Day 307: Basic Living

Sun. 16th June 2013

Early morning fishingTime means nothing when camping, otherwise all these 5:30am alarms would be depressing. Instead we are having early nights to compensate and try to get our seven to eight hours sleep a night. One advantage of being up early today was we had two breakfasts, the first was just after six once we had struck camp and climbed back aboard the Kafue Queen. The boat heading downstream to a local village for us to have a tour around. We moored at the jetty and pondered if the police boat was being built or been decommissioned or has always been that way.

Police boat still in use?It was about a ten minute walk to the clump of houses occupied by Christopher, our guide and his extended family, of his mother and some of his ten children and a few grandchildren. The village community consists of twenty families and spread out over quite an area. We were shown how maize was ground by hand and also the new machine just bought with money from previous Acacia tour group fees.

Christopher's grandchildrenWe talked about schools, but being Sunday the school was shut and also it was a few kilometres away. We also talked about the village and the need for another bore hole for fresh water, and a bit of a tale of woe and hard sell for money. Before long, once all questions had been exhausted it was time to return to the boat and a second breakfast of scrambled egg and sausage. Having just heard how without a bore hole the locals were drinking the polluted river water and becoming ill, I was a bit perturbed that the kettle for our coffee was filled up from the river!

Grandma in their villageWith its one engine, the Kafue Queen slowly pootled back to where our new truck, Sabie, stayed overnight. Once our tents and bags were packed away in the truck we set off for Lusaka the capital of Zambia. We stopped at a shopping mall which was nothing like the shops we have been used to over the last month, it was almost westernised. Even one of Acacia’s employees who now lives in Arusha said how much better it was than anything she had at home. Whilst Duncan, our guide bought masses of food at the big supermarket to last is all for the next few days, we paid the coffee shop a visit as rumour had it there was Wi-Fi and coffee! Well there was Wi-Fi but they had run out of vouchers to sell us to access it – how African.

Nonchelant zebraAll too soon it was time to move onto our next campsite, a working farm just outside Lusaka. Much to our surprise as we drove along the drive we passed zebras and giraffes, which we certainly were not expecting. The campsite was though shut gates but the fencing was not very substantial, and the gates were left open after we arrived so the animals seemed to be free to wander around in the day. As they are wild animals they did not get close to us to be any bother, just like the ones at Zambezi Sun in Livingstone.

Great distinction between the toiletsToday we settle I the routine of camp and the duty roster was put into place. As Dave was in the packing/unpacking team he was put to work straight away. I am in the truck cleaning team which is done at the end of the day. This left me to battle with the tent, which luckily is straightforward but by the time I found a level site Dave was done with unpacking and able to help. The other “jobs” are cooking, washing up and best of all a day off, so we are divided into five groups of three or four campers. I had expected we would be shopping at local markets and deciding what to cook, but Duncan has it all under control and we just have to do as instructed. Not too onerous at all, and as they say, many hands make light work.

Can you see me?Chores done, Dave and I set off for a walk and it was good to stretch our legs as we have been quite sedentary recently. We had hardly set off chatting away when I stopped mid-sentence as there were three giraffes close by in the trees. They had sensed us straight away and sauntered further into the trees and undergrowth. We did manage to track a bit closer but the thick undergrowth made photos difficult, can you spot the giraffe?

After supper we all sat around the fire chatting and keeping warm but soon started heading to our tents for an early night ready for another early start tomorrow. It is back to basic living for us whilst getting to see the locals and their basic lifestyle, which I expect will get get more basic as we head north. One thing seems to be the same the world over, that is the spread of the mobile phone which is a basic commodity of the locals and no shortage of people selling airtime vouchers. What was this country like before the advent of mobile phones?

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