Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Lusaka: Everyday memories

A Wednesday in February
"Hot work," I remark.
"Yes," he says, resting his load,
"The bike is buggered."

March 23
Walking to Grippes, I
pass lush fields of maize and grass -
that stink of sewage.

March 24
A fruit vendor's small
girl greets me every morning:
"Hello! How are you?"

March 26
On Munali Road,
singing choirs pass on trucks . . .
followed by a hearse.

March 27
Hard pew, long sermon,
but the singing moves the air,
stirs my sleepy soul.

March 29
Chamba Valley dawn:
Cocks crow, a dove coos, "Get up!
There's work to do!"

-- Bill

Sunday, March 13, 2011


  Grippes is what’s called a “peri-urban community.” It’s on the northeastern edge of Lusaka, about a mile and a half from where we stay. Most homes there are made of mud bricks with grass roofs. The Lusaka Council has annexed the area and plotted it out, so nice houses are being constructed along the road leading to and curving around the settlement; and - as I understand it - people already living there have been allocated plots on which to build homes. Fields of maize and pumpkins, beans and sweet potatoes surround the village, and plots of vegetables grow amongst the houses.

  Grippes residents are trying to improve their lives and living conditions, with the support of an NGO called Grassroots Heroes International (GHI). Community development projects include a community primary school, an adult basic education program, tailoring classes and a program through which people learn to raise and market goats, rabbits and ducks (for their eggs). 

  At the request of Mr. Vincent Luwizhi, GHI’s local representative and a neighbor of ours at Justo Mwale, I’ve been assisting with adult basic education. Mr. Boyd Ngoma started a class in reading and writing English, in October with eight learners. Now, there are 40 or more. When I came, Boyd split the learners into two groups and asked me to work with the beginners. So, on Wednesday and Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings, I'm helping ladies learn the alphabet, develop phonemic awareness and learn letter-sound associations. We communicate in a mixture of Cinyanja and English ("Chizungu"), which isn't ideal because it's best to learn these things in your mother tongue. But we manage, somehow, and I'm trying to recruit a Zambian friend or two to take up the work. Meanwhile, it's fun.
 -- Bill
The Grippes adult learning community (with a couple of passers by). Photo by Bill

Mr. Ngoma with the more advanced learners. Photo by Bill
Our ABC class. Photo by Boyd Ngoma

Grippes ABC learners. Photo by Bill

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Mary's Birthday

Mary's Birthday Party. 
Left, from bottom of circle:  Isobel Patterson, Sophie Patterson, Amy Patterson, Kendra Bowman (face not visible), Bill, Nora, Jennifer Campbell, Mary, Neil Patterson. Photo: Lebo.

 We celebrated Mary's birthday for a whole weekend. Lebo and Nora were house-sitting on Friday (the actual day) so Mary and I had supper at the Times Bar and Cafe in Arcades Mall, completed with two varieties of Baklava (Serbian and Greek) and coffee, at Mint Cafe. On Saturday, Lebo and Nora arrived early to help prepare a delicious feast of Terry & JP's beer & honey-glazed ribs, coleslaw and potato salad, finished with a scrumptious chocolate cake that Nora made from scratch and Lebo frosted - accompanied by ice-cream, of course. Jennifer, from Lubuto Library Project and Mary's Fullbright colleagues, with spouses and children, came for the party. But that wasn't the end: On Sunday evening, friends Bambang and Putu joined us for a brai. Poor Mary had a meeting at the University and arrived home late, so the fire required some resuscitation before we could cook, but we had a lovely dinner in the end. 
-- Bill

"We'll count the years away!" Photo: Lebo.
Nokia-Siemens engineers Bambang (l) and Putu, at work. Photo: Bill