Wednesday, 11 March 2015

The Neighbourhood

The compound that Rosie and I live in with some of the other volunteers is surrounded by high brick walls, with pieces of glass and barbed wire on top. The gate is manned by two guards called Noah and Winter, who we often stop to chat to. We soon learned that Noah is a football fanatic and that Winter uses snakeskin to create art! Sometimes we take them leftovers from dinner, so they’re always pleased to see us.

The entrance at Plot 121

This means that we feel very safe living here. But it also means that sometimes it’s good to escape and get out! On one occasion Rosie and I decided to go with Simon, one of the Danish volunteers, who was going for a haircut at the local barbers.

The place is called ‘Hollywood Barbers’. It turned out to be a very popular place with people crammed into a small shack, all waiting to have their heads shaved. We chatted to a few people there (some who smelled like they had come from the bar!) but it became very noisy when the heavens suddenly opened and rain thundered down on the corrugated tin roof. Sometimes storms here lead to power cuts and that’s exactly what happened on this occasion. Poor Simon ended up with half a haircut!

Sometimes Rosie and I like to go for a stroll around Kaniki. We often wander in a loop around the college to avoid getting lost! We greet people with “Mulishani?” (Bemba for ‘How are you?’) and often we hear children shouting “How are yoooouuu?” to us. Today I also saw a Zambian person running for the first time since I’ve been here! However, I suspect he was in a hurry to get a bus rather than exercising in the middle of a hot afternoon. 

Tomato stall

Along the local road there are various stalls selling vegetables, mostly tomatoes. Bikes are popular, and I have adopted one here which has a working brake on the front but not on the back! Cars, however, are extremely expensive as they are all imported. Most people get the bus if they need to go to town, if they can afford it of course.

We also pass some bars (blasting loud music in competition with each other), the occasional small shop and a couple of churches. There is lots of maize growing here too. It seems that people living here have a bit more outdoor space than those who live in some of the villages we visit with Arise. I’ll write more about the Arise project in a future blog post.

Whenever we return home, we’re always glad for a cold drink and a chance to sit in the shade!

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