August 27, 2010

Arrival to Lusaka

Wednesday 25th of August: I have a safe flight from London to Lusaka and unexpectedly comfortable! My charity fare ticket allowed me to carry 3 pieces of luggage and also a World traveler seat (with extra space, no seats before me, just opposite the business area!). Beside me is a finish girl with whom I have nice chat about Zambia and the NGOs ( she works for Int. Union for Conservation of Nature). Thursday 26th:After watiting for more than half an hour I obtain my business stamp in my visa (following my NGO indications) and half an hour later I obtain my 3 pieces of luggage (one of them with only one handle)..and Paul Zulu was happily waiting for me! He is a a Programme officer in Edusport (my NGO). Fortunately everything has gone succesfully! See attached pics from airport, the main road from airport to town; He took me straight to Edusport office where we are the first people to arrive despite life in Zambia starts up to 6am (as it gets dark at 7pm...).

We hold an initial meeting, Michael (the director), Sydney (Accountant) and Niachi (accounting and administrative) about what they expect from me (goals, what they need me to help to improve) and so I provide my opinion and ideas. Afterwards Paul continue with his great work of helping me in my first day arrangements. As per request of Michael, I changed my current reservation in Chachacha backpackers hostel (ohhh it sounded so cool!) to Makaland hostel, as it seems to be nearer for me in my daily way to the office. So after checking the availability and watching the room offered I decide to stay (see my room below, after my special customization). The hostel looks veeeery quiet, honestly. But in my first day I prefer not to change Edusports plans for me, and at least this is the place where the previous volunteer was accomodated...

The staff working there seem nice and very hard workers (everything is very clean)

Third task in which Paul helps me: we go (in his car) to exchange dollars per kwachas (I sell 200$ and obtain 1.000.000 kw), and buy a zambian sim card for my stay in Lusaka...But when Paul goes and I try to use it, it doesnt work. So i decide to go again to Arcades (a far away mall to go walking from my guesthouse) and they say that I need to charge credit in the sim (logical, but I thought my colleague had already requested in the initial visit to the telecom shop...). Following his instructions I hadnt takent more money than the recommended by him ( 40.000 kwachas) .However, in my first walk outside i learnt:

- I must take three times the money recommended, as lunch costs not much less than in Europe (If you go to a western food restaurant, like Subway, that I hate by the way)

- Distances according to Zambians dont mean the same as for westerns :walk took me nearly one hour, and I decided to call a taxi(*) and thus, pay private/public transport for the way back

- Credit mobile cards run out so fast! the initial credit ran out with only one international call (to mama) and 30 seconds to the zambian taxi driver phone number!

So without kwachas I could manage to take the taxi (*it is recommended to call taxi drivers that someone you know offers you, not whatever you see in the street) that Mike from the guesthouse provided me, and he allowed me to pay him in the hostel (when I obtained more cash from my locked suitcase!).

After a very busy morning (and non-stop night on board) i suddenly fell asleep in my bed at 4pm till 5pm (without opening the mosquito net, nor putting insect repellent in the room or my western cautions.. an unexpected y rewarding siesta.)

When i wake up I decide to go to my initial Chachacha hostel to cancel personally my reservation (I want to be polite, and they already knew me because of all of my previous e/mails). I took advantage from the place and had dinner in the nice bar full of people (expats, zambians, backpackers....I still dont consider as definitive my new accomodation in the other hostel..) Even some people of the hostel talk with me, very nice travellers. Well, its time to go home. I fell asleep at 9pm

Zambia is on the list of the 50 World's poorest countries. It has a population about 12 million of people, Lusaka the capital over 3 million, and Livingstone (the old capital when the British age, Northern Rhodesia ), 100.000 inhabitants. HIVS/AIDS is in a proportion of 1 of 7 people; and also malaria is a major cause of mortality specially in the rainy season; children until 4 years old are more likely not to survive than the rest.

1 comment:

  1. Muy bien campeona!!!! Primera prueba superada! :)