Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Big Trip South

Last week we got to take a trip as a family(!) for a whole week!! The last time we got to take more than an overnight trip was in 2005. Funnily enough it was for the same reason. Being who we are we tend to need more than just "we could use a vacation" as a reason for taking a family trip. This time it was the fact that we had to renew our passports. (Same reason as 2005) Also, we had two volunteers who had been with us for two months and were now heading back to the airport. This was good enough reason to load up the cruiser and head south to the capital city, Lusaka.

All six teenagers loaded up in the back with a shocking amount of small bags and doodads.

We took baby Peter with us since I was not yet comfortable enough with his health to leave him with nannies. He was very popular everywhere we went. We stayed at a backpacker hostel and most travelers there don't see babies very often so he got a lot of attention.

Of course we got a lot of stares too. An all white family carrying around a little brown baby. Sometimes we would just get stares and other times people would say, "We are thinking that you can't be the mother." I decided to have a bit of fun and would sometimes answer with, "Yes, this is my son, but my husband has forgiven me." Most of the time I just got a blank stare so it was more a private joke for us. Other times we would explain that he was an orphan and we were caring for him. More often than you'd think possible people would follow up this answer with, "So, where is his mother?". Huh? In a country with one million orphans the term is not new. What would be the correct response to this? Umm, she's dead?

One of the huge blessings of having our own car is that we can stop wherever we like! Seven years ago Tom found this little store in a sort of truck stop. He loved the sausages they served there and ever since would try to stop here when passing by. Unfortunately, most buses didn't stop here so we would just look longingly out the window as we drove past. Now we can stop whenever we like!

I just learned that the name of the shop Chalo Bantu means Without People There is No Country.
Shops here have the funniest names. I will be posting other ones from time to time.

The arrow is pointing to the 'bathroom'. The writing on the wall says: Fee Paying K500 (equivalent to $.10). This gets you some toilet paper--handed out as you pay--and a outhouse style toilet minus the bench seat. Yep, just a hole in the ground.

A tradition with getting sausages at this little shop is looking out for the stray-looking dog that always seems to be there. Tom named her Fleas and although we can't be certain it's the same dog from seven years ago, she certainly looks worn out enough to be.

The backpacker hostel, Cha Cha Cha, we stayed at was fairly inexpensive and relaxed. We've stayed there a couple times and probably will again but it was a little more challenging this time because of the season. October is Zambia's hottest month and the mosquitoes were horrendous.
If we stay there again we will make sure the nets work on all the beds. They were there but some of them were hung too low (read: we were smothered) or had holes. Also, we will make sure we have mosquito repellent. We may also bring a battery operated fan--there were no outlets in our two rooms.
To keep cool Tom and some of the kids got towels wet and slept with them laid out on top of them.

On the bright side the hostel had a really nice pool. It was small but clean and perfect for an end-of-day splash. The boys really enjoyed their time in it.

The hostel also served fairly reasonably priced meals so we had most of our breakfasts there. In the evening the pool area filled up with travelers from many different countries. It made for nice conversations. They also had games set out like checkers and chess. There was a dart board but it had only one dart so that was limiting. All in all though it was a nice, laid back place to stay.

After a couple days in Lusaka we took our volunteers to the airport. It had been fun having extra visitors and they were close to the kids' ages so there were many fun moments over the two months they were with us.
Kirstie and Katherine were a blessing working with the preschoolers, organizing the clinic and library, working at the village clinic and helping care for Peter.

While waiting to make sure the girls had made it safely through all the airport checkpoints Tom played a pool game with the big boys.

Stay tuned. Coming up next: Munda Wanga, Scooby Doo Burgers, and more!


  1. Love how the nationals reacted to Peter. :) And I'm glad you guys were finally reunited with Fleas. How did you get close enough to take a photo?

  2. We fed her sausage pieces. Poor little starved puppy.


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