Monday, March 31, 2008

More Critters

As promised, more animals.

Lionesses at the Protea Lodge

A sitatunga (above) ...hanging by the pool.

"Imphamvu" was orphaned when her mother died from anthrax and was taken in by a family in Chibembe. The family had another elephant called Moto and a zebra called Ebba. The other animals (plus a second zebra) caught anthrax from Imphavu and die. The family made a new camp at Tafika and brought Imphavu with them. After many happy years there she began raiding the local villagers' fields and drinking their beer. They sent her to a game ranch about an hour's drive outside of Lusaka...the Protea Lodge. There were some unsuccessful attempts to release her back into elephant groups in South Luangwa.

Wetlands at the Protea Lodge game reserve

baby python and lunch - the kids were playing with some chicks on the grounds which I assumed had something to do with it being the Easter holiday weekend. Apparently they (there are 4 or 5 of these pythons in the pit) eat 5 a day...

Weaver birds (me without my guidebook) and their nests, hanging above the crocs.

(above) Future Belt, (Below) "elfanant"
Below, The wildest, most unpredictable animal in all of Africa: a toddler without a nap.

Sunday, March 30, 2008


Todd really is working - he even went into the office the day after we got here. He's busy and I think not used to dealing with work AND the likes of us. We were so lucky to see some familiar faces our first week - Hana was in town for a week or so and even Meg's trip overlapped with ours. Ed was here on his first visit from Seattle and we were able to pop into a monthly market with him to get some handicrafts, snacks and touch base with a few locals. Owen brought his camera but he didn't want to take any pictures. arghh.

Todd was designated/default photographer for a press conference this week at the National Malaria Control Center (NMCC, aka his office) for the launch of the "River of Life" expedition down the Zambezi river - to raise awareness of malaria.
the link, if you're interested:
and some photos from the Lusaka press conference.

The Hon Dr Brian Chituwo, Minister of Health (Zambia) and Chairperson of the SADC Ministers of Health opened the most recent coordination meeting for the Zambezi Expedition. (above) Kamoto performers. (below) The Kamoto Community Arts is a community-based organisation formed in 1990. It is a theatre, music and dance ensemble, comprised of theatre for development practitioners and professional actors and dancers. Kamoto Arts' Participatory Performance Practice (PPP) addresses the experiences and interests of the communities. It uses theatre for conflict resolution, problem analysis and needs assessment with an emphasis on community participation and a focus on traditional performance. The focus area of work is both urban and rural Zambia.


Hopefully you've checked out Owen's blog (see link at the bottom of this blog page) and hopefully you've checked out his photos from a little trip we took an hours' drive outside town where went on a little safari drive. We had the truck to ourselves (excepting our driver, guide and some extremely large spiders which our guide obligingly scooped off).

Here is a smattering of critter pics from that trip and from a trip we took to the Kalimba Reptile farm. They have crocs of all shapes and sizes and also...snakes. I'm not a big snake fan and was a little freaked out at the green mambas, black mambas, spitting cobras, python etc. the big crocs are impressive. the little ones are destined to become belts, bags and wallets (it is a farm), not sure about the gigantic ones.

We've seen lots of cool bugs, frogs and birds and are anxious for all our guide books to get here! For now, just a few photos. (I have some more but can't load them up right now...check back!)

settling in

It took us a good 3 days to adjust to the 9 hour time difference, recover from the 27 hours of travel, and to catch up on weeks of sleep deprivation from trying to pack up everything to ship and get the house ready ready for it’s new inhabitants: Kate, Jeremy and little Max. Whew!

It’s been just over two weeks since we got here. We’re having a nice time, enjoying the weather, the long Easter weekend, and (me) getting my bearings. I can’t tell east from west, north from south but I made one successful drive to the grocery store nearby. Drivers are fine they just drive on the wrong side of the road! It seems quite orderly, especially after hearing about driving in Nairobi and Freetown. No thank you. I’ll need much much more practice with navigation, especially since Owen’s new school is on the absolute other side of town from our new digs in Jesmondine. We are currently staying in Kabulanga.

The kids are enjoying Viv's swingset, pool, trampoline, play-dough, books, cats, dog, and...her company! Will she miss Finny's plaintive morning cry from our house to theirs? "Hi, Viv! Hi, Viv? Where's Viv? We go with Viv on the jump-jump?" (at 6:30am?) We're anxious to get settled in our new place but this has been fantastic as far as transitions! Many thanks to John and Amara.

Travel highlights

Some highlight of the experience on British Airways:

Finny screaming hysterically as we board the plane in Seattle. Kicking and thrashing about “GO TO NANA’s HOUSE!” “NO GO IN THE AIRPLANE” fellow passengers were sympathetic, not so for the London to Lusaka leg where the scene was repeated with great drama and enthusiasm. I am thinking by this point that I would sure like to go to Nana's house, too!

7 long hours in Terminal Four at Heathrow. Me, whining about how dirty the airport is and how bored the kids are, and complaining about the late opening of the new, fancy ‘Terminal 5.’ This turns out to be a blessing in disguise. "At London Heathrow Terminal 5 we’ve created a natural, logical journey that’s so calm, you’ll flow through. It shouldn’t take long to get from Check-in to Departures. Transferring and arriving are just as simple and calm. Spend the time you save enjoying the excellent range of shops, cafes and restaurants. Or simply relax and be wowed by the world class architecture."

Apparently Termial 5 did not live up to the hype: "Today BA has cancelled 37 inbound and outbound flights of the 331 it was due to operate. This is on top of the 208 flights that the airline was forced to scrap in the first three days of operation of the £4.3 billion terminal....15,000 bags separated from their owners, etc." "It was 20 years in the planning, cost £4.3bn to build and its staff underwent six months' training before it opened. But none of that could prevent Heathrow Terminal 5 from descending into chaos on its opening day yesterday after the baggage system collapsed." Whew. Terminal 4 was just fine, thank you very much.

Finny catching some zs on todd's shoulders as they stroll terminal 4; Owen sound asleep before takeoff.

More hysteria when the little guy wakes up on the plane. Finny FINALLY sleeps on the plane about 8 hours into the flight, sleeps through landing, sleeps as the cleaning crew boards... We make our swaddled way along the tarmac to the customs terminal. Then, Finny stops sleeping! ...more hysterical screaming, inconsolable crying. We are gratefully ushered into the VIP/Diplomat line by airport staff behind 3 VIPs instead of 2 huge groups of Rotary International students. The student groups sail through and we are the last ones to get everything stamped and inspected. In the meantime Owen is sweating, looking pale and finally, is throwing up.

Only one lost bag; it reappeared intact a few days later. Whew.

We are met by Todd’s friend and co-worker, Msanide (sporting his ‘Obama’ button). Finny refuses his carseat, Owen, aka Mr Safety, is without a proper seatbelt. I am starting to feel ill as well. Eventually we make it to John, Amara and Vivian’s house and stumble into the guesthouse. We sleep. And sleep. And sleep some more.

Why "Village Chicken"

Zambia’s population is currently estimated at some 12 million people. Two-thirds of this population lives in rural areas and is mostly occupied with subsistence farming, fishing, logging and small-scale trading. There are few industrial activities away from the main urban centres, along the line of rail.

Blah, blah, skip ahead to this: The poultry industry in Zambia is based on two distinct systems: the commercial system where broilers are obtained from hatcheries and reared for six weeks on commercial feed, and village system where chickens scavenge for food and take an average 20–22 weeks to reach maturity.

This does not answer the question of why "Village Chicken." We think it's kind of cute? Because on one of TJ's early visits here he made the mistake of ordering chicken when given the choice of regular chicken or village chicken? Because Owen already used our 13Socks for his blog?

Village chicken is free-range, uncaged, organic (we assume) and sustainable (we hope). This blog is about unraveling the assumptions of a Africa neophyte (anne), discovering a new place through the children's eyes (O and Finn), sharing the Africa Todd has come to know over the past 15 years of working and living all things Africa, and more importantly "Village Chicken" is about keeping friends and family on their toes.