Originally Posted on October 22, 2012
Re posted October 22, 2021
Carl ( my husband) & I landed in Lusaka to the smell of Africa-even at the airport. For those of you who have been to Africa before, you will know what I mean. For those of you who have not, you will know what I mean if you ever go there. The smell is clean, fresh, and dry all at the same time and a smell unto itself that you will never forget. It was 6a.m.( Thurs. Aug. 16th, 2012) local time and after a sleep deprived night I was wide awake and not tired at all.
We retrieved our six suit cases with all of the gifts we were bringing, exchanged some USD into Kwatcha at the airport just minutes before the drivers from Kilimanjaro Country Lodge picked us up.
I had warned Ann, the owner of the Lodge, via email that we had a lot of luggage so she sent two vehicles.
It was a glorious day and I was happy to be in Africa if just a little disappointed that I could not share Carl’s first impressions as he was in the other vehicle.
We arrived at the lodge and were shown to our beautiful room, the same one Jami and I stayed in last year, but it had a new addition. It had a canopy style mosquito net all around the bed. It added the feel that you were actually in exotic Africa.
The beds were the most comfortable I have ever slept in away from home.
Unfortunately Kilimanjaro Country Lodge is closed now as Ann & her family have moved to a farm but it was so nice to know I had a beautiful place to stay when I landed in Lusaka each of the 5 times I have been there.
Ann had numerous beautiful pieces of art, sculptures and hand made items that she sold in her main lobby for local artists. I always bought something when I was there.
It is winter in August in Africa so the days are not too hot 25-35C but the nights are gloriously cool.
We dropped off the luggage and Carl was ready for a nap so I walked over to the large Patio/restaurant to see if of the employees were still there from last year.
I was disappointed that Innocence ( a previous waiter) was not working there anymore but happy to see Collins & Chomba. (also waiters in the great cafe’ there)
They are true entrepreneurs and are starting a business together as well as working for Kilimanjaro. Zambians are a hard working people. Chomba has a small food/restaurant shop buy the bus station in Lusaka to help pay for his schooling to become a mechanic and he is a server at Kilimanjaro Country Lodge. Ann and her husband are really great with the staff. They send one of their drivers to pick them up for work and take them home after there shifts. They stay over night on the property while they are working. Usually for a few days.
Carl & I sat for at least an hour one night copying out the recipes I brought for Njamba’s mom. Chomba was keen to try some new recipes in his take out food shop.
We copied out corn bread, using rice flour( I assumed that this was cheaper that wheat flour) and curried rice, flank steak marinated in soya sauce, garlic, lemon juice, sliced thin against the grain of the meat. Corn & avocado salsa and a tomatoe salsa.I assumed these were spices that they could find in Zambia as it is becoming more multicultural.
We gave Chomba one of our empty carry on suit cases before we left and he was very grateful. I am jumping a head here. So……….
I had so many things to do as we were leaving for Kalabo to see Njamba and his family at 6am on Sat. Aug. 18th and I would be cooking on charcoal BBQ’s Carl and I had brought with us, for eight people. Njamba, his two brothers, Dominique ( Njamba’s father), Fredrick, Mualuka( our interpreter), Carl ( my husband), and me. That story to follow!
I wanted to go buy a cell phone that we could use and then leave with Njamba as I was not comfortable with him being in Kalabo for school and his family one and one half hours away by 4×4 at his village. I wanted some way he could get a hold of them if he needed to.
We asked the driver from Kilimanjero to take us to the plaza to exchange more Kwatcha. There was a new policy now that you are only allowed to exchange 1000USD at a time so it was really a pain having to keep getting money changed.
There are no banks in Kalabo (2012, but there are banks there now that the new road has been built to Angola) so I had to take the money for Njamba and his twin sister Ngebe’s school with me.
The new government of the time wanted the currency exchanged to be in Kwatcha to try to discourage travelers from using USD and Zambia doesn’t accept Canadian dollars. It didn’t work. Businesses still accepted USD.
Carl came with me as he was nervous about my carrying all of that money around. I was not nervous at all. Zambians are a very friendly people and I have never felt afraid going there.
Anyway we managed to buy a cell phone with 10USD (which is a lot) worth of time on it for 60USD. The following day I bought 4 solar cell phone charger/lights at Sunny Monkey, SolarAid https://sunnymoney.org/. ( The sign on the road they are on says “Sunny Money “, Good marketing scheme!) so Njamba could charge his phone as they don’t have electricity in the village and he won’t be starting grade 10 until January 2013′. I also bought a solar charger for Mualuka , Frederick and one to keep in the village for Njamba’s siblings to study at night. https://kimmxjayne.wordpress.com/2011/10/11/my-first-solar-power-purchase/
I called Frederick ( the person who would drive us to Kalabo where Njamba and his family live) once I had a phone and he informed us that he was getting the vehicle fixed and he would call later and come by Killimanjero Country Lodge. I was so excited to see him again. I wasn’t absolutely sure who he was as I had not officially met him, but I remember a very kind man who held my hand through the 4 x 4 window when I was crying after leaving Njamba last year. He was the driver who worked for World Vision and drove Njamba, Ngebe and their Mom back to the village and called David our guide from World Vision to tell us that Njamba, his Mom and Ngebe were back safely in their village.
Things happen for a reason, which I didn’t know at the time, as Fredrick has been our manager at The Silozi Seed Bank and Trees For Elephants in Mongu, Western Province, Zambia since 2013.
Stay tuned in two weeks time to read about our exciting trip accross a sand road from Mongu to Kalabo.