Almost 3 months in Zambia

We have of course delayed writing in our blog, as usual – somehow it just never makes sense to sit down just for the sake of writing as there is so many other things going on.

Four weirdos in the bush

So what new has happened since the last time? Well, for one, two new facilitators arrived! Mai and Gitte come with a completely different skill set than us – they come from the background of physical education, so they know a lot of games and activities and are in general just super fun and energetic. Nearly every day they arrange a workout or some sort of activity for everyone – they just really know how to motivate people in that sense. Kind of makes us jealous and sometimes we feel like we are the “bad cops” in this group of facilitators because we keep insisting that people clean up after themselves and be organized instead of just having fun all the time. But I guess that’s an important thing too. It seems that by now our roles have settled into place – they have taken on the role of handling the volunteers and doing evaluation for both them and the staff whereas we are helping the staff with organizing the local workflow and being in contact with the office in Denmark.

We all went for a 2-day hike together some weeks ago – it was just super nice to do something on our own, cook over a fire in the evening and sleep in the bush. Talk about bonding!

Camping in the bush

What else? Well, on a personal level we have been ramping up our training. As I have a big running goal for the next summer, I composed a new training schedule, starting with 20 weeks, and have been getting in the weekly miles so far. Gitte and Mai arrange a staff workout every Wednesday morning, so that has helped a lot with getting my strength training in (usually I find it hard to motivate myself to do a proper one). Kristians, on the other hand, is doing a short strength training session every morning and has recently also ramped up his running. And next Tuesday we are going to have the Eventure Half Marathon, which we are running solo but some people will be running in teams – like a relay. Should be super fun, just like everything that the volunteers are helping to arrange 🙂

Trail running with these guys!

Another change that has happened within the last month is that it has gotten VERY VERY HOT! October is the hottest month in Zambia but not only – it has also gotten very humid! And we have had two or three proper rains and even some thunderstorms. This is also bad in the sense that very soon the mosquitoes will multiply into thousands and we need to start thinking more seriously about Malaria. Some of the students and volunteers have already had Malaria but luckily we have escaped so far. For some reason they don’t like the Baltic blood that much?!

As the dry season is slowly coming to the end the snakes are also waking up and making babies. A week and a half ago our guards killed a big (about 2.5m) Rock Python that was trying to eat our chickens. The next day another one, an even bigger one, attacked one of the baby goats but managed to escape before the guards arrived. And a volunteer saw an even bigger one by the volunteer housing by the beach. Luckily pythons are non-venomous but rather kill by strangling its victim, but they can still be very scary as they are one of the biggest snakes in the world. It’s definitely sad to see them being killed but we cannot go around the fact that this is the culture here – many people and their cattle/chickens die due to the snakes so it is a normal instinct for the locals to kill them. As many snakes are also territorial, there is no other way to make the human habitats safe as moving the snake further into the bush will not help.

A big African Rock Python

As for other wildlife there have been some scorpions around recently and also the first big spider.

A big spider in the sink

As for challenges there is the visa issue – we are in the process of having applied for the temporary employment visa, which gives us 90 days. Mine was approved after 1 month of waiting but Kristians is still waiting for his (2 months of waiting now)…if his will not arrive before the 90 days is over he will have to leave the country, I guess!? Because the waiting time already counts as part of the 90 days then right after that is over we will already need to apply for the next extension. This means having to take a long trip to Kasama city every month, which is just a huge hassle. But on the good side – you get to go to the big weird Chinese store to buy weird food ingredients that you have no idea what they are. And there is also a European-looking supermarket called Shoprite, which has a bunch of stuff (which might be very expensive, but still) that cannot be bought here in our local town.

As a constant the people around us are changing – some volunteers are arriving, others are leaving. At the moment we have 8 volunteers, but three are leaving very soon and 2 new ones will be arriving. Additionally we currently have 4 visitors here for the Mbete Youth Football Project and that also help us a bit with the Marketing Project. Pretty much right as they leave we will have a group of 8 people arriving from Spain/Denmark/UK together with the head of Eventure, Glenn. Right after that we have 6 volunteers arriving and also a group of 17 people from the LEGO International School. And at the end of November there is a group of 8 more people arriving from Denmark. So it’s busy busy and if that wasn’t enough – just as the NSA students finish their year in December we will have a 35-people group arriving from the Peace Corps both in December and in January. I guess keeping busy makes time fly fast, but that might not always be the best thing if you want times like these to last longer…

Morning sunrise – every single day

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