Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Ba shikulu…this is Lusaka!

When people who don’t know Africa discover I’m living in Zambia, the reaction is “You’re so brave”, and “Is it safe” etc. I find this endlessly amusing, as I am convinced that Lusaka is a much safer city than most Canadian cities. Granted, I do stand out & could be regarded as a target for mugging- but that has only ever happened to me once or twice. I have a brilliant example (& yes, this is characteristic of Lusaka only…there are several brutal & rough African cities in which I would not move around with so much confidence) of the kindness I have experienced here.

I was coming home after coaching at BSA one evening. The sun had dropped (as it does so quickly here), & I found myself rushing home so as not to be moving around when it’s dark dark- “Dark dark” refers to late night dark, not the dark that is only beginning to settle in after sunset. (Sorry mom & dad, I do try to avoid walking after dark but it takes me about 20 minutes to walk home from the grounds…& the sun sets in 15)*grin*. So I was being careful & checking to see if any shady figures were watching me from afar. But I have this small problem with night vision. All of the shadows confuse the potholes & I end up walking like a fool, high stepping through the darkness hoping not to trip on a rock or fall into a hole. (And there are about a bazillion potholes on the short dirt road that leads to my flat). I was literally on the other side of the road from my flat when an elderly man came up from behind & asked me if I was all right, asking why I couldn’t see my way. I kind of chuckled, this is one of those ancient African men who probably has glaucoma, & he realized I couldn’t see where I was stepping. He simply said “Follow my footsteps, you’re safe. I’ll walk you home”. I had to chuckle & say “Zicomo ba shikulu, but I’ve reached”, as I stumbled across the road into the safety of the well-lit yard. I only heard his soft chuckle as he set off at what would have been a break-neck pace for me.

NB: Shikulu means Grandfather; it is a respectful way to address an elder.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Bob Marley tribute

Here are the photos from the most recent girls night...We drank enough liquor while buried under the haze of the 'legal for the night' "dagga". Ganja. Pot. Marijuana.

This is my bululu (family). Kupela & Namukolo

Can you see the size of that??? Laurane & Kupela are subtly posing for the camera to include the 81/2 x 11 inch joint.

The art of relaxation

It seems I may not have mastered any meditation or strenuous yoga poses…but I do what I can. Armed with the yoga book Faizal gave to me before returning to Zambia, & my mother’s long-forgotten yoga mat I have recommenced practicing yoga. Solo.

Last night I was going through the poses & hit one of the relaxing poses: I’m laying face down, legs spread, and forehead resting upon forearms. I jerk my head up & immediately wipe my mouth when some noisy mosquito disturbed my slumber. Little puddle of drool & all- Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh. I left the yoga mat, took a quick bath & let myself sleep for the night. And yeah…it was probably around 20h30*giggling*.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

A little bit of this, & a little bit of that

The latest:

1. I have to upload photos from the crazy girls night I recently had. We decided to brave a Bob Marley tribute & it was ridiculous. After a box of wine & a pony key of Mosi...every little thing was all right! I promise photos

2. Dear friends have recently been inquiring about Aid to Africa. I feel like I'm in the luckiest spot ever. I'm working under CIDA, therefore I'm slowly getting insight into the policies, bureaucracies & funding modalities at the International level. On the other hand, I am so deeply involved with Breakthrough Sports Academy, a small Community based organization that works in sports for development from the grass root. One day all of my experiences will come together & I'll be able to make a statement on my beliefs in International Development- more specifically within Lusaka. There's a lot of good, a lot of bad, plenty of frustrations & endless hope. That's as far as I've gotten*grin*

3. There's lots of excitement for me with North American visitors. There'll certainly be photos to come.

4. Spa day: entailed haircut + pedicure with my partner in crime Sarah. The haircut is much better than the last one so I will also have to send a photo if I ever do my hair up nicely (right now it's under cap after a glorious morning in the hot sun).

Best to all. I miss blogging more regularly & hope for some photo updates soon!
How many more days till my arrival in Edmonton??!!! (Still can't wait)!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

A blog for books

I’ve been involved in a few comical adventures of late, but I feel like writing about books today. So forget about my basketball team’s opening league game loss by 40 points, forget about the hell of a horseback ride I went for (chasing giraffes) that left my hands with blisters from holding on for dear life, & I’ll pause on all that is up & coming to share what I’ve been reading of late.

I thought maybe Google Reads would provide an outlet where I could post on my blog my recent reads. But all of this touring & background information on particular sites makes my head spin…so I’ll do it the old fashioned way*smile*

Quite possibly two of the things I miss most from home- apart from family & friends of course- are: a) a good library, & b) beautiful second hand book stores. I have managed some book swaps that have opened my eyes to books I never would have chosen to read. The advantage of having Zambian friends from well-educated families is that there are bookshelves full of African literature! (Something I never felt I had access to back home). One of my favourite recent authors is Kenyan NGUGI (he has “~ “ those things on top of the “G’s” in his name)*giggling*. I read A grain of wheat & savoured the fact that this author is Kenyan, educated in Uganda. So many of the African authors I’d previously read had been educated outside the continent. I felt Ngugi’s fiction provides a different take on colonial times...& I had just returned from Nairobi so anything Kenyan was/is fascinating. I also read a book whose title escapes me by a female lawyer from Botswana named Unity Dow. Again, an intimate look at African life from an African perspective, & in this case a rarely heard female voice- beautiful!

A second genre; books on Africa by non-Africans

At desperate times, with no other books on my shelf, I finally cracked open Shake hands with the devil. Romeo Dallaire blew me away during my second attempt to read the epic. One of the heaviest books I’ve ever read, but it was a much overdue “must read”. And then there was the bizarre White Masai…so strange that I would love to read the sequels*chuckling*.

Outside of African literature, I’ve been reading everything from David Baldacci to Roddy Doyle & I’m currently racing to finish Heather O’Neill’s lullabies for little criminals set in Montreal. I love that this Canada Reads book ended up in my hands, & that Roddy Doyle’s A Star called Henry took me back to the bleak beginnings of Irelands notorious IRA. Forever a bookworm, I still love been deported to mysterious corners of the world…set in timescapes I’ll never know. Now if only I had more time to read.