Monday, April 30, 2007

Been in Africa too long...

Oh dear, I just went to turn of the air conditioning in my office because I'm feeling a bit chilly. The A/C is supposed to be maintaing a temperature of 26 degrees Celsius...

Perhaps I have been here too long?! And it's not even cold season yet & I'm whining!!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Neglecting my blog

Well it feels like I haven't written in ages, but it's only been a week since my last post.
I think I have writer's block. There's so much happening for me right now, I just feel like nothing is important enough to share*giggle*

That being said, the first match of Cranium I've ever played in Lusaka did touchdown Tuesday evening. There was a lot going it wasn't the best game, & then since we didn't drink enough wine, we became tired instead of rowdy. I think we'll plan a tournament & I'll try to document the excitement via photos!

Yup, guess things aren't that exciting. I'm just loving the humdrum of routine right now. More when I've a good story to report.

Oh, the update on Breakthrough Sports Academy Basketball. The girls commitment is still up & down, but I have so much to learn from Coach Alinafe's patience. Some days he has 1 girl, other days he has 6. In the meantime (which is the good news), the Under 15 boys team has started training this week! And Alinafe's response to my question about whether or not he's frustrated was: "Now I have the boys to work with, & the girls will come". Kudos Ali!!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Home for the holidays!

I’m so excited, I don’t actually know how I’m going to wait until July 30th now…

I will be coming home WITH Alvin for 3 weeks! We’ll arrive in Edmonton on July 31st & return to Lusaka on the 19th of August. I’m so excited that I won’t be making the marathon journey alone, & I’m just looking so forward to everything. First, introducing Alvin to you all, & second, introducing him to my country. After that excitement, I’m just planning all of the meals I’m craving (Gran’s/ parents’ home cooking), all of the restaurants I need to re-visit & places I’ve missed…from Hawrelak Park to Jasper!

We’ll be home in time for BBQ’s, slurpees, fresh air & Edmonton’s famous festivals! Let’s start planning!!!!!!

It should prove to be an overwhelming couple of weeks, I’ll be sure to savour every second! Can’t wait to catch up with you all

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Pronounced: Vin-ku-vala

Definition: Bemba delicacy of fried caterpillars

Now, if I was really smart I would’ve brought my camera to Kolo’s for her “Zambian cuisine” dinner party. But I really wasn’t expecting so many traditional dishes. Of course, my eyes were riveted on the two big bowls of fried black caterpillars. All of my favourite other dishes are there: village chicken, lumanda (particular type of vegetable cooked in a peanut sauce), nshima, chikanda...But there I am, stopped with one hand on the red wine bottle peering down at the brown-headed, semi-curled, many-legged (or furry?) caterpillars.

My words of recent days echoed in my head “I would only try those things if I knew they were prepared properly, at a friend’s place”. Push came to shove & I popped one. The taste was actually ok, the texture less appetizing; it was like a sand bomb had exploded in my mouth. Confession: I only managed to eat one. And I felt like the remnants of caterpillar gut were stuck in my teeth until I had thoroughly washed it down with food & wine.

I’ve been chuckling reminiscing about my days at the former Provincial Museum of Alberta. The husband to my Grade 3 teacher had me eating live mealworms…& I only managed one fried caterpillar??

What is life without a little adventure? Next time I’ll take photos*giggling*

Saturday, April 07, 2007

An Aside

I found myself giggling on my walk home from work yesterday. I love the things that remind me that I don't live in North America!

Passing a young man on the dusty pathway, I couldn't help but notice how his starched white top matched exactly his shiny white dress shoes- the only interruption being a pair of baggy jeans. A slow broad smile spread to my lips just as my phone beeped that I had a new message. Saved by the excuse to giggle while looking at the face of my phone, I didn't feel too "crazy" (laughing all by myself, that is). Better yet, it was my Canadian friend complaining about some annoyance ...perfect opportunity to verify if I haven't been gone from Canada too long.

My text reply:
"Male dress: Please remind me if white dress shoes = pimp, and it is indeed a fashion faux pas to wear aqua socks in public. Reminders as to why we love Zambia".

Disclaimer: I do not have any male friends here who sport white dress shoes.

Confession: I do have two male friends who move around Lusaka in aqua socks.

Point in case: Living proof: my dear friend Alinafe

Chaminuka March 2007

I absolutely lucked out! I was invited to a conference at the end of March, held at a beautiful lodge about an hour outside of Lusaka. The lodge is actually quite near to Lusaka…but there are about 23 km on a heavily pot-holed road. The bumpy ride is very much worth it though. (I’m sure my folks & my Uncle can second that motion)! There must be hundreds of hectares of property filled with giraffe, a couple of elephants, hundreds of antelope, zebra etc. The more dangerous creatures are in outdoor cages- they have both lions & hyenas. The lodge itself is magnificent with a heated pool, incredible meals (cheese factory + game meat), & all local alcoholic beverages included. Yes, that means Amarula, Castle, Mosi and Malawi gin for free*giggle*

I was able to go for a ‘bush-walk’ (during which I saw more insects than animals) & for about a two-hour horseback ride. I’ve selected only my favourite shots so those of you who have yet to visit me here will have an idea of why one might want to stay in this “paradise” (as one visitor from Canada put it this morning). Another friend mentioned (after waking up & heading out onto my little patio) “why would you want to live anywhere else?”

What am I trying to justify? You all know I love it here…I’ll just be awaiting more visitors*warm smile*. I must confess, some of these African savannah shots remind me of the beautiful Canadian prairies I have grown to love. So much wonder & calm.

Sun playing on the field

Prairie? Savannah.

Mama Giraffe

Amusing African art*insert wicked smile here*

Thursday, April 05, 2007

It's official!

I will be home on July 31st!!! Woohoo! I've got my plane ticket in hand & am so excited to be heading back to Edmonton for my favourite time of year.

I will be back in Lusaka on the 19th of August.

To be fair, I am missing every wedding I have been invited to this year. I'm sorry for that, but in the end it will be easier to catch up with the crew of you when you're not on the altar, right?? (It didn't actually happen on purpose, applying for leave was a process).
The only other business is that Alvin's ticket is booked, but nothing can be confirmed until his visitor's visa is approved. And we haven't applied that news will follow HOPEFULLY soon!!

Happy Easter to you all, I'm looking forward to a relaxing 4-day weekend! And of course, seeing many of you this summer!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

1st Drop in Sports Camp of 2007

I had such a great weekend! (I am speaking of 30th, 31st, March)*smile*

On Friday (that would have been the 30th of March) Breakthrough Sports Academy had our first “Drop in Sports Camp” for 2007. BSA has three grounds at which we offer coaching & football. The main grounds certainly attract most of the attention, and are central for all of the coaches to meet. Our Drop in Sports Camps fall under our “Outreach” programs. Our aim is to target those kids we don’t have in our regular programs, and to cause some commotion at our ‘outreach’ grounds.
As we moved deeper into Luangwa compound, the stares become longer, & more children are curiously calling “mzungu”. It is safe for me to move around in compounds (aka shanty towns), but it is certainly uncommon for white people to spend time within the compounds.

We coordinated the event with the help of Zilole, the young man who coaches most of teams at Kampala grounds. Zilole has re-inspired me in every respect. We had over fifty children participate (we were hoping for about thirty), and they all must have been under 14 years old. Zilole didn’t flinch. He had ALL of the kids up, organized, singing & dancing. I was amazed. All of the kids adore him, & somehow he manages to get these kids to play football in an organized manner.

Zilole is always quiet during our coaches meetings, & only ever quietly requested that we coaches try to make it out to his grounds. Now I understand why. There are so many kids, & there is so much potential for the grounds to be an enormous hub of activity, but he certainly can’t do it alone. Both the Director of BSA & myself are hoping to recruit some coaches to help him out, & to get more than football happening at the grounds (some educational components such as HIV/AIDS education, active living, leadership development, and team building would be so beneficial to the kids in these communities).

I love how my perceptions of “success” have changed during my time in Lusaka. Our program started 45 minutes late, & one of the facilitators pitched up at the grounds when we were supposed to be finishing the program. But the fact that we attracted so many kids (16 of whom were young girls), & that all of the children who participated had so much fun counter those minor “upsets”.

I continue to be humbled by young Zambians I meet. Zilole couldn’t thank me enough for being out there. It makes no sense to me why it matters that I go, and then I realize that he feels like he’s finally getting the support he needs from the “greater BSA”. I feel revitalized, and so do my colleagues. It’s a wonderful feeling to want to give more. If I ever manage to get more of Zilole’s “story” (in my broken Nyanja), I’ll be sure to include it on my blog.

Malanga (director of BSA) Zilole nearby

She looks so happy!

George teaching 'chinese baseball'

Zilole circling up the troops


More kids

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

We got Hoops!

Woo hoo! At long last, after months of waiting, BSA will train today on our full court- I can't wait. I'm so excited I may actually play with the boys today instead of coaching them*grin*