5th June - 8th June, Lusaka, A taste of football, stuck in the mud and Farewell Z!
The journey back from Livingstone was another 7 hour epic we arrived an hour and a half later than scheduled, and we weren't entirely sure why. We stepped off the bus back in our adopted home city of Lusaka with the best part of a week to soak up every last bit of Zambia that we could, but of course that could wait until the morning because we were knackered!
The following day (Saturday) we started by trying to find Chris a way home. This involved another trip to an airport for the four of us plus little Wezi, at least this time we got results. We took Wezi with us as a favour to his mother Makasa who is currently studying accounting part time as well as working at Barclays bank. She had an exam to prepare for so we offered to take Wezi along with us so she could hit the books hard. Wezi as I had previously said is our unofficial 5th man in Lusaka, and we always have fun when he is around, however we have since our trip began noticed a transition in his behaviour towards us. When we first arrived he was quite tentative and shy, only managing to hold conversations by whispering in our ears individually. Towards the end of our time in Zambia however he was anything but shy with us. He calls us his boys something which Makasa disapproved of; she preferred it when he called us Uncle Dan, Scott, and Juju. We would have never of guessed that the shy boy we initially met was in fact a hyperactive tornado of destruction! In the end we actually had to take shifts playing Spiderman, rowing boats, and all other sort of games he is relentless. So at the airport Scott, Chris, and Silver proceeded to enter the British Airways office locking me and Wezi out of the offices - cue an hour with Wezi on my shoulders playing aeroplanes knackering. The peace and quiet of the British Airways office allowed Chris to book a direct flight home on the 7th.
In the afternoon after the airport we met up with one of Silver's cousins Mulenga Chishimba and a few of his friends. We were due to attend a game between Zambia and South Africa, a game which we later found out was the second leg of an under 23s qualifying match for the African nations youth competition (the first leg finished 1-0 South Africa). The game was held at the air force's stadium which had one main seated stand and the rest was open stands. We arrived at the stadium following Mulenga & co still in our green borrowed ride which we still had, and Mulenga ushered us into a non-existent parking space next to the grand stand entrance. Entering the stadium once we exited the car was quite something. We walked around the grand stand with floods of people gathering, arguing, and queuing in every direction - organized chaos. We were supposed to get our tickets (a flimsy piece of paper in all honesty) from a hole in the wall located directly next to the entrance gate which was heavily guarded by crooked police officers taking backhanders from queue jumpers. Mulenga informed us that tickets for most games in Zambia are only made available on the day and are obtainable from the football ground. So everyone who fancied trying to get a ticket just turns up, and the fact it was nearly World Cup season meant that everyone was in a footballing mood. I wish I'd of had my camera with me to take a picture of the expectant fans crammed together scrumming for a ticket (although if I would have whipped it out of my pocket it would have been stolen in no time!). No one does arguing like the Africans and the amount of pushing and shoving, finger pointing was quite something. The police swung their batons a few times none of them landing any good blows. Our pockets all the while were getting a lot of attention but unfortunately for those trying they were empty. We eventually got into the stadium with about 25 minutes played the score still 0-0. The game itself was quite interested; the score finished 1-1 with the South Africans taking the lead. The insults that Silver translated for us were quite something, half directed at the police and half directed at the players. Perhaps the highlight of our time in the stadium came courtesy of a young teenage boy painted head to toe in Zambian colours who was so drunk he could hardly stand. After walking around the pitch several times in the first half, he attempted during the half time interval to get onto the pitch which meant vaulting a mesh fence with barbed wire at the top. The police foiled his first attempt much to the disappointment of the locals who started launching missiles at the police until they let him go. Within 5 minutes of his release the boy with some help squeezed in a gap at the top of the fence behind where the police were on guard and off he went to the goalposts stumbling around to cheers from onlookers. The game actually was put on hold for 5 minutes in the second half when the ball failed to come back from the crowd. When exiting the ground we met one of Mulenga's friends who used to play for the Zambian national side and currently coaches one of the MLS youth sides in America. We were told that the locals were hanging around after the game to throw stones at the Zambian team bus as a draw meant that they were knocked out of the competition.
Sunday was a more peaceful affair. We took Chris to the Arcades a favourite hangout of ours in Lusaka to the market we had visited two weeks ago. Silver went off and met up with Julius and to pick up Mathieu one of the French people we met on the booze cruise in Livingstone. Matt was visiting Lusaka for a few days before traveling on to Tanzania via 2 day train journey and Silver, with Martha's permission, agreed to help Matt out by giving him a place to stay and just hanging with us whilst he was around. Chris, Scott and I decided to treat ourselves to a massive steak dinner in Silvers absence much to his annoyance. We ate at a very Westernised restaurants named Mike's Kitchen. Once Silver returned with Matt we headed off to a bar where Julius was and we spent the rest of the evening drinking and playing pool (badly). This was Chris's last day in Zambia so when we returned to the farm he packed up his and some of our belongings and off to bed we went.
Monday was an early start. I drew the short straw and accompanied Silver and Chris to the airport at 5am! Chris didn't actually say goodbye, he went through check-in assuming he'd be able to get back out to say his farewells but this wasn't terminal 5!!! Having Chris come and join us was really good as when initially planning the trip he was going to join us. I hope he had fun on his extended holiday, as we had fun having him along. We tried to persuade him to come out to Asia when we are there too - lets wait and see. Back to just 3 (4 including Matt) we decided to spend the remainder of the day at a nearby croc farm. The place had a range of snakes including the black mamba, and a massive python, as well as a few turtles and over 6000 crocs! We got to hold one of the smaller snakes which we were assured were not venomous, and eat a crocodile burger. The burger had a strange consistency, the closest thing I can compare it to is cous cous, and the taste was rather bland but still at least we said we've done it! The best part of the trip to the croc farm was the drive home. To get to the croc park we had to drive quite a way down a dirt track. On the way there we encountered a dip containing quite a substantial amount of water surrounded by mud slap bang in the middle of the road. Unsure as to how deep it was we allowed the lorry following us to go over first. It was roughly 2 to 3 feet deep, but luckily for us the lorry drivers informed us that on the one side the water was a lot shallower and told us to pass that side. Matt told Silver whatever you do don't stop. Silver tackled the tricky crossing perfectly on the first occasion, which may have led to a little over confidence to creep in before the attempt on the return leg. Over he went at the same point and we stopped….and we could not get going again. The wheels were turning and getting deeper into the mud. Silver turned to the three of us and said looks like you're going to have to push me boys! Mud and water surrounding the car Matt, Scott and I removed our footwear and out we jumped. We rocked the car and on the first attempt we were unsuccessful and at this point I thought we weren't getting out and I don't think they have the AA in Zambia! Our second attempt proved successful after a prolonged stint of pushing from the three of us outside the car. Muddy but free we reentered the car where Silver then proceeded to tell us that on our first attempt he was revving the engine but forgot to put the car in gear!!!
The following day Matt left early and we spent our last morning in Zambia visiting Kasisi first school located near a missionary site with Chabala the groom from the wedding. He was involved in the designing of plans to convert the school into a secondary school. At the time of writing it only has reception to year 9. There was a girl's school located nearby but the nearest place the males could go to further their education was a considerable distance away, and most could not afford the cost of daily transport. Chabala gave us a tour, his sister named Diana has worked at the school for nearly 8 years. During the tour I was given a big surprise courtesy of Scott and Silver. The issue of fundraising came up and Silver handed me a piece of paper and the two of them wished me an early happy birthday. The paper confirmed my entry into the 2011 London Marathon and they asked me to take part and try to raise money for the project. At the most unfit I have been in many years I agreed to do my best. Scott said he would sky dive to raise money and we are currently thinking of something for Silver to do (answers on a postcard please!).
The evening was spent out at a restaurant with our host family for the past month the Chishimbas. Unfortunately Uncle Lucky went to his other farm situated 2 hours north of Lusaka, but Aunty Martha, Makasa, Wezi and Mwamba joined us. Pictures were taken, games were played with Wezi, and I was volunteered by my fellow travelers to say grace before we ate (a first for me - I think it showed!). The evening was enjoyable and Scott and I said or thanks individually and before we knew it the next morning we jumped on a plane to Johannesburg for the World Cup.
Zambia for me personally was the perfect start to our trip. It is the best country I've ever had the pleasure of visiting. The people are friendly and hospitable. Everyone we encountered throughout our time in Zambia made us feel right at home, and the people coupled with the natural attractions Zambia had to offer meant that there was never a dull moment. A massive thank you must be given to Aunty Martha and Uncle Lucky, Chansa, and their maids for putting us up and feeding us during our visit. Lastly I must begrudgingly thank Silver who did an amazing job organizing and ferrying us about during our tour of his homeland. What can I say the boy done good… COME ON ENGLAND!!!!
Also please check out our photos at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/
DC, Silver, Scott xxx