Monday, March 26, 2012

home sweet home at the backpackers lodge

If you saw a version of this post that looked kind of out of character, it was complements of a block of cheddar sitting on my PC as I carried my laptop inside.

Nell and I were writing by the pool under a clear sky full of stars. It feels just like summer to me, even though it's coming on winter here. The evenings are still warm. I can still sit outside in a strapless dress at 19.30, but when I drink my instant coffee with peanut butter toast on the front patio at 7.30 am, I need a sweatshirt.

I've obviously waited too long to update my blog, because now I can't decide what to tell you about. Do I start with the cramped, upstairs print shop on Cairo Road, where I waited for 45 minutes for my water diaries to be inscribed on 730 pieces of white A4 paper, while one girl powdered her face and the other cut out hearts by hand for a wedding invitation? or maybe the friends I've met here: s'mores nights, and dinners out, shared working sessions and the sharing of folk tunes? Or should I get straight to the compounds, where a woman my mom's age asks me if I can bring water to her pipes again--they've been dry for 12 years.

I think it'll be more than one post.

The lodge said goodbye to several friends last week. On Sunday, Swedish firefighers Oscar and Alex went back to fight fires (now, they do fight fires and are 18 and therefore technically men, but they still think it's funny to, for example, poo in a friends' dorm room trash can, and they cook "epic mealtime" dinners. If you don't know what that means, you clearly don't spend much time with guys 18-27 yrs old. See youtube for clarification). On Monday, English Tom headed west for Victoria Falls, despite my offers to bake him a 19th birthday cake on Wednesday if he stayed a few more days. At 9, 9:10, 9:20 and 9:30 on Wednesday I found he had thoughtfully added four alarms in my phone to remind me it was his birthday. As if I'd forget. By Saturday, English med students Salma and Laura had left for a Safari in Tansania, and on Saturday the other two English girls--Charlotte and Laura--finished out their holidays by almost spending the night alone up north at the side of the road with some poached meat and their (understandable!) fear of snakes and the poachers themselves. Fortunatly, they didn't have to do that, and made it back to Lusaka safely and in time to catch their flight home on Sunday.

Thursday night a Dutch anthroplogist and an American Peace Corps volunteer who both live in other parts of Zambia were here. We have similar music taste and I enjoyed sitting around with them, listening to folk tunes and talking about anthropology and fish farming. We're all quite different--very different personalities and backgrounds. Funny how people can be so different and still hit it off. They are trying to convince me that I would be perfectly safe to hitch hike 6 hours alone to their villages to see them and to see more of Zambia than just Lusaka. Apparently Peace Corps girls hitch hike all the time without incident (there are 300 peace corps volunteers here), and every vehicle is a taxi. But other women say they wouldn't recommend it. Gregg says if I want comments on my blog, I need to generate controversy. Hitch hiking alone in Africa. That should do it. Discuss.


  1. Hmmm....I'm trying to decide if controversy is the right word...let me think of one which seems more fitting; ah, yes: 'insanity' might be more appropriate! But then again I have a bias against hitch hiking in general (nevermind a female, alone), regardless of locale :) Christi

  2. And I, dear daughter, am in complete agreement with Christi.

  3. I don't hitch hike at home, but taxis here are unmarked if I'm already hopping in cars with any guy who says he'll drive me, I'm not sure it's so different.