Sunday, March 28, 2010

And Now for Something Completely Different...

It's not every work day that we get to chill with Miss Zambia and C.R.I.$.I.$. (aka Mr. Swagger, also....our neighbor) and Sirus. This day we did. Here we all are at the Barclay's Sport Complex.

(...always a family affair. O would have been here too but he was off camping with his classmates)
Despite appearances, it's always about Malaria.

Monday, March 15, 2010

goodnight but not goodbye

LUN, Zambia

This week we mark two auspicious occasions.....two years in Zambia and two years since we met out dear friends from Bothell, WA. They used to live around the corner from us in West Seattle but it took moving to Zambia to meet them ... in the American School parking lot while we were both picking up our kindergartners. While we are making plans for our summer home leave these guys are making plans for their big ‘leave.’ Terri and I have spent countless hours together and I can’t imagine what I’ll do without her here. Terri, you have been such a great friend.

We’ve been here just long enough now have to say goodbye to a lot of good friends. Many folks we have met are here for two to three years, then they are off to their next post. One family that we met just as we got here had moved here from 2 years in Thailand and were headed to Croatia next. Then there are the long-timers....we had to see off another couple recently that had been here 10 and 30 years but recently packed up for India. They are sorely missed.

This expat life is strange indeed.

I wonder what is in store for us? (I wish I had an answer.)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

renovation - before, after and in between


When we moved in at 23b, we took on a few projects. This is the latest. Yet another reason to book your stay in Jesmondine. This is our poolside 'boma'

....and here are the "during" pics in case you aren't satisfied with just "before and after"

No, Siku is not dead: he's resting up for his nap and dreaming about all the cars he's going to run down.
In the morning I would catch Siku snoozing on top of this giant pile of rotten, bug (and snake, it turned out) infested thatch ... in the pouring rain. He has a nice soft bed with a blanket and a cushion but he abandonned it during the renovation. This is just one of many ways that the dog is totally deranged.

The new design - they placed the new termite-free poles in the same holes but we got a cool tall, sloping roof which should withstand a few more rainy seasons than the old, nearly flat roof. (notice Siku in/on his nest still...)

The guys have a home renovation company called "Sweat for Sweet, MMF and Chilala General Dealers" and were good fun to have around. The project took about 10 days of work from demo to cleanup but it was spread out over a month b/c it was done in February and we had a month of really heavy rain.

More later on the bittersweet acquisition of our hand-built mukwa patio set, but for now, see?there's an empty seat just for you! (and dinner even....the kids would have nothing to do with couscous, grilled plums and tenderloin....or salad of picked from the field organic lettuce. Lettuce is practically an endangered species here. (Thank you, Sugarbush Farms)

two question pop quiz

Mr. Thirteen Socks left the country this week. Where did he go and why? Your only clue is this photo:

Mrs. Thirteen Socks did not get to leave Lusaka but I did do to something(s) different and fun besides go to school and to the grocery store. This photo is a preview of one of my field trips.

(If your answer is 'go to the hardware store' it would only be partly correct b/c I did go to the hardware store but that was neither exciting or fun. )

Thursday, March 11, 2010


I have learned not to get too uptight about the massive over-pruning. I was a little upset about the above massacre. But, not only is it not "my garden," things grow like MAD. This is 4 months later:

Bonspeil, anyone?

The boys are actually sore from all the nonstop Olympics-motivated running, sliding and jumping. They were appropriately inspired and were thrilled to learn about all the crazy sports on offer: Snowboardcross, aerial skiing, hockey and of course...curling. We won't make it but you can see about visiting the open house at The Granite Curling Club -- the last of the season is 27 March and it's about as much fun as you can have on the ice.

The lack of snow and ice did not stop them for a second - field hockey sticks and toy truck wheels, yo-baby balance boards in the pool, crashing twists off our giant trapeze, even luge and skeleton 'races' on the toy box lids. FYI: The wrist guards, knee pads, triple socks (for extra sliding), helmets....not overkill.

Rainy day project

oj does mj

rock, paper....

My love affair with chitenge continues. I have been collecting fabric as is the family tradition, maybe not so much tradition as an affliction, addiction, compulsion.... Thankfully, I had a tailor/seamstress/artist for a mother and while to this day she curses my lack of ability to follow the directions as written, my protensity to ignore suggestions of pinning, basting, ironing and the like, I do manage to finish a project now and again. The boys are excellent piece-quilters and we often wrastle for scraps for projects. The traditional cloth we get in Zambia comes from all over Africa. Mostly we see chitenge from Congo (batik and wax resist), Cote d’Ivoire (wax resist and printed), Ghana (batik and dyed), Tanzania (printed) and Angola (printed). Whatever the fabric pattern and color, it’s always wild, crazy and begging to be put to use.

The fabric comes to the shops in 6 meter long pieces. The shops sell them only in 6 meter pieces for 40-80,000 zkw ($10-$20). In the market they will cut the fabric but only into 2 or 4 meter pieces. Once when out shopping with someone who wanted to split a 6 meter piece with me, we asked that the fabric be cut into two 3 meter pieces. The look shot back at us told us that the request was not going to be honored under any cirumstances and we had to do rock-paper-scissors to see who got the 2 meter bit and who got the 4 meter piece.

Funny that we both did “scissors.”