Friday, September 3, 2010

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

While in Lusaka recently we were sitting at one of the busiest traffic lights in town. Did you know they call them robots here? Weird! 

Anyway, at most of the busy intersections there are vendors selling anything from Zambian flags, to fruit, to puppies. We've bought phone chargers, phone credit, Spiderman toys and one of my favorite skirts of all time at traffic lights. So very convenient. 

This particular day we were just sitting there avoiding eye contact with the vendors because otherwise they just don't give up on their sales pitches. You end up having to say "We have it!" or "Tatulafwya (We don't want it)" or eventually "Nakana!! (I refuse!)"* to get them to go away. 

As we sat there chatting, a vendor selling hats came up to our car and said, "Are you traveling back to Mansa? I've seen you there." We were surprised. Here we were 700+ kilometers from Mansa and we bumped into someone who knew us.
We were reminded though of our time out on Mofwe Lagoon when we called over a couple fishermen in their little canoe way out in the middle of the lagoon. As Tom bargained for the fish trying to get a good price, the fisherman kept saying, "Oh, Thomas. You're so funny." We laughed that even in the middle of nowhere, Tom's name and fame has preceded him.

*Raven, you'll probably have to correct my Bemba spelling and vocabulary errors....


  1. My husband has the knack of knowing everyone. We could come visit you in Africa and he would run into someone he knows. It's crazy :-)

  2. You should try it out, Countess. Come visit me and prove your theory.

  3. My husband tells everyone that he's never been to a church congregation where there isn't at least one person I used to date.

    I keep telling him he should just be grateful they are PAST dating objects and not current.


  4. Actually, your spelling is pretty good, since you asked. :) It's Tatulefwaya, but you were pretty close. Nakana you got right. Anyway, Zambia is one of those places that no matter how big you think the country is and how far away places seem, it's really really small. Everyone is connected & knows everyone.

    My craziest "it's a small world" story is from when I was traveling in Italy with my aunt just after high school graduation. The last day of our tour, we stopped in a tiny town for lunch. I can't remember the name of the town now, but we had to take a cable car to get up there. As we got on the cable car, I saw a guy from my work back at home. He was on the first day of his Senior Class trip. That was definately a strange moment. Neither of us even knew the other was going to Italy.


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