Wednesday, September 17, 2008


I am still finding my way as a photographer here. My favorite subject remains abstract, extreme close-ups of flowers and leaves. (After the children, who are the most photographed kids in all of Zambia). Here is a sampling of the better 'arty' photos I have managed recently (copyrights reserved). Imagine them on a wall as giant, white matts, black frames...

Friday, September 12, 2008

Getting there is half the fun

These photos were taken on the trip down to Kiambi/Lower Zambezi....they are not beautiful photos but those will give an idea what a weekend family road trip here looks like! If you look on the map, we just drove from Lusaka to Chirundu at the Zim/Zam border, took a left and hopped over the Kafue river and on to the banks of the Zambezi.

Below, Before we were able to actually LEAVE Lusaka we drove from one petrol station to another in search of fuel Finally we found one - and there we sat for two long hours. This was the view: the queue for diesel and the guys lingering at the pump, trying to sneak in jerry cans or try to sneak up in the line. Several trucks just went around the station, and reversed back to the FRONT of the line and filled up without waiting. One bold fellow even filled THREE giant drums in the back of his truck after he filled up his tank! The children learned some new words from daddy.
Below, this is "town." Downtown Lusaka which we avoid if at all possible, traffic is very bad there and it is not really a place to walk or park your vehicle. But, very lovely architecture...or...just a lot of concrete - A LOT of concrete.

Below, the Bureau de Change. They do not speak french here but the currency exchange offices are all named this. It is also a good example of the typical downtown building. See? Concrete.
A grocery store as we head out of town.
The LaFarge Cement factory! I had to photograph this because we happen to have a LaFarge Cement factory not one mile from our house in Seattle, down on the Duwamish.
Below, some ladies headed home from Chirundu with their packages.
Below, the brand new road the Chinese built that goes from the port at Chirundu to Lusaka.
Below, this is the chaos at the port at Chirundu...all the cars waiting to either get their paperwork to pass into Zimbabwe or waiting for the paperwork to proceed into Zambia. This is also where the turnoff to Kiambi is. And if you do not SEE the turnoff, neither did we. We drove past it 4 times and finally had to have someone drive ahead of us to show us and even then we didn't really think it was the turnoff.
Below, this is the pontoon we had to take to cross the Kafue River to get to Kiambi. There are no passengers allowed so I had to get out of the car and 'walk on.' The fee is 40,000 for the crossing (about $12) - for the vehicle. I dont' know if they charge for walk-ons.

Kiambi and the Lower Zambezi River

Above, the Lower Zambezi River from Kiambi -
in the distance, on the right, is the confluence of the
Kafue River and the Zambezi River
In no particular order: all creatures wild and wonderful, all creatures great and small, some creatures from the Lower Zambezi, we did not see them all! Above and below, African (duh) Elephant - from the boat it was relatively safe to get quite close to the elephans and hippos
Below, Hippos! Wikipedia tells us: Despite their physical resemblance to pigs and other terrestrial even-toed ungulates, their closest living relatives are cetaceans (whales, porpoise, etc.). The common ancestor of whales and hippos split from other even-toed ungulates around 60 million years ago. hippopotamus is one of the most aggressive animals in the world, and are often regarded as the most dangerous animal in Africa. There are an estimated 125,000 to 150,000 hippos remaining throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, of which Zambia (40,000) and Tanzania (20,000-30,000) have the largest populations. They are still threatened by poaching for their meat and ivory canine teeth, and by habitat loss.

Above, bouganvilla, showing off. I believe the bouganvilla is a native of South America - how it got here, one never knows but it is everywhere. The actual flower of the plant is small usually white, but each cluster of three flowers is surrounded by three or six bracts with the bright colors associated with the plant, including pink, magenta, purple, red, orange, white, or yellow.
Below, the Lilac Breasted Roller Coracias caudataus - one of our favorite birds. It is usually found alone or in pairs; it perches at the tops of trees, poles or other high vantage points from so it can spot insects, lizards, scorpions, snails, frogs, small birds and rodents moving about at ground level.
Above, Tourists in their habitat. Below, A white-fronted (?) bee-eater, something I had last seen in 1994 at the Bronx Zoo - much nicer to see them (and their cliff nests) in Zambia.

Above, crocs. They are there one minute and then...disappear underwater. There was absolutely NO temptation to go for a swim. Besids the crocs and the hippos there are also 'tiger fish' which we might like to eat but I would not want to be eaten by.
Below, The African Openbill Anastomus lamelligerus, with its 'wide, rather nutcracker-like gap between the mandibles.' We saw many birds: storks, egrets, herons, cormorants, geese, ducks (even there is the Mallard Duck in Zambia), hawks, vultures, kingfishers, hornbills, plovers and the massive fish eagle.

Above, two Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiacus.

Below, two fisherman in a carved canoe

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

more before and after - the shipment

The drama continues with 'the nipmint.' To update, the shipment was 'held' for a month in a bonded warehouse in town while they, the Zambian Revenue Authority, decided if we needed to pay duty because we were in violation of the mysterious "6 month" rule. Normally goods that arrive after 6 months from when your work permit is issued are taxed to the tune of 92%. Because (1) the permit was issued in November, (2) it wasn't delivered to Seattle until the end of January (3) we didn't move until mid-March and because (4) the shipment took from March to August to actually get to Lusaka, we are long past this magical 6 month window. The ZRA decision? we do, we don't... oh, wait....we DO owe. During the 'we don't' part of the negotiations the shipping company was able to get the stuff released and delivered to #24.
Fortunately or unfortunately for us the day prior to it's delivery we were given 'notice' at our place and instead of UN-packing to finally move in, we are PACKING to move. As you can see from the pics, we have unpacked quite a lot - furniture and toys and we 'set up' the living room and the playroom and remain surrounded by cardboard boxes and suitcases. In a stroke of very good luck and incredible timing our good friends and right-next-door neighbors are moving from Zambia back temporarily to Holland where they wait to see about where in the world they will work next.
They have been in Zambia about 5 years and in Lusaka just over a year. They hope to come back to Africa where they both have lived for the past 15 years or so - Bisseau, Rwanda, Congo....the list goes on. Anyway, the joke, before we knew we were going to be moving was that when they left we would take over their place and just thrown our stuff over the fence. Who knew it would actually happen. We'll miss this lovely american style villa but the new house will be wonderful - the garden is better and the pool much more kid-friendly...the shallow end is actuall...shallow! Mostly, it will be nice to be in a house that feels like 'home' and in a house where I feel like I can finally UNPACK in! I'll have lots of nice clean walls to paint....after I paint over my projects here. Shame, eh?
We'll move there October 1st and the Grandparents will get a good rest from the long trip over the Atlantic and....get to help us unpack! (Right, Jane?! Bev? Hugh?!!)


The children have emerged from beneath their mops...the guy who cuts Todd hair too short had a go at the kids' hair recently. While I miss the BMX grade-school dropout-trucker/surfer look they look darn handsome with their new do's. Owen had to have his hair all pinned up for this cut to proceed- it was so unruly. Finny is just so happy to be participating in all the 'big tid' stuff he could hardly contain his joy, but he sat stone still with an ear to ear grin for his haircut. The kids both were treated to the post-cut head-massage and shampoo. it was hysterical. Before and after photos for your entertainment:

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Zambia Mourns

Saturday morning the body of the Zambian President, Levy Mwanawasa, was brought back to Zambia and we were able to see the motorcade as it traveled from the Airport to the Mulungushi Conference Center in Lusaka. We walked with the kids from our house to Great East Road along with hundreds of others. For me it was a rare moment to photograph Zambia and Zambians (with police permission) and an opportunity to try to capture a moment in history – the death of a popular, sitting African President.

Below: mourners lined Great East Road as the motorcade passes.

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