2 Month Zambian Anniversary – Thoughts on Life in Africa
November 14, 2011 § 2 Comments
Last week we attempted to get our Zambian drivers licenses…we’re about halfway through the process. I’ll let Ben blog about that in a future husband post. Let’s just say that the “efficiency” of our Department of Licensing in the States puts Zambia to shame. Needless to say, we were gone every morning trying to sort it all out and then every time I sat down to blog last week, the internet was down or unusable.
Overall, Ben and I have been reflecting on our time here for the last 2 months. It’s been great so far although as stated above, life here does come with its challenges. We’re (getting) more used to the insect and arachnids. I did freak out about the gecko that was in our file cabinet at Mercy Flyers but that was more from surprise than from fear. Ants are everywhere and food must always be in a covered container. Oddly, this is seeming more normal now.
It’s hot, hot, hot (90s deg F) but we got a rain shower yesterday which cooled us off immensely. It’s different from Seattle in that the big storm will roll in, create a ruckus and dump buckets, then the sky will clear and we have sun again. No more gray days and Vitamin D supplements.
I’m cooking and baking up a storm – meals are more planned and I’m trying to do one shopping trip to the grocery store a week as it’s quite an exhausting trek. I’ve fallen into a rhythm with maintaining our household and it feels quite nice.
We’re really enjoying the community we have here of both expats and Zambians. I often describe Zambia as a combination of the Old West and the Old South in America. It’s the “West” in that the community is tighter, the prevalence of technology found in the Western World is often absent, things are often done the old-fashioned way from pure necessity. Businesses often don’t have websites but they have business cards. It’s the South in that there are some racial issues – mostly stemming from the fact that many of the white Mzungus (foreigners) have a great deal more money than the average Zambian. The prevalence of house help and the formality of the culture feels reminiscent of the Old South. People feel the obligation to greet everyone with a formal handshake/curtsy and a, “Hello, how are you?” It’s interesting to analyze the culture and to operate within it. Work is challenging for both Ben and I because of these cultural differences but we’re learning slowly but surely.
Lastly, illness is more common here. We do take precautions with our food and don’t drink the tap water but being sick (particularly gastrointestinal issues) is quite frequent. We don’t take our health for granted!
2 months down – 11 to go!