27 January 2013- Lusaka, Zambia
Wow, it’s almost the end of Jan, how did that happen?! It’s a bright sunny morning after a coolish evening (glorious for sleeping!) and I’m feeling the best I have felt in days. The vague stuffy head feeling I have had for a few days seems to have mostly cleared and the driving me crazy itchy and soreness in my eyes is calming after getting some new drops that seem to be working (fingers crossed).
Olly has just handed me a morning cuppa and is making some scrambled eggs and I have made some egg mayonnaise for lunch (we have a lot of eggs at the moment!). The local dog (we seem to always have one with us everywhere we go) is a small old jack russell and he is lying in the sun every so often sitting on my feet.
We stayed on in Livingstone for an extra day after our day at the falls and organising our Yellow Card (3rd party insurance for most of the rest of E Africa) to get landy serviced and checked, which took all day. I was not feeling very well so we sat all day at a cafe waiting for landy, I really wanted to lie down on the floor. Landy had a service and check up and has been given a clean bill of health, although we will likely have to replace the brake pads soon ish. Late in the afternoon I saw a large possible overland looking vehicle drive into the car park and decided to go have a look. We come across commercial overland trucks fairly regularly but have not met other independent overlanders yet- I thought we would be running into them all over. Anyway I approached and saw a man standing outside and decided to just go up and say hi. I introduced myself to Atte and Marijke and asked them how their travels were going, I could see from their plates they were Dutch. They have been travelling through the Middle East and Africa will be shipping their vehicle to Aus soon! They were looking for internet to sort a few things out so I showed them where we had bought our sim card a few days earlier and we agreed to meet up later at a camp site.
We had a lovely evening with Atte and Marijke with cheese and biscuits and a few glasses of wine and they kindly invited us to join them for dinner. The next morning we got the maps out and shared some ideas and tips- they were a wealth of info for the areas in Africa we are going to and we shared some of our favourite spots in Aus with them. We also swapped sim cards from countries we had been to and wouldn’t need anymore and we bought some Ugandan shillings and Ethiopian birr from them (kindly at a great rate!).
We decided to leave that morning and go visit the farmer friends of our friends Kate and John in Aus. They live about a 5 hour drive from Livingstone on the way to Lusaka and the drive was easy, the road in reasonably good condition (although some very large potholes just when its been good for awhile) with heaps of people cycling and walking along it. Glenda and Graham welcomed us warmly when we arrived in the late afternoon/early evening. They live on a beautiful property farming sugar cane. Glenda and Graham are from Zimbabwe and moved to Zambia ten years ago, as refugees really as their farm was forcibly taken by members of the Zanu-PF party (Robert Mugabe’s party). A party member now lives on their farm and doesn’t even farm, just lives there. Their farm was seized despite it being ruled illegal by the high court in Zimbabwe. It was chilling and disturbing to hear the horror stories of that time in Zimbabwe and what a trauma it must have been for their family (they have two sons who were still at home at the time). They have courageously set up shop in Zambia. We spent a very pleasant evening with them chatting about this and that and it was so interesting to hear a local perspective about different things in the area, including the education system in both Zambia and Zimbabwe and the current state of Zimbabwe. They assured us we would no doubt not have any problems as visitors but it is still a very corrupt and dangerous country for locals, particularly anyone who is willing to speak against Zanu-PF. They told us stories of people disappearing, never to be heard of again and of many people dying in car accidents (although a doctor says different and families are never able to view the body). All very disturbing and sad.
Yesterday after a lovely breakfast we were on our way loaded with fresh eggs, fresh muffins and some veg from the farm. We drove the few hours to Lusaka and made our way into the city to get brake pads for landy, for when she needs them. Graham had shown us on the map where to go and warned we had to go through a busy and potentially troublesome part of the city so to keep doors locked etc and especially make sure the back door is locked as people will try to open it and take things. Its been awhile since we have been to a city. As we approached it got busier and there was lots of rubbish strewn about and a fair bit of standing water from recent rain- not very good for hygiene and it increases risk of malaria and cholera. We started to hit crawling traffic a few km in and it was chaos, everywhere people selling literally everything you could possibly think of- both in small shops and all over the foot path, which means everyone walks on the road (carrying everything you could possibly think of) as the foot path is taken up with people selling wares. Hectic and busy doesn’t start to describe it and we were glad to be in a big vehicle with a bull bar or we would have never been able to ‘nudge’ our way through. Absolutely no troubles though, just a few stares and I gave a loaf of bread to a man who needed it far more than we did. We stopped at a chemist for my eye drops, suggested by Glenda and also picked up some treatment for malaria, Glenda and Graham warned us not to get complacent about mozzies, malaria is bad around here and they strongly suggested we take some treatment with us as it can really start to work straight away, if we have any symptoms (mums- of course we would still go to dr). We took the advise of the locals.
We spent yesterday afternoon curled up watching a video on the computer (thanks Brian and Judy!) as I was not feeling great and we just wanted some down time. We will venture into the city today to get some bread and bits before we go and will likely cross into Zimbabwe again for a bit.
We are expecting things to continue to get more difficult and more and more different, we always knew Namibia and Botswana would be easy.
As Im finishing this a few zebra have walked into camp and are eating right behind me! 🙂