“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

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Stressful day all round

playing draughts with bottle tops
Today did not start well. Tracey’s shoulder pain kept her awake all night and after a cold shower I discovered I have been rewarded for failing to tuck my trousers into my socks with my first African tick. Attached to my knee it was almost black, and very quickly dead. Will keep an eye on the entry point as I hear tick bite fever is pretty nasty – but has an incubation time of 2 weeks.
Metalwork student
One of the other volunteers, a New Zealander named Vinny, came with us to the farm today, and since Songiso now considers us “residents”, we showed him around ourselves whilst we waited for Rachael to turn up. Rachael and her husband Mani run a workshop in Livingstone called Pure Skills, where they make soap and repurpose glass wine bottles into lamps and candle holders. Mani teaches welding and metalwork to the locals and together they employ half a dozen or so people. Since there is no glass recycling in Zambia many people drop their glass empties off at the workshop and if they are too thin to be turned into ornaments, as most of the cheaper beer bottles are, then they send them for crushing and turning into building blocks!
We came back to the farm shortly before lunch and managed 40 minutes of swinging a hoe with Bernard and digging holes for planting more maize with Moffati and the others. Had a chat with Bernard about his religion (Seventh Day Adventist church) and Vinny and I were smiling to ourselves when he launched into song in the fields. The blind Christian whose old lone voice sang quietly across the rows was really quite moving.
re-purposing glass bottle
Tracey’s shoulder meant she couldn’t work the fields today, so she spent the time cutting mutton cloth for boodling in the afternoon.  Unfortunately for Tracey it was impossible to hide the pain she was in and so Cecilia took it upon herself to apply a little Zambian physiotherapy … almost yanking her arm from its’ socket before raising it agonisingly over her heard. Tracey left the room and Cecilia was in apologetic pieces. Today really wasn’t going well.
making soap
On a brighter note, we taught two new youngsters today – Irene and Agnes. Little Agnes has been begging me to teach her for 2 days now and had resorted to teaching herself with some old brown string and a lollipop stick – I felt her determination needed rewarding and handed over one of Biltong’s precious hooks and sat down with her to teach. She picked it up relatively quickly and we began to rethink the ruling that we would only teach the adults. The problem was that as soon as the other children had seen me teach Little Agnes, they all wanted a hook, some materials and me to teach them – we just didn’t have sufficient resources.
After our day at the farm we headed into town to shop and change some money, which was a complete disaster and both Tracey and I were getting quite stressed. We managed to get only 10 of the mossie nets we needed for the farm and only 4 pairs of scissors – we will have to get the rest elsewhere tomorrow – although where from is anyone’s guess. For all the good things here, there are a mountain of frustrations that us Westerners just can’t comprehend. Tracey typically has twice as much patience as me, but even that was not enough today… thankfully when one of us is not coping the other steps up to cover. We got through the day and headed home for much needed beer.
Dinner was a less than satisfying plate of rice and scrambled egg with coleslaw, over which we had a chat about Malaria with the new volunteers, one of whom stated he would rather have malaria than go a night without beer on account of his anti-malaria tablets – really. I mean really???? Sometimes I am seriously embarrassed to be a Muzungu.

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