Monday, July 13, 2009

July 13th 2009 Update

Hi everyone!
Thank you for your prayers. I am slowly getting better.
I took a quick tri to Lusaka to see our Dr just to make sure it is nothing serious.
We decided it is just tonsilitis.
The trip down was definitely adventuresome and worth mentioning.
I hopped on the night bus which of course was two hours late. It was suppose to leave at 15hrs but did not leave til 17hrs. As soon as it arrived we piled on. Then we proceeded to drive literally across the street to fill up on gas. After that we drove to another bus station and picked up more people, completely filling the bus (it holds about 70 people). Then on our way out of town we picked up about a couple more people (they had to stand/sit in the isle). About an hour into the trip we stopped and picked up a half dozen more people, a vehicle is never full unless you add several extra beyond it's capacity.

By then it was dark. The guy sitting next to me had brought a drink with him (hard alcohol) and managed to get completely drunk, it was fine because he pretty much passed out a couple of hours after that. It was one of the longest trips of my life. Very long night. We arrived in Lusaka at the bus station at 5am, it was a 12 hour bus ride. It was very cold and dark. One of the taxi drivers had be pegged before we even pulled in. I ended up going with him which was fine although he did not know where the Peace Corp office was at, he did know the road and fortunately I remembered what the outside gate looked like. I am also pretty sure he over charged me as well. I arrived at 5:30am. The guards were expecting me. I promptly went to the bunkhouse, turned on the heater, curled up in a blanket, and went to sleep for a few hours.

While at the office I was able to see the Dr, talk to my boss, and get caught up on some of the local gossip. I also ate out and had a hamburger and pizza, it was amazing. It was fun going to Lusaka but not my favorite place. The city is huge and hard to navigate, it is very dirty, you get hounded by people selling things and begging, and it is also expensive. So I called over to the bus station and got a ticket reserved to go back to Mansa. It was another night bus back for that afternoon, they do not have day busses anymore.

I arrived and of course the bus was about an hour late. It arrived and then it took us almost 2hrs to load the bus up. This time we were actually assigned seats. I managed to get placed in the middle of a church group between to large women. I was able to move to the other side of the isle next to another lady where there was more room. It took us a good hour to fight through traffic and to the edge of town where we filled up on gas. And then it was the long drive back. The ladies sang alot and the lady next to me was one of the lead singers which did nothing for my headache. Zambians have an amazingly strong voice, I am always impressed with how well they sing. We stopped at the major stops and of course picked up more people so that the isles were full. Also at the stops I am heavily targetted by all the people selling food and snacks so I always had alot of people yelling at me. And the one time I stepped off the bus to stretch my legs I would almost get mobbed. They are selling ground nuts, hard boiled eggs, Jicanda (African prune), roasted cassava, bananas, oranges, drinks, and movies. This trip was more sleepless due to the fact that they sang songs off and on for a large part of the night. I think the driver got tired of it at a couple of points because he would put music on(christian of course), although it was not much better than the singing because it too was really loud. Zambians are loud no matter what it is that they do.

We arrived in Mansa at 5am, another 12 hr bus ride. I took a taxi to the house and that was the end of my trip (this driver fortunately knew where our house was at). I was gone for 36 hours, 24 of which were on a bus.

Got to go!

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