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Monday, 8 November 2010

The unhappiest sport in the word…

…(to paraphrase a very dear friend of mine) is how I often think of jogging. I ask you, how often have you seen a jogger smiling, nay, even vaguely looking like they are enjoying themselves? Eh, never I say you say. Well this is the predicament I find myself in. It’s become clear that walking everyday is not going to be enough to sustain my need for exercise and so, in the absence of finding a squash partner (cue the quintet of violinists) I’ve had to take up running. Problem is, I went for my first run on Friday and I haven’t been able to walk properly since! Oh dear… The muscles in the front of my thighs are very very unhappy and are making damn sure I know about it. But I will soldier on and try again this week, this time, making sure I cool down as well as warm up. Watch this space for more news on my aches and pains.

We had a kick-ass lightning storm here on Tuesday. I was in mass for all souls days and thankfully missed the majority of the rain but the storm was ahead of me on the way home. And not crappy old sheet lightning like in Ireland or London, oh no! Proper fork lightning with thunder loud enough to make me jump and swear simultaneously. I think lightning even hit the water in the lake I walk past everyday as I was passing by. I wish I could have captured it on camera but I was too busy a)trying not to get wet and b)not get electrocuted. However there’s been no rains since and I’m getting tired of carrying an umbrella for no reason. But you know as soon as I leave it behind me what’ll happen. People have started planting maize (the staple diet here) in preparation for the rains so it can’t be far away. I’m also thinking about starting a little photography project for myself with the maize. More on that later.

I’ve been missing my London life a little this week, especially in the evenings and weekends. Saturday night, I was washing clothes, (re)reading the Kite Runner and wrote an email. I do nothing in the evenings and don’t know how to change it other than continue to be friendly and wait for the inevitable friendships to be formed. I feel however that while people are very friendly here, there is a line in the sand between me and them. I haven’t really connected with anyone and I haven’t really met anyone who I see the seeds of friendship in. My only saving grace is Jean Pedro. He even got me an invite to lunch today with our resident doctor (Dr. Claudia) and three Italian telecom engineers who are here helping set up a data centre. So it was 5 Italians and I around the table. I got snippets of conversation at best, but I’m used to that from Sara and Rachele so it was fine and I was very glad to have a bit of banter and some laughter. And I’ve learnt to make gnocchi from master chef Jean Pedro. Yum yum yum!

Finally for now, I went out with HBC on Friday. We went to another two parishes and it was nice to be out of the office having spent four days there. On the way there we passed through a waterlogged pothole which could have happily housed a crocadile or small hipo! The second village we went to I met a young girl. She can’t have been more than 10 but she was HIV+. I felt (and still feel) really angry at a world that can allow a child to have to suffer with this awful curse. A curse she had little to do with but will cut her down long before she should have to
shuffle off this mortal coil. She had the most beautiful face and we caught each others eyes while everyone else had their heads bowed in prayer. I think at that moment we were friends in mischief and we smiled happily at each other throughout the rest of my time there. On a number of occasions she lay down on her guardians lap and I saw in her face a sense of comfort and safety that I think only a child can really feel. A sense of safety from a world which doesn’t really care. Only that guardian can provide safety from the world you don’t understand. Something in me misses that feeling, it feels like a long time since I’ve felt it last. I can’t help but wonder now (after thinking about it on Friday evening, writing about it in my journal, writing about it in a email and finally here), that maybe some people find that comfort in God in their (adult) lives. If so, I guess I’m missing out somewhere along the line!

Til next time, from a very hot Zambia



  1. You're jogging?!! (cue my shocked face expression) I'd like to see that... :D That little girl is unlikely to live long, but at least she will have a good friend in you :)

  2. Some people surely do. Some of us, however, take comfort in the fact there is no G/god - when the innocent suffer through no fault of their own; a G/godless world seems preferable to one with a G/god who seemingly ignores the suffering. Well, that's my opinion.

    Personally, I think that makes the work of people like your good self even more remarkable and admirable.