*“Welcome to Zambia!”
We experienced a lot of new ‘Zambian’ things.
In Zambia, the way of farming is a little different from what we know. During the cool and dry season (May-August) the farmers are used to putting fire to their unused grounds. This grew out of tradition, as in the past, firing up the grounds was good for the land because of the used rotation system. Nowadays there is no rotation system anymore but they still fire up the land. This could be good for the ground as the ashes are fertile. However, because of the wind, these ashes are just blown away and transported to other countries via rivers. As we are currently in the dry season, we see a lot of these ‘controlled fires’. This week however, it didn’t look so controlled anymore. Our team noticed a sudden rain of ash and we immediately went looking what was going on. There was a fire coming straight towards the Kamutamba area and Stijn and some of his workers had to go extinguish it with the water hose. It was a thrilling experience as we couldn’t see and breath properly due to the smoke and we really felt the heat of the fire. Luckily Stijn and the workers are used to this and could quickly stop the newly emerged sea of fire.
Besides this, we had some blackouts. Most of these are over within the hour. However, one day the power went out for the whole village when we were cooking. At first, we were really fed up with this because we just wanted to prepare food, but as soon as we walked out of the kitchen we were amazed with the number of stars we could see. In Zambia, we could see different constellations without any light pollution. It was so magnificent that we decided to take some deckchairs and snacks, sit together and enjoy the view. We even saw a shooting star!
Furthermore, we have some adventures and anecdotes from our third and fourth week in Zambia.
Saturday, two weeks ago, Katleen and Stijn organised a barbecue with some other Muzungu-friends (white people) from Belgium and the Netherlands from a neighbour town Mpongwe. We had a great time and the food was once again amazing (Katleen cooks once a week for us and it is always delicious, thank you Katleen!). We concluded the night with a nice camp fire. The next day we woke early to go to the Nsobe game camp. This is a huge site with some wild animals like giraffes, impalas, zebra’s and boars. We had a lot of luck; when we arrived in the park we immediately saw a giraffe at a 2-meters distance from us. This was an impressive first experience of the park. For the second one, we decided to go to the ‘snake house’; there the fearless got to hold snakes and a mini alligator while Florence was being a cry-baby and held her distance.
On the project side of things, the application has been introduced to the employees of the kiosk! The first impression was positive and the user-friendliness was on-point. We have examined how the employees work with the application and now the boys are tweaking the application to make it even better. However, viewable on the amount of coffee that has been drunk, these tweaks can be very time consuming. Between all this hard work they found some time to give a programming boot camp to Katleen and the girls. We can’t say that we were naturals but we certainly learned the basics and got a view on how complex programming can be.
Later that week we set a date with Sister Dorine, a head of the Hospital. We wanted to spend some time with her, so we invited her to the restaurant. She said she knew some nice place and would arrange the transport. On the actual day, however, we found out we were also inviting her friend Jenny and the driver to the restaurant. Sister Dorine brought us to a beautiful place in Luanshya; it was a resort with a swimming pool and great food. (And we could afford to pay the bill 😉 ) In the end we had an amazing day with Sister Dorine and her friend! At least they gave us a free bread afterwards.
The next weekend we got invited by Alfred, the partner of Stijn, to go to church with him. Know that most of Zambians go to church on Sunday morning and that there are a lot of different confessions. Hence on Sunday morning we went to the Baptist Church with Alfred. It was a beautiful ceremony; there was a lot of singing and there was a nice ambience. After the ceremony we walked to the home of Alfred where his lovely wife Petronnella served us a typical Zambian dinner, of course there was some nshima involved. The food was delicious and abundant, we felt like we had eaten for three days.
At the end of the week we had our midterm presentation. One week in advance we set a date for this meeting with the IGA committee. It was really important to have this meeting that week because the next week we would leave on our vacation. Everything was set and we started preparing. We would give all our findings and recommendations to the Head sister, Sister Annie, and the rest of the committee. Two days before this important meeting we got a phone call; Sister Annie couldn’t make it because she received a sudden invitation from the Archbishop. Luckily Sister Annie proposed another time before our vacation to meet, but it was up to us to contact all the other members of the IGA committee to inform them of the change. Unfortunately, they were not available for the new date and time. Eventually we adjusted to the Zambian efficiency and we did our presentations three times on two days so that everyone was well informed.
This is about it for now, we hope you enjoyed our blog. We will be back after our vacation!
Kamutamba 2017 – Andreas, Aurélie, Christian, Florence and Siemen