Daily Life

Daily life here in Lusaka for me isn't much different from daily life back home. I get up, go to work, come home, eat sleep. Sounds fun doesn't it? Well I get up around 6-6:30 to get ready for work. I take a quick bucket bath with hot water warmed on the stove, dress, grab a quick breakfast of a banana or some bread and jam, and start my walk to work around 7. The walk to work takes me about an hour. Work finishes at around 5, Leaving me about an hour to get home before it gets dark. I usually take a mini-bus home from work. Now imagine this. A regular sized mini-van, normally seats about 8-9 people. Now imagine this mini-van, crammed with 12-14 people, plus driver and conductor, careening along busy city streets and you have a mini-bus. They are a pretty economical form of public transport. Probably not the most enviormentally friendly or safe, but they get the job done in this city. The mini-bus takes me from Kabulonga, where my office is, into the city center, where I transfer and take another bus out to Libala. In total the trip takes about 45 mins, and is a little easier than doing it on foot. Once at home, I relax a bit, before eating dinner, which usually conisists of Nshima and some vegetables and maybe some chicken. As soon as it gets dark, the doors get closed and I'm not supposed to go anywhere. Kind of an unwritten rule of survival in Lusaka. Don't go anywhere by yourself after dark. If you have to, take taxi's and don't carry anything valuable. So I sit inside, retreating into my room around 8 to write in my journal, read, and type emails. Sometimes I'll watch television, but usually the programs are pretty boring, and sleeping is so appealing, especially with the Larium induced dreams.... good times!!


Settling in….

I wrote this post on Monday, but throught some marvel of modern technology it didn't make it up.... so here it is...

Well going from ChaChaCha's backpackers hostel, our transition point from Canada to Zambia, and heading Libala (an area of Lusaka) was a huge leap. Chachacha backpackers is a hostel which is both cheap (around $10 a night) and caters to Muzungu's (White people/Foreigners). So things there were pretty nice...I could have spent a long time there. We were in the city, so seeing what the city had to offer wasn't hard, but we were still in a protected little bubble behind the hostel's security gates and walls. But that sort of experience isn't what this is all about. On Saturday afternoon, the group of eight JF's from Canada, people I had grown quite close to, started to head out to their respective locales. And so from chachacha's I booked a taxi and took my trip across down to Libala. I am staying here with an elderly widow, affectionately called "Mommy" by all the past jf's and ltov's who have come through Lusaka. She is very nice and lives up to her moniker. Her eldest son, lives nearby with his two small children, who are always visiting Mommy's house.

Today was my first day of work, and it was really quite tedious. I spent the day running around town, getting the requisites for my work permit, as well as accompanying the Director of ASNAPP Zambia as he tried to source materials for a project. I felt like a typical development worker as I was driving around town in a white SUV with USAID decals (ASNAPP is a USAID funded NGO, I know, it's american, but they actually do some good). After work I came home, played some ball with the kids, and as I write this I am sitting in my room, with some giant spiders as roommates getting ready to hit the sack. I think I hear fraiser on the television... or it could be a South African Soap Opera....hmmm...

Ricky Patel



I arrived in Lusaka yesterday afternoon. I am currently exploring the Market areas and buying some food for dinner. The city, from what I've seen is pretty much the same as any city I've seen in India, with some minor differences. I'm going to be moving to my home for the summer tommarow, as well as visiting my office. That's all for now...


In the EWB house

Well it's Already Wednesday. I don't know where the past two days have gone. They have been a blur of case studies, role playing, readings, walking between venues, a scavenger hunt, some delicious Ethiopian food, breakfast in Kensington Market and more. But above all I've been learning a lot and making some pretty big steps in pushing myself out of my comfort zone.

Yesterday I "accidentally" volunteered for an activity following a reading we did. Well little did I know that I was to play the part of Bana Maria, the first wife of Farmer Simon. Well at first I didn't know what to do, or how to play this part, but somehow I managed to channel an African woman, and she exploded out of me like no body's business. It was funny, and surprising. I don't think anyone expected that from me, a guy who's usually quiet and reserved. Well since then I've been type cast and anytime we do a role play (We did one today too) I am the African Woman. I'm not quite sure how I feel about this. But I guess I am learning something first hand about breaking/challenging stereotypes. Especially since not many people would expect a guy with a goatee to play an African Woman so well!


Almost ready

Well, Exams are done...and I'm just about packed and ready to go. I start training on Monday, I'm getting really excited and also very nervous. I'm getting butterflies in my stomach. I'm worried about not being able to a adapt, to be able to integrate and not be able to complete my assignment. I know that I shouldn't doubt myself. I will be fine.

Packing has been a tast in itself. I've got so much stuff, so little room and I can't think of what I should leave behind, because I already only the essentials. Oh well...it's not like I have to carry my pack all the way to Zambia, however carrying it on the bus to training, to the airport and in Zambia will be a whole other story.