Life in Zambia: two months in

Emma, who is volunteering for our lendwithcare.org programme, has written another insightful blog into daily life in Zambia, having now been there a couple of months. Here are a few snippets…

It’s 17.00 and we’ve had a power cut, and no water, since 9am. It’s a daily occurrence and I thought I would take the opportunity to describe to you all what my life here is like…

I am accustomed to life here – as I navigate my way along the side of roads, jumping out of the way when a car speeds past hooting me to move, I forget that I am many miles away from home, where life is so different. I join men in smart suits (yes, suits when it is 37degrees!) walking to work, children being taken to school by elder siblings, girls and boys with music blaring from their phones walking with the arrogance of youth, men sweeping the leaves and dead flowers away from a government building, cattle on a walk, a man on his bike with a wellington on his left foot and a flip flop on his right, three cyclists each carrying two dead goats on the backs of their bikes, holding my breath as passing vehicles emit large plumes of dark smoke…

People have asked me if I have found living so close to such poverty difficult and in truth, yes. Each morning on my way to work I see children without shoes, without proper clothes, put to work. One morning I passed a mother with her son. They were each lifting large bundles of bamboo branches. Mum was wrestling with a load twice the size of her – about the size of a large tree trunk, and son, who could not have been older than ten, a slightly smaller bunch… a small tree. The branches were tied up and resting on a wall. They each had a material pad that they held on the tops of their heads and, as though bulls about to charge, bent their heads to meet the branches. They then each negotiated with the weight to hoist it up and get on their way.

Come 18.30 the power usually cuts out and I casually reach across to my bedside table for my head torch and settle in for an evening of reading. Occasionally my relaxing evenings are disturbed by the odd cockroach intruder. At about 20.30 I switch on my kettle for the mornings water and as I begin to get sleepy, the dogs start barking; barking a lullaby to send me to sleep. I have only seen one dog in the street but come nightfall two dozen or so make their presence known. It is during this pandemonium; the howling of the wind, banging of the windows, barking of the dogs and rumbling of the kettle that I drift off to sleep, appreciating all the advantages life has given me…