Perfect Last Days in Zambia

Despite being a bit sick the last few days, I have really enjoyed them! The sickness has taken away practically all of my energy—leaving me with lots of resting and relaxing. Friday afternoon/eveningish I slept for a large majority of it outside, a nice catch-up after the long week of school and working at the orphanage. Saturday morning, Louise and I got up early to go with Akron (our taxi driver) to his church, Linda Seventh Day Adventist Church. We got there at nine, dressed in traditional Chitange, just in time for “Sabbath School,” essentially Sunday School (as I know it) for the entire congregation, or for those who wanted to attend. Because the service was given in both Chitonga and English languages, we split into two groups for the Sunday School-like lesson where we talked about a fable from the Bible that tied into the church service that followed. At eleven, the main service began. The church was definitely not a typical church one would find in America—essentially it was a large, brick building with rough cement floors, open windows and a podium-like structure at the front. Right at the beginning of the service, Louise and I were introduced as visitors—not that anyone could have ever guessed however (as we were the only two white people in the entire congregation… in situations like this, you tend to stick out just a little!) The speakers took turns with the lessons and readings, switching off between languages so all could understand. The singing was fabulous—the congregation sang in beautiful harmony and it was totally worth it just to go to listen to the singing… wow! I followed along on the very minimal bulletin that was given. There was no sort of communion or anything but rather the sermon, which was last, was given and then the service was finished. Louise and I had to exit first so we could be greeted and welcomed by the entire congregation—this involved shaking about two hundred people’s hands as they exited and hearing how happy and blessed everyone was that we joined them for service for the day—a very nice gesture but so, so many handshakes and thank-yous!
The rest of the day was basically spent relaxing—Louise and I walked up to the Zimbabwe Market to grab a bit of lunch, ran a few errands, and stopped by the ice cream parlor on the way home (my favorite of course!). The rest of the day, I spent a lot of time reading by the pool (Nick let me borrow his copy of The Monk who Sold his Ferrari—pretty good if you need more of an inspirational read), listening to music, and napping as I still wasn’t feeling very good. In the evening, we headed out to the Victoria Falls area to try to catch the sunset over the Zambezi River which was suppose to just be breathtaking— unfortunately, we were told the wrong “viewing” spot but ended up getting into Victoria Falls for free and that was just as beautiful. We took a short walk up to the Royal Livingstone, the nicest hotel here in Zambia—flat out stunning—before catching a taxi back to town where we enjoyed Banda’s barbecue (steak none the less!) for the last time. Then we went with a few of the guys from the hostel to enjoy some dessert (cheesecake… yum!) across the road—it was fun meeting all of them and hearing about their days adventures. Two of them, both from France, just finished studying near Cape Town so they were giving me the details of what all to do… so, so excited!
Today was definitely Zambia paced—slow, no urgency, perfect for relaxation. Most of the day was spent by the pool as it was a completely gorgeous day, like most are here! The weather was probably about one-hundred degrees, no clouds with just a slight breeze… keep in mind, this is their winter! I am glad that I’m here in the winter as I couldn’t even imagine what the summers would be like! I was able to enjoy one last afternoon of crepes before Louise and I headed off once again to catch the sunset over the Zambezi River. It was surely worth it to try again, this time with the right location as the view was absolutely incredible! We watched as the sun went down and talked as it was our last night together—crazy how we had never met two-and-a-half weeks ago but now it seems as if we know far too much about one another for a two-weeks of friendship! She’s been a great travel companion as she was adventurous, participating in the bungee jumping, was always up for exploring the city of Livingstone with me, and she is a great person doing a lot for this world! But most of all, she is a great, new friend—I think it goes without being said, but I’m definitely going to miss her! After the sunset, we headed back to the hostel where I got an hour-long massage… for $20, oh so worth it and such a relaxing way to end the stay here in Zambia! Louise prepared dinner for us—peanut butter chicken,,, yum—and afterwards, I packed and prepared for the next leg of my adventure to Zimbabwe.
A random side-note: I have just finished a long week of wearing glasses (which is such a foreign concept to me!) to clear up this pink-eye-like infection (you tend to pick up a lot of bacteria/viruses over here…). As I was looking for more contact solution (which is awfully expensive—$25 and only found at the pharmacy), I began to notice how no one here in Zambia has glasses and certainly the common person is unable to afford contacts. So, I guess that means that no one has corrected vision and if their vision suffers, the answer is too bad? It’s unfortunate but makes sense as glasses, even though they’re a one-time expense, are very expensive and most cannot even imagine spending that type of money on glasses and contacts seem to be out of the question. That being said, how many people are driving around on the streets unable to see properly or how many children are not grasping the concepts and learning in school because of their vision that suffers… just something to ponder. Another interesting, random side-note is that children here are carried on their mothers back at almost all times in Chitange (a cloth-like material) until they reach about the age of two. Although it is very convenient for both mother and baby, the babies tend to be underdeveloped in their depth-perception as they are very limited in their moving abilities (as they are literally attached to their mother’s back) during the critical time when this is developed. So many people here in Africa actually suffer from poor depth perception just because they get little freedom and interaction during these crucial times of development… interesting.
Zambia has been awesome—filled with many fun experiences, like the safari at Chobe National Park and bungee jumping; learning, as I taught for the first time ever and really enjoyed it; reality checks, as I was introduced to village-life and worked with the children at the Lubasi Home (orphanage); and great memories of and with new friends. I will definitely miss Zambia as this place has basically become my home the past two weeks, especially here at the hostel, but I am most certainly excited for the adventures in Zimbabwe. To be honest, I don’t really know what to expect but then again I had no clue what to expect coming into Zambia and everything worked out just fine, well I’d say better than fine! So, I think I’m off to play and work with lions—lets hope that I still have all limbs intact next time this gets updated (which is anyones guess depending on if internet is available)!
Miss you all, goodbye Zambia and hello Zimbabwe!
Susan

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