Day 18th May - Fresh out the frying pan and into the fire!!!
So yesterday we made the transition from holidaymakers to travellers, courtesy of a supposedly 5 hour bus jounrey from Lusaka to Kitwe and then a further 1 hour car drive from Kitwe to to Chingola.
The previous day was a very relaxed lazy day including a failed attempt to play golf due to the fact we were not dressed smart enough, meeting up with another of Silver's school friends named Maybin for drinks at Lusaka's University union bar, and a chilled night out back at the farm. We experienced eating nshima for the first time. This is the staple food for most Zambians made from maze meal and water which after cooking has a mash potatoe like consistency. This is eat with the hands scooping it up compressing it into a ball and scooping up your desired accompanying food off your plate. I think Scott picked up how to eat this way better than I did, even little Wesley was giving me a run for my money!
After packing up we retired to our beds knowing we had a long day infront of us. In the mornng Silver warned us about the reception we would receive at the the bus station as white tourists and true to his word the minute Uncle Luky pulled into the station the car was surrounded by people wishing to buy us tickets, handle our bags, and find out where we were going.
So we sent Silver and Lucky off to buy the tickets and find the bus whilst we stayed in the car still receiving a lot of attention but in a reasonably respectful manner. We then loaded up our belongings under the bus and boarded. The bus was packed, so much so in fact that there were only two available seats left so Silver was placed on a stool ant the front, whilst Scott and I found our individual seats towards the middle and back respectively.
So curious, unscathed and separated we set off for our destination of Chingola via Kitwe. The start of the journey began with a priest saying a rather lengthy and animated prayer of around 30 minutes! A rather pasionate and animated display which earned him a few donations from the approving passengers. The journey started rather straight forwardly with us stopping which allowed for Scott and I to take a toilet break roughly an hour and a half in to the journey, a toilet everyone had to pay 1000 kwacha (10pish) for the privelige of using it which Scott and I were unaware of until being chased by a woman to collect our payment
At this point Silver was moved from his stool to the backseat directly behind where I was sitting and we continued onwards on our journey. Our first bump in the road came when the bus we were travelling on had to be weighed to ensure it met legal requirments, where of course it didn't which meant the bus drivers and workers employed the strategy of repeatedly taking more and more people off the bus until we passed the weigh in. This whole process was then rendered pointless as those removed from their seats were then let back on for the remainder of the trip - the ordeal adding on an extra hour or so to our journey time.
Back on the road once more book in hand with a constantly crying child to mine and Silver's left somethign which I managed to drown out after a while. What I found more difficult to ignore was her brother suddenly jolting forward and being sick mere inches away from where my feet were placed - que another 2 hours of ignoring the crying and smell of sick! I would have given anything to get off that bus, that is anything until we arrived in Kitwe to what was the biggest market scene and number of people I'd seen in a long time, it felt like they could have filled Wembley stadium twice with the number of peopl. Sure enough the bus stopped and this was where we got off, only yesterday back in Lusaka I was reading Wesley the bible story of Daniel in the Lions den - how adpt!
So we descended the crowds of taxi drivers, beggars, pickpocketers, bus staff and locals was over whelming. Worst still our bags were at the back and so this meant a 10 minute wait amongst the crowds in Kitwe. Luckily we met Silver's uncle Webster at the stop, he was a big burely man that came in useful later on! SIlver and Webster got our bags off the bus for us whilst Scott and I were becoming increasingly pestered by the local drags seeing white tourists and sensing money to be had. It was all meaningless tooing and frooing until a local wealked into Scott amongst the crowd then claimed it was infact Scotts faults and he grabbed Scotts arm demanding compensation. Scott shrugged the man off once and got grabbed by the arm again this is when we decided to return to Silver and Webster to seek refuge, but instead the ordeal became more frantic our bags arrived and their were plenty of offers from people to take our bags some genuine some less so. In the chaos someone attempted to unzip my hand luggage bag and in the struggle my phone somehow became airborn as the thief made a run for it, luckily for me Scott managed to catch it mid flight and return it to me where I placed it back in my bag. We decided with all luggage in tow to get a swift walk on up the street to where Webster works where we could pick up his car and continue our journey. Unfortunately for us a few of the more persistent beggars pursued and ebven followed us into Webster's place of work asking for money. Silver handed Webster money to pay the beggars to go and upon insisting it wasnt enough Webster got physical punching a man and forcing him out of the door. In his office we attempted to regain our composure. I more flustered than the other two it must be said!
From here we entered Websters car and made our journey later than planned to Chingola to Chansa's place! Survival - Just!