Friday, June 29, 2007

Me, thankful for Laura Bush’s trip to Zambia?!?

When there’s a moment in the office, all of the gossip is surrounding the highly secure visit of George Bush’s wife to the Government of the Republic of Zambia. “Can you believe they brought in FIFTEEN of their own vehicles” one colleague commented. Thank goodness we were stopped at a red light when a convoy of massive American vehicles flew past Alvin & me. We were struck by the size & speed of the vehicles; there were modern GMC Surburbans & those massive Ford trucks that you can only find in red-neck North America.

But the purpose of this post is not to dig my heels into the audacity of her visit (or the limitations on how American dollars are spent in ‘fighting disease’ in Zambia.) But as a side note- can ANYone explain to me just how one would believe that abstinence-only education is an effective way to fight sexually transmitted infections? Because I, for one, disagree whole-heartedly; to best illustrate my point, I was thinking way back to the days spent at Bellerose Composite high school. I was in the change room with my basketball team & one of the girls said “Don’t look” when she went to remove her shirt. Everyone in the change room swivelled to face the girl who had asked us all NOT to look. We ended up killing ourselves laughing at how one’s immediate reaction when told NOT to do something, is to go & do it & find out for yourself why it was forbidden. Now input sex education…abstinence-only- Gah.

But back to my story- the goodness of Bush’s trip to Lusaka. Yesterday when I knocked off from work I was enjoying a warm walk home (despite the chill in the winter air) until I noticed a man who looked a bit mad following me home. I never worry when I can hear the people, or predict why they might be following me. This man was walking much slower than me, so when he decided to catch up I could hear his loose pata-patas (flip flops) smacking loudly against the asphalt in his uneven attempt at a jog. Once he was just behind me, he would start walking again, so the gap would stretch between us. Ages ago, I had a bit of an altercation with a (possibly) schizophrenic drunk man, so whenever people approach me who appear mad, I am cautious (I’m not paranoid…but this guy wasn’t quite right in the head, therefore rather unpredictable).

I decided as long as I was on a busy street I would have no problems. There was a bit of a gap in pedestrian traffic as I was approaching an intersection with Addis Ababa Road (a well-paved, high traffic road). On the corner I noticed a trio of cops. Never in my life (in ANY country) have I ever been so thrilled to see policemen & women. As I neared, one of the policewomen said “Good afternoon”. I jumped at the chance for some friendly conversation & chatted with the threesome until the crazy man had passed (who promptly waited for me a few steps away from my new-found security friends). I desperately looked down Addis for hope of escape. Imagine a slow wide grin spreading across my face. Hahaha: Bush is on the move, which means cops are posted on every corner to prevent incident & stop the traffic! I giggled & laughed & greeted ALL of the cops on my way down the street. The crazy man became discouraged & turned down another road in search of a new adventure.

I suppose I owe the excessive Americans a vote of thanks...Happy 4th of July*giggling*

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Perhaps I've hit a new low

Right, so I know this is pathetic...but I am SO excited about the candle holders I recently purchased. I don't know what took me so long to finally give in & buy them...but aren't they great?! There's drummer & a warrior. I light them everyday. Sometimes twice a day. I wonder when the thrill will wear off*giggling*

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Alvin's birthday

Kudos to my Canadian girls who dressed & made me up...we had a beautiful birthday celebration! Here we are:

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

I’m a fighter…

Despite my pacifist Mennonite heritage, I have officially become a fighter! After posting a nicey-nice story (obviously not the one about peeing), I thought I would write about a scenario in which I found myself scared.

As I have previously posted, some of the ladies & I got a little bit silly at a Bob Marley tribute. Initially I was a bit apprehensive to go because I was worried that the Rastas would get upset that this whitey (whose ancestors-arguably- had contributed to the whole Ras tafari movement) would dare attend such a gathering. Realistically, I’m the bad guy, right? It was people of my skin colour that made life a living hell for millions of people who did not have the same skin tones. But I swallowed my apprehension & hopped on the band wagon (especially because there is a lot of One Love talk from good ol’ Bobby).

As expected, as the night wore on, people became belligerent on drugs & alcohol. That was about the time I was putting on the pressure to leave the park. So the line up of beautiful (if tipsy) women started making our way to the entrance to leave the celebrations. Unfortunately, the entrance was blocked & security told us the only way to exit the park was through a little muddy lane on the other side of the park. (This exit doubled as an illegal entry…& a man literally had to catapult me & the girls over the chain link fence that screamed illegal entrance).

En route to the shady exit I felt someone roughly grab my forearm. I turned around with the expectation that it would be someone I knew, grasping me tightly for a joke. I came face-to-face with an angry dark face. That night, I wasn’t having it. “What the bleep is your problem”, I screamed at him to be heard over the music. I couldn’t make out what he was saying but it was something about whites leaving the black continent bladdy-blah. I took another look at his face & grabbed his forearm (with my free hand) with all of my might & said “This is my bleeping problem”. With no facial expression whatsoever, he dropped my arm & we proceeded to the ‘exit’. I was upset, and a bit shaky, but upon reflection, it feels great to know that a little ‘fight back’ in the potential face of violence can deter an aggressor.

I’ve never done anything like that in my life. Cue Beyonce, I’m out

Pissing like a racehorse

A whole new meaning. (Sorry for using profanity…but ‘peeing’ like a racehorse simply doesn’t carry the same ring).

I’ve always been amused by the fact that anywhere you walk in Lusaka, there’s going to be a man discreetly peeing somewhere. My favourite are those who pile out of their cars (inevitably on Friday evenings or anytime Saturday or Sunday after a few too many alcoholic bevies) & pee right by the roadside. Surprisingly, I’ve never been heckled nor had an uncomfortable experience by someone who is relieving himself publicly.

Sometime back I had caught a ride into work with Alvin & was keeping my self busy peering out the window. There was a woman standing awkwardly on the side of a busy side-street. Her skirt is hiked up to her knees & she’s casually watching the traffic passing. As my chin drops in shock, my forehead hits the window & I’m thinking “She’s pissing; standing up in a skirt alongside a busy road”. That was a first. And for those of you who know Zambia…she was NOT in chitenge, but in a jean skirt- all the more unusual!

I love women here, dressed to the nines, plodding slowly to their working place in ridiculously high heels. Not missing a stride to blow a snot rocket or apparently, to piss like a race horse.
What will I do for entertainment when I come home this summer?!*hahahaha*