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!