My office has an eclectic combination of local and ex-patriot employees: Zimbabweans (“Zimbo’s”), South Africans, Brits, many Zambians including two Mining Engineering and two Geology students, a Ghanan, an Australian, an American, a Russian, a Filipino, and a lone Canadian – me. After making quick friends with the Zambian students Sumili, Zimba, Chiko, and Mas I will be visiting them at the University of Zambia (“UnZa”) in Lusaka. Photos are available at my Flickr site (link below).
My work schedule is 13 days on followed by 1 day off with hours from 7:00 to 18:00, which doesn’t include time spent eating breakfast and dinner. One interesting thing here is that people don’t commonly use the AM/PM system, leading me to challenge myself to re-learn time (rather than simply ‘translating’ into the AM/PM system).
During my off-time, I have found plenty of things to do: Go to the gym, listen to the radio, read in bed, do sudoku at my desk, read at my desk, do sudoku in bed – the possibilities are endless. I’m sure glad I brought a stack of books. If I actually receive time off, I may go bicycling, visit Solwezi, go golfing (2 hours away) or to the driving range (nearby).
The food here has been delicious, and my diet seems pretty healthy. Vegetables are grown locally right on the property, and desserts or sweets are infrequently available (only weekend lunches have desserts). The meat possibilities are endless – even breakfast has 4 meat choices! (Eggs, sausages, ground beef, and chicken liver).
The other night at dinner they were having a barbecue and the cook came into the pub and told us “the meat is ready”. I went out to the grill to try some chicken and the cook, confused at my request, told me the chicken wasn’t ready yet – only “the meat”. Apparently chicken is the vegetarian alternative here. Afton (my vegan friend who just moved to Africa), I’m so excited for you!Looking back on my journal, there’s a few short anecdotes to relate:
-During the final approach to the airplane landing at Ndola I noticed a dusty football pitch full of lanky, African, barefoot adolescents and for the first time it struck me that I’m really in Africa.
-Listening to the radio my second night here I heard a report about a number of individuals in a far-off village being accused of witchcraft and subsequently hanging themselves. For the second time it struck me that I’m really in Africa.
On the hazards of the area :
-My first day here, my boss informed me that malaria was inevitable and that medication only causes problems by preventing a timely diagnosis. We’ll see about that, but I’ll stick to the Malarone Thank You Very Much.
-The Filipino geologist mentioned that cobras, vipers, brown snakes, and black mambas are all common in the area and have been seen on site. In case you don’t know, the black mamba is lovingly referred to as the “two-step snake” – because that’s how far you can get before you drop dead. One bite has enough venom to kill 30 adults.
I’ve posted some photos with descriptions at my Flickr site; click the thumbnail above to reach them.
Until next time!