Monday, August 25, 2008

National Mourning

Despite the country being in mourning, I had a nice weekend. It’s so quiet because all celebrations/ recreational activities have been banned (originally for seven days but they’ve since extended the mourning period for 21 days). I wonder if the mourning period will remain for the full three weeks? All national sporting federations had been told that no games will be held during the national mourning period- for me that means no basketball…crazy! I was giggling to myself because apparently the bars remained opened, but they were only permitted to play gospel music- could you imagine?! Quite funny in its own morbid way.

I actually travelled to the lovely (if exhibiting ghost town qualities) town of Kabwe about 1.5 hours drive north of Lusaka on Saturday. August 14th was the one year memorial of my departed friend & colleague Chola Chisupa. Alison- a star of a colleague- organized a barbeque at Chola’s parents’ place in Kabwe. Since I was in Canada during the funeral of Chola, I especially appreciated being able to contribute to this memorial. It was lovely to meet Chola’s parents (& see where Chola had inherited her beautiful smile), and to see her boys. There were no tears, the purpose was to celebrate Chola’s life and it was a wonderful day for me. I’m so thankful that I was able to be a part of the event. If Alison sends along any photos of the event I’ll be sure to post them up here.

Otherwise not much to report- the rest of the weekend was filled up with a bit of visiting & a bit of schoolwork. I also spent a lot of time “abroad” in my mind. My dear friend Ry tied the knot on Saturday- I was so thrilled that my folks & my brother were able to be at his big day in my stead. AND I got all the news on Seth & Marina as well since they sat at the same table- how lovely! Another girlfriend in Denmark also married her love on Saturday- so despite all the mourning my heart is singing!! (Except that it’s already Monday)*giggling*…

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A sad day for Zambia

Well the news finally arrived from France- President Mwanawasa has died. Despite Zambia's challenges, a vast majority of Zambians will sincerely mourn over the death of President Mwanawasa. Such a situation has never occurred before in Zambia, so it will be interesting to see what processes will be followed to elect a new leader. I'm also curious to see how it will be followed internationally in light of the disastrous elections recently held in Zimbabwe. There have been several off-colour jokes about sending Tsvangirai to rule Zambia in the wake of Mwanawasa's death. He did win an election...and has since been encouraged to seek a power-sharing agreement with Mugabe. I don't understand why anyone supports this idea, it only emphasizes the fact that there do not need to be free & fair elections in Africa. But now I've gotten side-tracked. Getting back to Zambia, I feel that Zambia needs a strong leader to take up where Mwanawasa has left off...and perhaps to bring some stability to a region that has turned upsidedown recently.

And I want to add another random comment here that might give my mother a heart attack. I have to admit that I'm irritated by all of the "hating on China". Yes- me. Me who refuses to buy any clothing made in China (for fear that it's made in a sweatshop), and me who has always valued human rights above all else. But I recently had a discussion (with my Rhodes scholar friend) about racism in Zambia. I mentioned that I felt that Asians get the worst end of the stick- they literally get chased down the street by random people doing karate moves & imitating Chinese accents. It's embarrassing. So Kupela went on to tell me that one of her friends did a fascinating study comparing a state-owned mine in Zambia's copperbelt region, and a Chinese mine in the same area. It turns out, in this study, that the workers were actually better taken care of (better financial packages/ benefits) at the Chinese-owned mine, and that fewer accidents occurred on the Chinese mine as well. Definitely different results than what most people would assume...but has it simply become too easy to point fingers at the Chinese because we've done so for so long?
Just some thoughts as the heat is turning up in Zambia...
And I haven't been able to see much of the Beijing Olympics, but I am trying to follow the good stories!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Blasted wall fence

My girls from back in the day started this "a day in the life" email chain. We re-connected by telling these random stories that we felt like sharing with the rest of the crew. I was inspired to share with them the following story (& their reactions were priceless so I built up the nerve to post it here)...I wanted to update my blog but didn't want to write about another weekend filled with schoolbooks*grin*. Here's the story...

When I go coach at BSA I have to jump over a wall fence to get into the schoolyard (because they lock it immediately after the kids have knocked off). There are perfect little holes in the concrete so I can step up (just call me Spidey). And yes, you can imagine all the little Zambian kids going back to their shanty compounds hysterically laughing at this big “mzungu” jumping over a wall fence. Comedy indeed- though nobody who knows me bats an eyelash anymore.

Well, the other day I had an unfortunate meeting with the wall which could have ended up much worse than it did. My beautiful engagement ring is apparently a little too big for my finger- so somehow it got caught on a protruding piece of concrete just as I was jumping down. My finger really hurt as I was hitting the ground & I dared a glace at my ring hoping all would still be in place & that there’d be no blood. To my horror, one of the small diamonds had popped out & I had no idea what to do. (We haven’t formally announced the engagement to our basketball friends because it would be too annoying to deal with people everyday for the next six months, so I’m in even more of a predicament because I don’t want to draw attention to it). So I move away from the wall & continue greeting everyone as if all is well. I end up caving & asking Alinafe (who will definitely be at my wedding but who we haven’t yet told we’re getting married) to send some of the little boys to search for the diamond because I couldn’t imagine going home & telling Alvin that I lost a diamond. Alinafe very tongue in cheek said “Oh, is it so important”- but trotted off to send the little ones in the hopeless search for a tiny diamond in a sea of dust.

So my ring looks kind of funny (missing a diamond & all bent to hell), but Alvin took it well. Apparently it won't take much to have a diamond re-fitted & the band straightened out (well, at least a few people have said that to make me feel better)*grin*. And at least I didn’t break my finger…

Friday, August 08, 2008


Just want to wish everyone back home a brilliant weekend at the Folk Fest! Hard to believe it's been a year since sitting on Gallagher hill & enjoying Nalgene bottles filled with gin & juice, the beer gardens, visiting with family & friends, wafts of patchouli & ganja, & of course all of the music!!

Who knows- maybe I'll catch up with you next year. This year I'll be thinking of you while writing papers for my practices in human resource management course*hahah*

Much love! And I hope it stays beautiful & sunny in E-town for those less acclimatized to the Great White North:-)

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

India in between basketball & schoolbooks

It's hard to believe that another long weekend has zipped by.

Friday evening I went to support a colleague’s fundraiser- an Indian fashion show. Really I wanted to see Palak dressed in a full sari, because she never dresses traditionally at work. As luck would have it I missed her on the catwalk & only found her & her Shivam after they’d changed. Shame. It was fun anyway.

I had blackmailed a couple of friends to join (actually we’d gone to Diwali & Ali loved it- so it was pretty easy to convince him), & we enjoyed a couple of beers (ok ok, pitchers of beer) after the show.

Much fun!!

Yesterday evening we bid farewell to our lovely friend In’utu who will travel to the UK, Italy, & Switzerland to attain her Masters degree. I think she found an amazing opportunity…& she’ll only be gone for a year!! We went to a lovely Indian restaurant (my first time there actually), & sent her off in style.

In between the evenings out there was plenty of basketball & books. There’s a fair bit of school pressure with looming deadlines & exams coming up in October…after this weekend I’m feeling fairly on top of things though- so no other exciting stories to report*grin*.

Friday, August 01, 2008

One for Holly

Christmas in July. Imagine that. Yesterday I received a package from Hol that was sent from Canada in November. I have no idea where it sat for all of those months, but I’m thrilled to be blogging over a cup of Tazo green ginger*YUM*. Funnier still, no rats ravished the package, but the beautiful white chocolate bar had passed its expiry date. So we polished off the one she had recently sent from Ireland*giggling*

Thanks Hol, you are a star!!!

It also turns out the a birthday package my parents had sent has been sitting in a post office since MARCH, but the fools at the post office didn’t send us the correct slip, so it never reached us until yesterday. And now they want us to pay K270,000 (approximately CAD $80) for a storage fee. Have you ever heard of anything more ridiculous? They want to charge us for their own incompetency. Alvin’s up & down between post offices trying to talk some sense into the putzes- I hope we get the package today- wouldn’t that be a lovely way to start the long weekend?!

I suppose I have to admit that the postal system is becoming a bit reliable, but terribly unpredictable & riddled with incompetence*grin*.