Before going down to Zambia I did some research on the place where I would go. I think the whole research lasted about 2 hours as I was soon to find out that there was literally nothing to be found about this place other than the information that I could find about the lodge. In my western mind-set, I didn’t fully grasp the details of what this lack of information actually meant on the ground. Well, let’s just say I found out soon enough.
I already told you about the extremely long bus ride from Lusaka to Mpulunga that brought me deeper into rural Africa with every single kilometre that we drove. I also told you about the 80 km boat ride that brought me to the lovely place I call home right now which truly seems to be the very end of Zambia. So, without further ado, I would like to welcome you to remote and rural Africa!
This is a place where tar-roads are weird, out of place, things that can only be found on postcards and in movies. But wait, there are no such things as postcards and cinemas in this part of the country so the local people only get to see the peculiar things we call roads when they go to a major town. Electricity came to this part of Zambia only two years ago and the power seems to come and go whenever it wishes to do so, moreover, power surges are very common here! For those of you that are not familiar with power surges, I’ll give you a short example using my bedside fan. Every evening, before going to bed, I turn on the fan to create a nice gentle breeze that helps me sleep. In the middle of the night, I often wake up because it seems like a hurricane is raging through my bedroom… Other good indicators of being ‘far off the beaten track’ are that there are no such things as banks around here (one literally needs to bring cash in from town), supermarkets are unheard of, fuel only comes in big 200 litre drums and garbage is simply everywhere.
In this challenging environment, I make my way to the CLT office on a regular basis. I usually travel by bike around here to the great amusement of the local people. Muzungus (local slang for white people) are always an attraction to the locals and you can imagine what it looks like when a Muzungu passes through their village on a bike. Very often, I have to make my way through the rows of children who stare at me in full amazement and run after me asking for sweeties until their little legs can’t keep up with me anymore. It takes me about 30 minutes to get to the office from the lodge by bike, a little tour that I gladly share with all of you (watch it on youtube for a better quality):