Sunday, 20 November 2016

Things I miss from home...

Hopefully you can tell from my blog posts that I love living in Zambia, particularly having the opportunity to work with the children and adults at Arise and Kapumpe. Most of my week 
tends to be consumed by work but fortunately weekends are more restful. I’m fully 
immersed in life here but there are moments when something might make me miss home. 

Me with one of our Grade 1 pupils

Here are a few of them, in no particular order…

1) Watching the news

The last couple of weeks have been a good example of this. After hearing the (rather interesting!) result of the US presidential elections, Rosie and I watched an online news clip about it. It actually made me miss watching the news! This might sound like a strange thing to miss, but what I really mean is the ease with which you can find out information in the UK and its connectedness with the rest of the world. At home I regularly used to watch BBC Breakfast whilst getting ready for work in the morning which made me feel aware of what was going on in the world. Here I can check out the news online but I have to more actively try to find things out. Sometimes living in an intense environment within the compound here in Kaniki does make the rest of the world feel a little more distant.

Excited to receive post from the UK!
2) Convenience

Another thing I miss is the Tesco Express down the road from my flat, or more to the point the convenience which it represents. Here roadside stalls sell tomatoes and a few other vegetables, and the farm across the road sells some essentials. But generally anything else that you might ‘need’ is only found in town, which is a bumpy half hour car ride away. It’s not just the journey that takes the time though; in true African style nothing can be done quickly here. 
Farm shop

Around the corner from my flat at home are several different takeaways which can come in handy on a Friday evening. In Ndola there are a couple of restaurants where you can order takeaway but unfortunately delivery does not stretch as far as where we live in Kaniki!

A cheeky Nandos is available in town

Everything seems to be more convenient in the UK, which means you can do many more things in a day. Sometimes I miss that. When I'm back home I love being able to see lots of people and meet up with a few different friends in a day. But then again I do have a tendency to make myself too busy and try to fit too many things into one day, so perhaps a lack of convenience out here isn’t such a bad thing for me!

3) Family and friends

As I'm sure many people living away from home would say, it's the people that you know well that you miss most. Material things are reasonably easy to do without, but quality time and conversations with people are more precious. Email, WhatsApp and Skype are great inventions and really help with keeping in touch, but nothing replaces being together with others. Roll on Christmas when I’ll next be back home in the UK for a couple of weeks!

                                             Skype chats

4) Proper chocolate

People who know me well might expect this to be at the very top of my list. I am a self-confessed chocaholic with something of a sugar addition. I was pleasantly surprised to find that there is quite a wide selection of chocolate available here in Zambia including some flavours of Cadburys that we don’t have at home. However it just doesn’t taste as good as it does in England. Apparently here the chocolate contains something to help it survive the heat. I can easily taste the difference and it’s certainly no British Cadburys or Green & Blacks. The good news is that I seem to have built up quite an impressive supply (either that I brought over with me or delivered to me by kind people from home) which just might get me through to Christmas.

                             Chocolate kindly sent by friends

5) Hygge (pronounced hoo-ga)

Kaniki Bible University College was set up by Danish missionaries and is overseen by a group of churches from Denmark. Consequently, there are quite a few Danish volunteers 
here at various times and one word I've learned from their culture is 'hygge'. It is translated
‘cosiness’ and is said to mean creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people. 

Dinner with Danish friends

Now there’s certainly no need to try and create a warm atmosphere here when it’s 30-something degrees outside! I love the sunshine and being outdoors, but there is also something I miss about feeling cosy – burrowing under a duvet, sitting by a fire, or drinking mulled wine (or hot chocolate), for example.

I guess one side of this that we do frequently get to enjoy in Zambia is candlelight! Another romantic meal was enjoyed tonight as we endured a bonus power cut in addition to the regular load shedding. 

One of the many jokes about Zesco who supply Zambia's electricity

I expect that Christmas will be a great time to enjoy the cosiness that comes with the cooler British weather. It seems to me that finding things you miss actually helps you appreciate them a little bit more.

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