After a long wait we are finally here with our first blog.
So on the fourth of July we arrived in Zambia after a long journey through London and Addis Abeba. We were exhausted when landing in Ndola. Luckily our hosts Katleen and Stijn warmly welcomed us into their house for a nice dinner after showing us around in the guesthouse. We immediately felt at home and were looking forward to spending our 7 weeks in Zambia here. The Kamutamba Guesthouse is a beautiful place with fully equipped huts, the boys are sleeping together in one hut and the girls in another hut where they use the extra space to display their whole wardrobe.
As soon as we got introduced to new people we adopted our new names. Aurélie and Florence became Olie and Flo because it Is easier to pronounce, while Siemen turned to Simon because, well yeah… The people here are kind and social. When we are walking through the streets everyone greets you and asks how you are doing. Mulishani? – Bwino! (-Bemba; the local language). The children from the Ibenga village also treat us like celebrities. When the boys go jogging into the bush they have 20 children running behind them where they need to give high fives to all of them. When the girls went to the Ibenga market to buy some vegetables, eggs and bread some cute children greeted them and wanted to give them a hand. As soon as they gave them a hand they had dozens of kids surrounding them, trying to touch their arms and skin.
After a first and intensive week of integration into the Zambian culture we got introduced to the employees of the kiosk and the restaurant. Ethel was standing in the kiosk and showed Aurélie, Christian and Siemen around. She told them how she works and what the products are. At the same time Audrey welcomed the help of Andreas and Florence with open hands and gave them a lot of work in the kitchen. This was also our first experience with nshima. (Nshima is a dish made from maize flour (white cornmeal) and water and is a staple food in Zambia (nshima/ ubwali) and Malawi (nsima). – Thank you Wikipedia). Besides nshima accompanied with rabe (local vegetable), the people here also eat everything fried– fried fish, fried chicken, fried beef, …
During this week the boys had a lot of work coding our application and improving it even more to the wishes of the employees and management. The girls started analysing the paper-based documents record keeping system of the last year. Where they had a lot of ‘fun’ entering all this data day by day into excel before starting to make some graphs and conclusions.
Besides our project, we also have to organise our daily life so sometimes we go grocery shopping in Luanshya, a big city at 30 minutes from Ibenga. As Stijn and Katleen are not our personal drivers it happens that we must take the bus from or to the shop. This is kind of a unique experience. This bus is nothing like the buses we know. First of all you never know when the bus will pass by the bus stop. It comes by randomly and there is no way to find out when. The bus only leaves the bus station when it is full so it can take a while and with a bus we mean a minibus packed with 22 people or more. So the journey to the shop was not really comfortable but certainly an amazing experience.
We also encountered some local animals and insects. Andreas attracts all the bites of mosquitos from the boy’s room and Aurélie the ones from the girl’s room. Which is kind of pleasant for Christian, Siemen and Florence. Then there is the story of the cockroach that we don’t want to keep from you. One night when everyone was already asleep and Aurélie was still reading in her bed, she notices something moving. On the outside of her mosquito net she saw a cockroach climbing up. But as she and Florence sleep in a bunk bed and Flo sleeps on top, it means that the cockroach was climbing on the inside of her mosquito net. Now Aurélie had this huge dilemma: will she wake Flo to tell her or will she just go to sleep because this cockroach cannot bother her? Luckily Aurélie was being the good friend and woke Flo. At that moment both girls began panicking and started screaming. They escaped from their room and went and tried to wake the boys. The boys first ignored these screams of help, but then Andreas decided to come out of his bed and help the girls. After a scary search and fight, he saves the girls from this dangerous and scary insect. Drama at its best. Guess who wrote this? The girls/the boys? 🙂
Finally we also discovered a new side of Aurélie and Siemen; a slightly creepy obsession for cats… Katleen and Stijn have a cat; Moupie, that just gave birth to 3 kittens. Aurélie and Siemen love this and are spending waaay to much time with the cats!
So this is a little update of our two first weeks! We’ll be back soon for more stories and anecdotes.
Kamutamba 2017 – Andreas, Aurélie, Christian, Florence and Siemen