“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” –Mark Jenkins

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Day 2 - arrival in Zambia

Gingerly got Tracey off the plane, she didn't look good - classic travel sickness (though thankfully without the vomiting), but pale, shaky and nauseous - it was a first for her and I believe she now has a new-found empathy with her school kids on coach trips.
The D Lounge at Jo'Burg
Johannesburg airport have recently introduced biometric screening using a fingerprint system so the queues were pretty long trying to clear the arrivals area - we went through transfer, hoping our luggage was doing the same. We had paid extra to take along a sacrificial suitcase full of donations from various friends and family. It was full of bulging pencil cases, sunglasses and spectacles, as well as sewing kits, medical supplies and mosquito nets.
Despite Tracey's nausea and the lengthy transfer queues, we made it through to the departures lounge in plenty of time. Found the "D Lounge" upstairs which was a smoking lounge complete with bar and cafe and so we sat awhile with coffees and milkshakes trying to get ourselves right again for the second leg of our journey to Livingstone.
We found a pharmacy in the airport and got Tracey some travel sickness tablets which we hoped would work as we still had an hour before take off. We decided against the chocolate bar called "Nosh" at the same shop, but sat giggling at them outside on some benches waiting for our gate number to appear on the board - such children. After a fair wait and with only 40 minutes to take off, I started to get a little nervous and thought I'd wander to check another board... we should be either boarding or known to be delayed.  Turns out the board had simply not been updated - helpful, and our plane was already boarding from gate A21.... time to move! we dashed through the shopping area and made it to the gate with moments to spare... that could have been an embarrassing story to tell.
The "High-Fivers"
A short flight and more food later and we landed in the small, but modern, airport of Harry Mwanga Nkambula in Zambia, where we were met by our driver Lazarus and two other newbie volunteers - one from America and another from Mexico.
It was only a 15 minute drive to the Sunbird guesthouse and the temperature was a lovely 26 degrees and sunny. We were shown to our room out the back of the lodge in an outbuilding attached to the pump house. Clean and comfortable but filled with mosquitoes. Desperate to stay awake until a reasonable hour, we unpacked, sprayed the room with bug spray and went out to explore, hoping that the killer flies would be dead by the time we returned.
We ventured outside the gated compound of the volunteer house and took a left down the red dust road towards the main street and very soon came across a group of young children returning home with containers of water. All six of them were siblings and there were apparently more of them around - 9 in total! They joined us for a walk to explore the area and entertained us with their dancing and singing. Tracey's first introduction to African children went well - they did the usual... clambering all over her, pulling her hair, holding her hands and grabbing her whenever they could - took her camera off her, inspected everything inside the camera case and generally giggled continuously at everything we said or did. Perfect. Tracey took it all in her stride and as the sun started to wane, we headed back to our lodge and said our goodbyes. We were exhausted, filthy dirty, hot and sweaty. But finally we had arrived. Safe and sound and still smiling.  We tested out the shower, ate whatever it was that was served in the main house - I can't even remember, and crashed out soon after 8pm.

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