We seem to have forgotten about our calendar of who is posting to the blog when. Apologies to those who have looked the past two months and found nothing new. Yes, we are busy, yes, the Internet connection is often non-functional and yes, we have had visitors.
My sister Ann came for 5 weeks. During that time she and Nora took a trip to the island of Mayotte off the east coast of Africa. It is a Departement of France and Nora was especially interested since Ann was going to visit friends, both social workers from France now working in Mayotte, and she wanted to speak French. They had a good time and I think Nora is working on getting the pictures and stories posted.
Ann left and our friends Mike Eckhardt and daughter Kate arrived. They stayed a only a short time in Lusaka and then traveled with Bill to Victoria Falls where everyone got thoroughly drenched. Mike and Kate continued on to Chobe Park and the Okavonga Delta in Botswana. Mike's younger daughter Rose arrived a week later. Rose had a longer stay and able to experience more of Zambian culture and our lives here in Lusaka. And of course, she and I made a trip to Victoria Falls. In addition to becoming thoroughly drenched we spent some time watching a troupe of baboons at play, rest and child-minding.
As in the U.S., the 4th of July is a holiday here - Hero's Day which recognizes all those who participated in the struggles for independence from colonial powers. In addition, July 5th is also a holiday - Unity Day. Nora and I decided to venture to the Eastern Province and to South Luanga National Park for the long weekend. We took the inter-city bus to Chipata, a 7 hour ride. Once in Chipata we hired a taxi for a three hour drive to the Park on a mostly non-existent road. We were relieved to arrive and spent the evening standing up! During the night we heard hippos and elephants grunting, snorting and trumpeting. In the morning there was an elephant outside our room stuffing himself with tree branches and the long grasses. Later the owner of the camp showed us where the hippos had come up, out of the river, to graze on the camp's grasses. During the day the hippos laze in the river but still snort and grunt quite loudly.
Faced with the three hour ride to town and another 7 on the bus, we opted to fly standby from the local airport. Luckily we were able to get on the flight for the $60 standby cost as opposed to the $250 regular fare. Given we didn't need to stay another night in order to make taxi and bus connections, and pay the taxi/bus, the cost was a wash and we were home in 1 hour flying time.
The following week I worked in the Copperbelt region of Zambia along side two colleagues from the University. We were supervising second and third year students doing their required 5 week practical experience in various libraries and documentation centres. It was a wonderful experience to see how many and varied the libraries are in Zambia. Unfortunately, when asked about how their collections are supported and acquired, everyone responded that they relied on book donations, primarily those sent through International Book Aid, a British NGO. It was also an opportunity to step foot in the Democratic Republic of Congo and buy the wonderfully bright and patterned Chitenge cloth that is as much a clothing staple here as maize mealie meal is for eating.
As I write, Bill and Nora are on a bus heading for the Copperbelt to visit a woman, Jan, we met on the trip to Northern Province - also an adventure when my sister was visiting. ( Lebo is working on that posting but since she is now in Peru, it's very uncertain when that story might be told). Jan and her family have a cattle farm. Jan is starting a goat dairy and wants to make/sell goat cheese. I opted to stay in Lusaka as the Library Studies program is offering three workshops this coming week as continuing education for practicing librarians. I am working with the group presenting on developing skills for marketing libraries.
Once Bill and Nora return from Copperbelt, they will be getting ready to leave at the end of the month. They plan to visit friends in Cape Town and East London, both in South Africa and then home to St. Paul on the 9th of August. Lebo left Lusaka in early June for 6 weeks in Peru before she heads back to the States.
The new academic year opens at the end of July, so I plan to stay until the middle of the term and then leave 10 September for home. Meanwhile, there are two conferences I hope to attend and present papers at. The first is the annual conference of the Zambia Library Association and the second is the International Board for Books for Youth (IBBY) Africa conference hosted by South Africa in Polokwane.
Enough! Now, if the Internet which goes from Lusaka, to Cape Town, to Italy before being sent out to other servers works, you should see this posting.