Zambia Assessment Trip - September 2018
Our first night in Africa was spent at the Natwange Backpackers Hostel. It was a beautiful area tucked away from the rest of Lusaka and had a pool, pool tables, a beautiful sitting area, and lots of brilliantly colored plant life! The hosts were very accommodating and kind.
Carrie, Daniel, Jamal, Josh, Naod, Lisa, Eli, and Dave all came straight from the airport, while Peter and Wes had already set up camp. After getting settled in, we all met with Henry, Mike, and Queen for dinner at a local Indian restaurant that was a nice 5-minute walk from the hostel. There was quite a bit of discussion and laughter. Some of the dialogue included recapping Henry’s interactions with the potential NGO’s, problem-solving how to get data/calls/text working on all phones (we all needed to purchase in-country SIM cards if our cellular providers didn’t have an outstanding plan in place for out-of-country travel), Ann Rule’s book “The Stranger Beside Me”, and much more!
After gathering all our luggage, groceries, personal items, and people we realized very quickly that the planned transportation (1 van that seats about 12 with limited storage) wasn’t going to cut it. We waited for the backup transportation to show up, and when it did (a small sedan) we looked at the overwhelming pile of things we still needed to pack and back to the small car – most likely all of us playing Tetris in our heads to figure out the approximate probability of this thing working. We made it work, though. All of the travelers, their luggage, personal items, and groceries were well on their way (albeit packed together like sardines).
The drive from Lusaka to Siavonga took about 5 hours. We stopped at one of the fruit stands along the way and bought a large plastic bag of tomatoes (about 30 of them!) along with 2 large bundles of bananas – about 12 bananas per bundle) they were delicious, and we ate all of the bananas within about 10 minutes. Everyone handed the peels to Wes after hungrily downing the little treats.
We are all staying on the house boat together in Siavonga tonight. Everyone is emptying their luggage of the electronics we’ve divided up to bring and we are doing our best to set everything up for success for the following days (thanks Dave for your attention to detail!).
We ate lunch/dinner at the Eagles Rest Lounge and were entertained by a very lovable little dog (with a collar that revealed the puppy’s name as ‘Mutt’) while reviewing the focus group and sub-group plan and procedure.
The puppy sniffed Peter out almost immediately as the big-hearted and loveable guy he is (or should I say an easy target to get food from). He gave Peter some very advanced puppy dog eyes and wore him down… Peter ended up sharing some of his beef pot dinner. Peter wasn’t alone though. By the end of the meal, everyone had eaten including Mutt. Mutt had some beef (thanks to Peter), some bread (thanks to Carrie), and some fried fish (thanks to Lisa). He hung around for a little while, basking in his glory with a full belly.
Tomorrow morning we will rise early (around 6:00 AM), make some breakfast (for some reason there is about 9 packages of bacon so surely there will be some bacon tomorrow morning) and head out to the first focus group. We are all very excited to learn more about how our kiosk is impacting the local community. As Wes said, “I think we are going to learn a lot more than we knew.”. And that is exciting.