Thursday, December 28, 2006

Here are a couple more photos from the concert...a colleague had taken some photos & sent me these two. More soon!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

20th December, French School Christmas Concert

It was my debut concert as a teacher...& I must confess I was STRESSED! I was really unsure how to coordinate two of my classes into a presentation for the school & families. My eldest class (under 11) chose to sing Jingle Bells & do a little play with it. The only reason I survived Jingle Bells is because it was the Boney M version!!!
My other class (aged 4-8) performed We Wish you a Merry Christmas with dancing..Kind of! The highlight was when they were allowed to throw confetti. Let's just say they forgot a few steps & became mesmerized by the glitter. It was fun- & that's all that matters.

Luckily enough I didn't have to coordinate the babies- that would have been disastrous! I thought I'd attach a few shots of the kids I teach, I am enjoying the challenge though I'm savouring my two week holiday*grin*.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Youth Basketball League Closing Tournament December 16th, 2006

My team (quite like the coach) HATE losing. Unfortunately, after a wonderful season- even winning the league with a record of 7 wins 3 losses- BSA was not on point for the tournament. We ended up losing both our games...but I LOVE some of these photos. Please join the train of emotion with these shots...

Pre-game excitement

Adrenaline action...Intensity...& defeat

I already miss these boys as we will be breaking up until 08 January, 2006. But I know we'll come back with a vengeance!!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

MRS CLAUSE!! For our staff Christmas party Ba Miriam was the scariest Santa yet!!
BSA had an end-of-year awards night. Here are a few of the winners looking AWFULLY bored. I'm disappointed to report that most of my photos are blurry from these events. But here's a couple to keep you visually satisfied temporarily!!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

More than you ever wanted to know about me

Of course I'm motivated to blog the most ridiculous stories. Right, let me lay out the setting. It appears that the rains have at last arrived in Lusaka. Which means we've had a couple of BRILLIANT storms, but the days still tend to be sunny & hot. With rains, come the onset of an incredible number of insects & arthropods. As you can imagine, my least favourite time of matter how much therapy I tried at the Provinical Museum of Alberta (now ROYAL), I simply cannot handle bugs.

So today I arrived at the office (job #2), and had to visit the loo before attending to any pressing matters. I finish my business & reach for the toilet paper...with the roll come 3 massive grasshoppers. Okay okay okay, I'm not actually scared of grasshoppers, but I wasn't too sure what was jumping from the of course I jump. Yup, trousers around my ankles...toilet paper rolling along the floor. I giggle (I'm sure you can imagine)...let the buggers hop around & zing at me until they know they're safe. Then I clean myself up & carefully wash my hands before closing the door tightly behind me.


But at least no critters ended up in my pants!!!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

A minor hitch...

Apologies, I can't believe it's been a whole week since my last posting. Last week was was basketball & work as we played in the National Championships on the weekend. (I know, I promised an update from the trip to Ndola regarding the quarter final match. The thing is, the trip was quite uneventful- & we clearly won. Seriously, the most exciting part of the whole trip was watching two blue-head lizards fighting to the death. I rather hoped, mating...I searched for a lizard corpse a bit later & didn't find one, so in my positivist state, I left believing that the lizard that may have been in its' death throes, was actually in a state of utter bliss after mating). Right, I told you it wasn't the most thrilling road trip.

Back to basketball, we played in the semi-final on Saturday & lost, but managed a convincing win on Sunday to take third place in the country. I had higher hopes for our team, but am quite happy coming away with third- no that's not true...I'm just relieved that I can start having a life again! My body is it's time for some r & r!

There's lots going on this week so I MUST put up some photos & let you know what's shaking! Random insight into my state of mind right now: I must be homesick because I'm listening to a cd my mother ALWAYS plays at Christmastime. That's right- nothing like a little Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers in the office!!!!!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Alive & Kicking

As at any tournament, I found enthusiastic athletes laughing, cheering, heckling, & playing. There were women & men of all ages- I've never seen so many adult Zambians participating in a co-ed sporting event.

"Alive & Kicking", that's the name of the tournament I found on Saturday. Friends from an NGO I used to work with(EduSport), invited me to the tournament to see a new program they've been running. Each athlete that participated in Saturdays games was HIV positive. There were 12 netball teams & 12 football teams...yes, many athletes- all from Lusaka. EduSport has been working in various communities to promote healthy living & to lead an intitiative to "fight stigma together". The tournament was a great experience for me. It was really inspiring to see so many individuals committed to pursuing their goals, dreams, & lives when the perception of HIV is so often "a death sentence".

I'm really proud of my friends that made this tournament happen. I've been assured of a netball lesson from one of the teams in the near future...too much fun!

I'm still digesting Saturday's experience on Monday, & I feel truly fortunate to be experiencing all that I am in Lusaka. I also apologize for leaving my camera in my bag during the well as during my housewarming- SHAME!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I have the most amazing mother

So here's the deal. My Grandmother has been 'sick' for months now. She fell ill before having knee surgery, then she recovered & had the surgery, then she fell sick AFTer the surgery due to some cortisone shot she had for her arthritic shoulder. I get a phone call from my Pop Monday morning informing me that his great visit in Saskatoon has been overshadowed by a BRUTAL return. Yup, you guessed it, Gran's not only sick, but she's having surgery when he's talking to me.

It's all very complex being so far from home when my dearest Gran is sick...but it's even worse knowing that my Mom is pulling these ridiculously long days taking care of my Gran & carting her to & from the hospital. I keep wishing I could be there to help out, & to spend time with my Gran.

But here's where the amazing part comes in- my Mom sends me an email that had me in stitches! Her life is 100% caregiver right now...& she sends me a message about her adventures while my Pop was out of town. I guess a couple of the old cronies pick my mom up to go for a drinks Saturday night. My dear mother manages to lock herself out of the her lovely friends wait to make sure she's in the house, she realizes she's going to have to crawl through the small laundry room window to enter the house through the basement. Mr. Haley, bless his heart, is holding my mother's hand as she clambers through the window, over the washing machine, & into the comfort of her home. How this man didn't pee himself from laughing is besides me. I'm killing myself laughing as I imagine my "damn near" 60-year old mother squeezing through a basement window...

What a great Mom eh???

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Not too much to say I thought I'd add a couple photos.
The guys applying sunscreen- or, as my one friend calls it "Mzungu vaseline", & I can see why here.

Also, when I'm not on the court or in the pool, I can most often be found with Alvin.

Thanks for all the comments & emails- you guys ROCK!! More soon, I may be off to Ndola for basketball quarter finals this Saturday- you'll hear the result next week!

Monday, November 13, 2006

A bit of a random post...

Yesterday I woke up & actually thought- “I would like to feel cold”. Yes, I know- shocking to those of you who know me well. But it has been unbearably hot for me of late. It’s funny, because the October heat should be over by now…& the rains should be here. The problem is that the last couple of days the clouds have set in, & it looks cold & ready to rain at any moment, but the heavens have refused to open & the close heat is killing this Alberta girl. Give me back the dry heat*giggling*. It rained for about 15 minutes last week at my training session; it was awful because it made the heat worse. The cool lasted only a few minutes, & in the post-drizzle of rain, the heat seemed to be pulled up from the ground. It’s absolutely stifling, & I literally feel it crawling up from my ankles to surround me.

Sounds rough eh, when most of you are putting on winter parkas*grin*- it’s not so bad!!

The other thing that continues to make me smile is that though the air is humid, the earth is parched. I was chuckling recently because of the heat I’ve constantly got a thin layer of shine over my body…then I ALWAYS have some lipscreen on my lips. Any tiny breeze sends the abundant dust in swirls around me & I find myself a shade darker from the dust. I lick my lips from the thirst that prevails this time of year, & find a mouthful of gritty dust. It’s BRUTAL, but somehow I love it!!

Another weekend - another funeral. I think I’ll take the opportunity to explain what Zambian funerals look like, as I’ve been to 4 in the past few months. Brutal, eh?

The funeral process if very unlike what I grew up with in Canada. Here, when somebody dies, a regular house is opened for mourning. (Sometimes it is the house in which that person lived; sometimes it is a different house- one that can host more people). When you visit a ‘funeral’ you will find a whole bunch of men outside, chatting, drinking, smoking or simply sitting. Inside the house all of the women are sitting or laying on mattresses or carpets. I think the house stays open for about 3 days. People come & go to pass their condolences onto the “chief mourners” while family & those who have traveled will remain at the funeral house for the duration. Then there’s the burial. This is like what we call funerals at home- a church service followed by the actual burying of the body. It’s all a bit overwhelming because the mourning is so open. We never wail back home (only on very tragic occasions), but here, every morning the women wake up & start wailing, as if to remind everyone why they have come together. I feel fortunate to never have to stay overnight, with the heat, the bugs, & the lack of pillows*light-hearted laugh*. No, it’s really awful…& I think that is probably because there seem to be so many funerals in this country.

I don’t really know how to wrap this up…I have a hard time expressing that I am really happy here amongst all of the pain of which I write. I think I’ll just leave it here before I start off on another tangent

Monday, November 06, 2006

I just had the best pear of my life. It looked like a regular Bartlett pear from a good ol' Canadian grocery store...but only it was exquisite. Just enough juice running down my chin*sigh*...and mango season is JUST about here.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


Slowly settling in but feeling TOO much relief to be out of the old place. It's like a new start after living in the Pink Palace for one full year. I've lent my camera to a friend, but I promise great photos to show just what I've moved into. It's actually a great place despite the 70's mint green marble lino in the kitchen (UUUuuggghhhhh).

Bring on the's time to celebrate!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Did I successfully upload the MONSTROUS spider found in my BEDROOM??!! Horrors...I thought it was a tarantula because it was even hairy. I still mean to look it up on a Zambian spider book/Internet page. If anyone beats me to the punch, let me know if I was unknowingly in a life-threatening situaiton!!


Thursday, October 26, 2006

In my spare time (which isn't much) ALL we've been doing it swimming...just a photo of me & my gal Namukolo- no, no intentions of making you jealous during the HOT hot October heat...

Ps. my most exciting news that will definitely turn into a blogpost itself is that I officially have a new apartment!!!!!!!!!!! After one year in the Pink Palace I've moved on yesterday...much more to come

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Today is's all a bit confusing as I had NO work yesterday (meaning I had a day off of all three jobs...& believe it or not- NO basketball)! October 24th is Zambia's Independence Day...& I must confess I didn't do anything to celebrate...unless you count Monday morning when I was teaching my kids. I asked them all to create Zambian flags so that they could bring them home to share in any festivities. My eldest class didn't know the National Anthem, so there was no singing, but the 5-7 year olds gave it their all & three led the class while the others waved their flags. It was really fun. With my 3 & 4 year olds, the most we could manage was "happy birthday Zambia". It was so much does that count as celebration??!!

What I did celebrate this year for the first year ever was DIWALI. I have never attended the Indian New Year before, but I sure wouldn't mind doing it again! I managed to score free tickets from work, so me & a few friends decided to check out the events. It was really fun- I have never been to an annual festival that marks all of one country's religions. We were danced through Hinduism, Islam & was great- plus there were fireworks & tantalizing Indian cuisine!! I loved it & wish I would've brought my camera so you could see how cute the little kids were who were particpating in traditional dancing. The youngest ones would lose their attention & watch their friends until someone nearby would give him/her a little shove so that that kid would start moving again- TOO FUNNY! The Danish girl I went with cracked me up because she said "I've never seen so many Indians in one spot in my life. Where are they hiding in Lusaka"?

Cheers to continuing to find new daily excitement!! All is peachy, catch up again soon...

Monday, October 23, 2006

I meant to write something the day after the burial of my friend Chilufya. It was going to have a very dramatic first line: “I buried my friend yesterday”. But nearly one month later I’m sitting down to make time for the deceased. I’m not sure why the inspiration is here today, I wonder if this downpour after a sunshine-y hot day has spurred some deep sense of loss. But it is time to quit putting things off; here goes…
It’s such a shame. It’s been a tough journey for me. My basketball season has been pretty rough…my offence has been really on/off. I’m happy to report my defence has steadily improved with much focus & hard work. But I’ve really struggled fitting in & dealing with the attitudes of some of the young girls I play with. Chilufya was the person I would look forward to seeing on the court. We had some plans together, she was going to coach a girl’s team from BSA, & I hadn’t yet told her, but I was going to ask her to help me to learn Bemba. (I loved this girl, Zambian to her toes, lived in Lusaka for years but understood & spoke minimal Nyanja- the language most common in Lusaka). Chilu came up to me at training one day & said she just didn’t feel well. She had all of the symptoms of malaria. It’s really no big deal here (unless of course you are the one suffering from the disease), you go get tested & follow the prescriptions & you move on.
She didn’t come to training the next week & I ran into her & her mother in the grocery store. There was Chilu, looking as lovely as ever. She was explaining that there was something wrong with her blood but the doctors didn’t know what yet, & my daft response- Chilu- you’ve just grown lazy, you’re not really sick; you look like a million bucks! Exactly one week later I received a phone call with news of her death. I was really caught of guard because the previous night Chilu had sent me an SMS that she missed the team & was getting better.
I braved my first visit to a Zambian funeral house with the coaches from our team. (I’ve been to a Zambian funeral before, but not for the whole process). I met the mother there, (who I had indeed met a couple of times before), & she explained how she lost her daughter. She had found her first born dead in hospital that morning. The doctors found her a couple of hours later to give her the blood test results. Acute Leukemia, anaemic complications. 20 year old woman dead within weeks. It’s awful.
My team went to the burial together, & it did provide a sense of closure, no matter how hard it is to accept Chilu’s fate. The saddest part of putting this on paper for me, is that I’ve gone back at every sentence to put things into the past tense.
I’m so fortunate to have known Chilufya, and I believe there was a reason our paths crossed- I will never pretend to understand why such things happen, but we all move on, & I will remember her smile, her laugh, & her personality. She comes to me in funny ways. I miss her, but at least I can share her memory with my teammates. It’s better than never having known her I reckon.

Friday, October 20, 2006

All right...I've been trying for a few days to see if I can manage this technology. I've been thinking "blogging" may be a great way for me to stop inundating peoples' inboxes with my random stories, while encouraging me to write more?

Some days I simply want to send an email stating that I had the BEST pear of my life- I've never seen a pear (or tasted a pear) like that back home. I suppose I must indulge in ALL the advantages of life in sub-Saharan Africa. But the shine isn't wearing off & I've been in Lusaka for two full years...crazy

Let me see if I can post this nothing "blog" & start a new mode of communication across the miles??!!

Fingers crossed..