I realize that I have been incredibly bad at keeping you updated on my life here in Zambia, and I appologize. I have made a 13-month resolution to be a better person and update my blog regularly, so hopefully that will actually happen.
In May, my family from America came to visit for a few weeks, which was wonderful. They got a chance to see my village and meet all of my friends and neighbors, as well as just experiencing life in rural Zambia. We fetched water, scrubbed clothes by hand, bathed out of a bucket; everthing that has just become normal living to me. We worked in my garden, colored with the kids, and chatted with everyone we ran into. It was all very relaxed, and good for just sitting around and catching up after a year apart.
After spending those few days in my village, we went on a 3-day safari in South Luangwa National Park, which was absolutely fantastic. We stayed at Flatdogs safari camp, in “Luxury Safari Tents”, which was quite an experience. Each tent was a huge canvas affair, more like a pavillion than anything, and large enough to park 3 or 4 cars in. Each tent was set up on a concrete slab and sheltered by a thatched roof, so it was like having a tent built inside a carport. And, craziest of all, each tent contained its own bathroom, complete with shower, sink, and toilet. Basically, these “tents” were nicer than any hotel room I’ve ener stayed in, and I had to laugh that they had electricity and running water, while my house here has neither.
Enough about the accomodations, though: the safari was incredible, too. We saw so many amazing animals, and all up much closer than I had ever imagined. There were elephants and hippos, buffalo and zebras, giraffes and warthogs, and more antelope than you can possibly imagine. We saw hyenas, lions and a leopard; and we must have seen a hundred different species of bird. It was amazing.
After our three days there, we headed to Livingstone to see Victoria Falls, which was just incredible. I had gone in January with some friends, and we had gotten soaked from the spray of the falls, and I had thought that was impressive. This time, though, there was substantially more water coming over the falls, and the spray was completely drenching. At one point you get to walk in front of the falls on a bridge over the river, and there was a flood of water comming down the bridge that made it hard to walk without slipping. Victoria Falls is one of the natural wonders of the world, and there is no question why: it really is wonderful and awe-inspiring.
After a few days in Livingstone, it was time to put my family on an airplane and send them home. I returned to my village, settled back into my regular routine, and have mostly been doing that for the last few months. I have gotten a lot of gardening and coloring done, as well as a little fish farming. I have held a few meetings to teach people how to plan out and construct fishponds, which I think were successful. In the next few months I’m hoping to have several farmers build ponds, so I guess I’ll see how effective my teaching was!
So that’s where I’m at: life continues as usual. I’m making progress in my project, even if it is slow, and I’m enjoying the beautiful weather. We are just turning the corner from cold season to hot season, so I’m appreciating what cool we have while it lasts. I’m also appreciating that all of the trees are blooming right now, and are just beautiful. The tree over my dish rack is covered in blossoms, and more often than not I bring in my dishes full of little white flowers. The mangos are also blooming, and while they don’t have beautiful flowers, seeing the green, bean-sized mangos makes my mouth water in anticipation. So, basically, life is good, and I can’t ask for much more than that.