Lunch in high places.

We were lucky enough to have lunch at the British High Commission. El, Chigz and I got the bus for the first time without any Zambians to guide us and it turned out to be quite successful. It was interesting to attend such a lunch, we had to show our passports and go through security first before entering. We met and had lunch with the deputy commissioner and two employees from DFID. It was really interesting to hear their experiences and the work they do and they seemed really interested and impressed in what we were doing. After the team went to the Intercontinental hotel to hang out for a bit and have some coffees.

We were so lucky to arrive this month, just in time to celebrate Zambia’s 50 years of independence.  We spent the weekend celebrating with the highlights being a festival at Barclay stadium with live music where we won tickets to the Zambia vs Ivory Coast football game the next day. The match was at the newly built National Heroes Stadium. It was really cool we got to visit as it had only opened that weekend and was built in memory of the Zambian National football team air disaster. The match was good fun, there was a great atmosphere.  Chipolopolo is the Zambian teams nickname  (it means copper bullets) and they chant it during the matches. Zambia and Ivory Coast drew.

One Sunday evening some of us went to Levy mall cinema to watch a documentary called ‘Soft Vengeance’ by Albie Sachs. For those who don’t know, Albie Sachs was a South African activist who played a large role in the anti-apartheid movement. The documentary was all about his life and the fight against apartheid. The documentary was really interesting and Albie was actually there in the cinema with us. At the end he stood up and was like ‘I’m here.’ This was rather surreal after just watching a documentary about him. After he did a Q&A session, I couldn’t think of anything smart enough to ask him but it was so interesting to hear his responses, as it is clear he is so intelligent and knowledgeable.

We seem to be here for all the big events.  On Wednesday of week 4 we woke up to news that the President Michael Sata had died. As sad as this was I didn’t realize how much of a big deal it would be. What happens is that the whole country goes into mourning – this means that all events such as graduations were cancelled, no celebrations, no weddings, no sports events/games were allowed, bars and restaurants closed early etc. all shops played gospel music and there is even a TV channel called Zambia Mourns. It was like the world shut down. This went on for about 2-3 weeks until the president was buried.

-Jo

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