empty, flipped of its own accord.

After the portage, only rapid #10 – The Gnashing Jaws Of Death remained before lunch. Well, there was also a chance to jump off of one off the rocks along the shore, but I opted not to do so given how much I really dislike heights.

Lunch was quick, but a good chance to get some food and reapply the sunblock before heading off to conquer 15 more rapids. While his may sound like quite the challenge, in reality most of the hard ones were behind us. There was a least one class IV left, but no more class V ones. And for part of the time e had a long stretch with no rapids where we tethered two rafts together and were able to drift along without helmets.

But that isn’t to say that it wasn’t fun. Some of the class III ones were fairly challenging and gave us a good soak. Plus, we were able to swim rapid #24, a class I rapid, and that was quite an experience. Thankfully nobody spotted the crocodile on shore until after we had done this.

All in all it was a great experience, and I highly recommend it to anyone who is ever I the area. And if you are, make sure to do it soon, as there is apparently quit a lot of activity around adding a dam to the river to generate electricity, and this would wipe out quite a number of the rapids (http://www.canoekayak.com/news/environment/proposed-zambezi-river-dam-puts-prime-stretch-whitewater-risk/). I really hope that a better solution can be found, as I would like to think that we have finally figured out that messing with Mother Nature does not pay off.

It seems that no matter where one goes I the world, shopping is part of any trip. And despite having very full bags, there was no exception to that rule in Zambia. I had to be good, and severely limit my purchases, but that didn’t mean that I didn’t look around and experience the various offerings.

The first market that one finds in Livingstone is the Mukuni market. It is where the folks from the surrounding villages sell there artistic goods.

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With 50 individual stalls, there are many opportunities to buy, as well as many vendors vying for your attention to purchase their goods over somebody else’s. However, when you need change and they don’t have it, there always seems of be a sister or an aunt nearby that can help. Sometimes they have change, but other times they try to get you to take more things home with you instead of providing the money.

Not too far away from Mukuni is a more local market with things folks need on a daily basis, as well as many shops with backpacks and purses, and some with hardware items. I didn’t shop there often, but it was always interesting to wander through that street to get a feel for the local vibe.

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For anything that I wanted to buy to supplement the food provide at the volunteer house, I would generally go to ShopRite. There were two of them, and the one that we frequented was quite new and very large with a fantastic selection.

Other than these places, on two occasions a group of us set on to find a specific vendor or market.

The first of these forays was to find the friend of one of the workers in the house who made some quite nice beaded jewelry and a few other similar things. Getting there was a challenge given that the hand drawn map we were following wasn’t quite to scale.

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But the walk was interesting, allowing us to see a new area of the town, and thus giving us more of a feel of local life. This was especially so since here we saw many less taxis as just about everyone was walking to get where they needed to be.

In the end we found it and bought many of the things he had. By the time we finished making our purchases, we were surrounded by 10-15 kids bouncing on tires with excitement of seeing 3 mzungus in their neighborhood.

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He also sold his paintings, but given the lack of wall space that I have back home, I avoided buying these there or at any of the other markets.

The other spot that we visited was another local market, Maramba.

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Similar to the local market I mentioned earlier, this market had many things folks would need on a daily basis.

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In addition, and the main reason we went there, they sell chitenge (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kitenge) very cheap there. For example, the cheapest ones are 7-8 kwacha there and 30 or more pat Mukuni, depending on your bargaining skills.

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Since I don’t plan on wearing these back home as designed, the less expensive, synthetic, ones will be turned into other clothing items and the more expensive, silkier ones will be used as scarves.

In the end, I don’t think I bought too much, for a change, and was able to get everything into my bags for the trip onward.

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

Since I kept past weekend as a low key one, mostly hanging around the volunteer house, it made sense to check out a local church on Sunday morning. Having gotten a recommendation from one of the folks running the program here, one of the other volunteers and I headed off to what was supposed to be a 3 hour service (8:30 – 11:30). At the exit of our property, we met up with a local who we had connected with the week before in a walk into town and headed to Calvary Pentecostal Church (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Calvary-Church/245315085564239).

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Due to a bit of slow walking we got there closer to 8:40. And due to a schedule change, that was about 40 minutes after the service had been scheduled to begin. We don’t know when it actually began since things here tend to start a bit later than advertised.

Given this, the singing was already moving full steam ahead, with a choir backing a leader and just about everyone in the congregation on their feet singing along if they knew the words. So we found some spots and joined in, clapping, raising our hands, and even singing when we were able to figure out the words after a few choruses.

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All of this of course was accompanied by a small band.

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Around 9:15, it was time for the preacher to take over and give his first message but as he stared, he wasn’t getting quite the response he wanted, so he turned things back over to the choir for one more song before delivering his message.

After reading the scripture (Luke 9:57-62) which was translated as he read into Nyanja, he spoke about the importance of prayer, tying the message into another change they were making in their service to have a prayer meeting during the 7-8 hour every Sunday before the 8-9 worship portion of the service.

After speaking for quite some time, if I recall right it was about 45 minutes, he transitioned into leading us into a call and response prayer. This was followed by another round of music and then a second message.

During the second message, I don’t recall the scripture on which it was based, he relayed a great story about an older man named Charlie, who as a birthday present was given the gift of his first airplane flight. And how after the flight, when replying to a question of whether or not he had been afraid, Charlie simply stated that he had never out all of his weight on the seat. The preacher used this as an illustration of how people often don’t put all of their trust in God.

As the time reached past 11 during this second message, and it was getting quite warm in the building, he asked if folks were hot, and promised to stop speaking after one more point. After probably another 15 minutes or so, he finally turned things over to announcements.

While most of the announcements were not that applicable to visitors, one that was quite sweet was the recognition of the birthday of the woman who tracks everyone else’s birthdays by calling her forward and presenting her with a cake.

Of course this was followed by more singing before we headed home pretty close to noon, if I recall correctly.

All in all, it was a great experience. However, I do appreciate the shorter services we have at home. That said, a few days after this, we were talking to one of the staff members where we are staying, and he said that his Sunday service is 8 hours long. They have the same singing and preaching, and then they pray for every member of the congregation. Compared to that, 3 seems quite short.

With the first week (well partial week due to the holiday and orientation) of volunteering behind me, it was time to play tourist for the weekend with some fellow volunteers. Given his much I enjoyed all of my safari excursions last year, it made sense to jump right in and head to Chobe located in Botswana.

In order to get to and across the border with time for a boat cruise before lunch, we needed to be up just as early as on a work day as our van was scheduled to leave between 6:15 & 6:30. The driver was a bit late, but I think all 13 of us were squished into a 9 passenger van and on the road by 7.

The boarder crossing was essay, but a bit different than when we came in from Zimbabwe last year. This time we had to exit Zambia, then get a ferry across the river where we met our guides who drove us the short distance to border control in Botswana. First there was an initial check of our passports to make sure we had not been to any countries with diseases they are trying to keep out of Botswana, then we got our official passport stamps. Just like last year, we needed to “clean” the bottoms of our shoes in some pretty mucky looking water.

After a short drive, we reached a lodge where we had a quick snack compete with real coffee and real milk – decadence after a week of instant coffee with milk powder. Soon after that we boarded a small boat and headed out into the Chobe River.

Many of the animals were the same as what I saw last year, but it is always interesting to try to add to the list as well as see the same creatures doing different things. He memorable sights of this part of the trip were

  • the elephant crossing
  • hippos lounging in the mud
  • a baby crocodile
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    And of course thee were plenty of fish eagles.

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    We then headed back to the lodge for lunch where we all gorged ourselves, most of us hitting the main buffet twice and the dessert bar at least once. After a week of white bread for breakfast, and launchers full of processed carbs such as white rice and pasta we welcomed those vegetables and feta cheese, and the meat eaters among us welcomed those selections as well. I particularly liked the warthog stew and also found the fish quite nice as I hadn’t has any for a while.

    After lunch we split into two safari land vehicles and headed out over land for more adventures. Some of the memorable moments of the afternoon were

  • the elephant greeting
  • a baby monkey
  • lots of kudu
  • warthogs sunbathing
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    But the best was left for last. With sunset fast approaching, and a need to be off of the roads by dark, our guide somehow, with his years of experience, found some lions. We saw five of them, a single female first, and then a group of four. Later we found out that they we’re part of a pride of 8.

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    Because of the time, we were only able to snap a few quick pics before heading to our campsite. Yes, those of you who traveled with me last year read right, campsite. The kind with real tents and food cooked over a fire that I recall saying I would never stay in on a safari a little over a year ago. We did have guides with us, so it wasn’t the self camp thing, but I must admit I was a bit nervous before hand about sleeping out in the wild.

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    Dinner was excellent and the campfire was delightful. But at 10 PM it was time to settle in for the night, bundling up to try to stay warm. Surprisingly I slept OK, we did have some mattress pads provided so we weren’t sleeping right on the tent floor. But around 4 AM I woke up cold and hearing something howling outside (later I found out it was a hyena) and am glad I didn’t know that at the time. Of course, even without this, there was no way I was going to get up to use the “facilities” until it started to get light.

    After a quick and light meal it was back I to the vehicles for a morning game drive. Where, amazingly, we saw more lions. This time we even saw another nursing to her cubs, very special.

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    And a lion greeting.

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    The other main sightings of the morning were lack backed jackals and of course numerous lilac breasted rollers.

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    We returned to camp for an early lunch during which we were graced by elephants right on the outskirts of the site and a striped kingfisher, who at first seemed out of place since we were quite far form water, but it turns out that this one eats insects.

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    After lunch we were back on the road for a bit more than four more hours during which we saw a tawny eagle almost carry away a francoline, but the eagle was young so its lunch got away.

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    We also saw plenty more zebra, elephants, giraffes, and different types of antelope, as well as an osprey who was migrating through at this time of year.

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    Most memorable during the afternoon was the moment at the end where we saw two young male giraffes mock sparring, with the young female standing nearby looking as if she just didn’t understand the guys – after all, boys will be boys.

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    And, even with the camping, and the hyenas, I will be going back to Chobe one more time before I leave Africa.

    Some of the most memorable parts of last years trip to Africa (other than the animals of course)’ were the sundowners. For these, we would stop mid-game drive, and be servers an array of drinks and light snacks as the sun went down. So it is no surprise that sunsets are already playing a big role in my current stay here as well.

    Towards the end of my first week in Zambia, I headed to the sunset tree with a few other volunteers. It was a pretty cool experience to climb up a ladder to watch the sunset for the branches of a baobab tree (https://simple.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baobab).

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    You could see the “smoke” from Victoria Falls (http://victoriafallstourism.org/) as well as a good amount of the surrounding countryside.

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    Then, last Tuesday some of us headed to the Royal Livingstone Hotel (http://www.suninternational.com/royal-livingstone/) to watch the sunset from there. While the drinks are quite pricey, the views are amazing. And we were even treated to some hippos playing in the water in the distance.

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    And they did provide a tray of free nibbles, to go along with the drinks (including my martini in a margarita glass).

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    With the holiday behind us, it was time for orientation and finding out about our volunteer placements. Of course this meant one more day of being able to sleep in since our session wasn’t scheduled to start until 10:30.

    During the session we learned a bit of history about the area, which was good since I hadn’t had a lot of time to read up on things like that before coming. In short, Zambia

  • gained independence in 1964
  • has 20 provinces
  • supports 76 languages
  • has 10 political parties
  • is currently under its 6th president
  • While one may think that tourism is the main industry with Zambia boasting Victoria Falls as well as a number of game reserves, it is dwarfed by copper mining which rose to the 4th highest producer in the world at one time. Unfortunately for Zambia, copper prices have dropped and thus the economy is in decline.

    In addition, low water levels (50% of normal) have caused the entire nation to enforce load sharing with everyone taking a daily 5 hour power outage. The times rotate every day which is nice so you are not always having to adjust the same activities when the power is off. Some of the main businesses have generators, due to the original expense and the fuel cost of 11 kwacha per liter (about 1.5 USD). The hope is that in 6 months there will be enough rain to enable full power to be restored.

    I am based in Livingstone, very close to Victoria Falls. Sadly, there are many street kids here due to many being orphaned when their parents die of HIV infections. And added to by more kids flocking to the city based on hearsay of begin able to get money from the tourists. Recently many schools have been opening to try to help these kids, but many still do not attend.

    We also learned that around here white people are referred to as Mzungu (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mzungu) which is not at all derogatory. Instead it is used as a friendly greeting by very friendly people whenever we are met on the streets.

    At the end if the session we got the information sour tour specific placements. I am at a private school called Nekacheya (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nekacheya-School/240718149402486).

    Wendy

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