Shaun and Liz's adventures of 2010 travel blog

Hello my beloved friends,

This is your long-lost friend sending smoke-signals to let you know we’re still alive and kickin’. Internet access is…well, let’s just say it’s a challenge here, as it’s at the mercy of so many variables (hydro being one of them!).

I can’t remember when you last actually RECEIVED an email from me (I wrote one and tried sending it last month…but could not get my email working…I’ve put it below, for those who are really keen ;)

So where to begin…

No, I’ll summarize. Shaun and I are living in a Norman Castle (converted into a Guest House) in a little town in Zambia called Lundazi. The only road that leads to this town is VERY BUMPY, to put it mildly. Infact, I think the road is so bad it’s an actual deterrant for tourists…which in a way is good for us, as we get the “real Zambia” experience, as the locals say. The only “whities” we’ve seen in Lundazi have been a couple Peace Core workers who are visiting from neighbouring communities, and a Kiwi family passing through (a Surgeon, here to do volunteer work in another area of Zambia).

There are 5 hippos living in the pond nearby, providing some good entertainment for us. Their ears are so tiny on those huge beasts! Shaun’s named three of them (the other two hide a lot), and will sometimes spend hours sitting on a log, watching Henrietta, Herbert and Horny swim by…

We’ve been working at the Lundazi Hospital and the Clinic here, rotating to various areas. Shaun has been enjoying working in the OR, and also has delivered some babies! My favourite area so far is doing Child Health and Prenatal “Outreach Clinics” in the small villiages surrounding Lundazi. Some are quite remote, and we at times are working out of a community mud-and-thatch roof structure. They hang a baby scale to the nearest tree and weigh all the kids under 5, graphing their growth. We also give immunizations, and do Prenatal assessments. Some days we see as many 200 people in a day (that’s with just one other nurse)! And some women in each community will cook us some lunch at the end of the day, which is always a treat.

They eat nshima here like it’s going out of style. Nshima is a thick porridge-like substance made from ground maise (corn meal) and water. VERY bland, but takes good when served with their cooked vegetables and “soup”. It’s eaten with your hands, and Shaun and I always laugh at what a mess we are at the end of the meal…we pretty much have to bath after eating! Haha…

The people are great. Friendly, happy, kind. Some are sooo poor. We have this theory, though, that the more affluent a person is, the less happy/ friendly they are. It makes me think that we Developed Nations have a different kind of poverty.

It gets a little lonely at times, as many people only speak a little English, and I speak even less Tumbuka…

I’m making great efforts to learn enough of the language for basic communication, and it’s only now starting to “click” me. The people LOVE hearing us greet them in their language, which makes the effort so worth while.

We have a lot of time to think here, and it sometimes surprises me where my thoughts wander (Shaun and I chat about the various people and thoughts that go through our heads and laugh at ourselves…for example, I was fixated on my dental floss shortage; Shaun dreams of reading Surfers’ Journal, and we now are trying to find novels/books written in English).

But I say this, because we think of our friends a LOT. And I wish I could write each of you individually to inquire about what you’re up to, hear about your summer, and tell you that we’re thinking of you and miss you.

I feel very very fortunate here; life is so rich with experience (and challenges too!), rich with the people we know and opportunities we have.

Kay, enough deep thoughts for the day. I hope you’re happy and enjoying your summer. PLEASE eat some cheese for me (especially aged cheddar and goat feta…oooh, the cravings get bad)…and drink some red wine and think of me too…and of course, don’t forget about chocolate gelato or even just plain-ol’ ice-cream! And blue-berries and yogurt and Kashi cereal!

Until next time,

This is Lizzy-g signing off…


A few weeks later: Shaun and I are I Chipata for the weekend (yep, the bus left Lundazi this morning at 2am, and played LOUD African jazz/funk music the whole way. We arrived a little groggy at 0630am in the rolling metropolis of Chipata). It’s not really that big, but it does have a real Grocery Store (as opposed to open-air market and stalls). The trip was inspired by my sudden realization that I have a shortage of dental floss, and NOWHERE – not ever the Dental Clinic! – has dental floss in Lundazi. We also are in search of books - written in English - and thought this larger town's hostel might have a book-exchange...

So we have started our search for dental floss here in Chipata, and nobody has even HEARD of it! Aiyaiyai! I may have to be creative…

Books? A success! YES! Got a couple novels to sink my teeth into...

A happy camper:)

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