This blog started as a way of keeping friends up-to-date with Zambian life but it now also helps generate money for the poor here in Chikuni. If you like what you read please click on an ad to help the people of Chikuni.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010


Overtake, undertake, swerve, hoot. This is how we drive through the streets of Lusaka, 7 of us packed into a pickup truck, not a seatbelt in sight. There is the constant rapid-fire chatter of Italian around me as (yep, you guessed it) the car is filled with Italians except for yours truly. This was the beginning of my first Saturday night out in the capital. A Saturday night, not spent at home, wondering what I could be doing in London and what all my friends and family are doing back in their normal lives. It feels good, very good! Maybe it’s the fear, maybe it’s the buzz, maybe it’s the fact that I know this will be a rare occasion but whatever the reason, I feel alive!

Lusaka, as you’ve probably guessed from that introduction is a typical (African) city. Lots of people moving about, noise, traffic, pollution and poverty. That Saturday night we passed two car accidents and found a car with no brake or back lights happily driving along. You need your wits about you! If you’ve never been to Africa then you may be surprised to learn that in some ways, cities are very similar to European cities. We went to a shopping centre/mall/arcade and found people milling around the cinema, mobile phone shop, resturaunts etc just like in Europe. I also finally managed to get myself a local SIM after countless disappointed faces around Chikuni learned I only had an UK number.

Rain close to Monze on Sunday eveningSunday morning we went to the bus station to organise a bus back to Chikuni for later in the day. This was, by far and away, the most horrendous experience of the weekend! Not helped by the fact that it wasn’t even 10am yet. We didn’t even manage to cross the road before people were surrounding us, trying to sell us stuff or trying to be the one to organise a bus for us. Add to that, the near constant honking of impatient bus drivers waiting to depart with little else to do but lean on the horn. On top of that there are cars trying to drive through the place and guess what, they’re also beeping at people to get out of the way. Finally you have the mass of people trying to catch their bus or get through the insane asylum. Oh and although I’m sure it’s perfectly safe, I have my own personal fear of getting mugged/pick-pocketed as the icing on the cake. Needless to say I was glad to leave there, ticket (and confirmed seat) in hand and of Jean-Pedro doing most of the leg-work. I know next time I go there, I’ll be on my own so it was great having him as a safety net.

After the manic frenzy that was the bus station, I was treated to a much more pleasant experience, a most wonderful mass, said by a fellow Irishman. I was sitting there thinking, it’s like having Gay Byrne give the sermon, great stuff! The church was packed, with ushers trying to find seating for the people standing at the back or sitting on window ledges trying to get a view. And there was a Gospel choir who really knew how to sing and indeed, how to get the entire congregation clapping, singing or dancing. I mentioned the Gay Byrne comment to the priest after mass, but I don’t think he was too impressed :)

So all in all, a very nice weekend, with lovely accommodation, goodA Saturday night out with JP and hios friends company and an excellent reconnaissance mission to figure out the details of how I will get to Lusaka in the future and even to the lower Zambezi national park eventually. Lusaka isn’t a place I want to spend a lot of time though and as I departed from the city I realised that I wouldn’t miss it. I guess it’s not my city like London/Cork would be and I don’t feel at all comfortable there, nor do I want to! So it’s back to the bush for me, waiting patiently for the temperature to drop to a more workable level and enjoying the calm life style here.

For those who want my new number, it’s +260 Nine Seven 500 Fifty-one eighty-eight. Sorry for the text version but I don’t want it getting screen scraped by spammers etc. If you text me and don’t hear back, it’s either because it never got to me or I don’t like you! Either way, you could try emailing as well if it was important. I also wanted to say thank you to all those people who emailed after the last post. It must have sounded very gloomy as lots of people thought I was down. But fear not for my spirits are high (despite the heat, spiders and now snakes). I can't even quite believe that I am here almost a full month already.



  1. I just saw a photo of that horrible thing that had fallen from your ceiling... I'm still shivering, both with fear and disgust :(

  2. Good to see you haven't lost those red-eyes in photos He he :-)

  3. Some things, even here, never change. And I'm the only one too just to add insult to injury :D