As I always say, this charity is taking me for a ride. It has a life of it’s own. I am just the facilitator of all the good that comes to us.
When doing a Seedy Saturday in Parkdale, a woman named Stephanie saw our Silozi Seed Bank sign. She asked” Is that the language Silozi in Mongu Zambia?”. I said yes and it turns out we both knew the nurses who go to Mongu every year to work & learn in Liwanika Hospital.
Stephanie also knew Shaun Cleaver, a physiotherapist and researcher who works together with persons with disabilities in Zambia. He partners with disabled persons organizations in Mongu and Kalabo and within these partnerships, Shaun works with the groups to figure out ways to better understand, and improve, their situations. You can read about Shaun’s work in Western Zambia on his blog at www.disability-kwa-bulozi.com.”
So after about 1.5 years of Shaun & I talking about having a coffee, we finally did. It is so nice to speak with some one in person who knows what it is like to go and live, even temporarily, in Mongu.
Shaun Clever ended up becoming our first guest at Mulopo Flats and stayed in the house with Mr. Fredrick Mulopo our owner/manager with SEEDS. Shaun was in Mongu from Jan-Mar 2017 and left a couple of weeks before I arrived on March 29,2017.
Shaun helped me immensely by staying there first and sent me emails while there of what to expect when I came and I stayed in the same room that he did in Fredrick’s house.
I was writing a thank you letter, which turned into a much longer letter than planned so I decided to write them in my blog.
I have so much to tell you but first I have to start with a BIG THANK YOU for so many reasons.
I thought of you so many times when I was staying in Bo Freddricks home (SEEDS Resource Centre) and had many a smile as I could finally visualize what you were telling me in the emails you sent prior to my visit.
My first night there I did not have your mosquito net. They had taken it down and put it back in its little carrying case for safe keeping.It seems they do not use mosquito nets as they are costly to keep in good repair.
Fredrick had asked me if I wanted the fan, which was in his room and typically I don’t like the noise a fan makes so I said no I would be ok.
But before I tell you how the rest of that evening and night went, I have to tell you about the bus trip from Lusaka.
I arrived in Lusaka and decided to just stay at Killimanjaro Country Lodge in Lusaka for the one night as I had so much to do in Mongu. So the day after my 30hr travel, I was up at 5am and off to the bus station with my two 50lb black suitcases on wheels, a 70lb bike box stuffed with a seed planter and pillows, linens, pots, candles and many other items needed to decorate the Flats for the Bed & Breakfast. I was also carrying a computer for my sponsored child Njamba and one for Freddrick, -SEEDS manager, as the last one we bought in 2012 was no longer usable. These computers I had refurbished at Reboot.ca if you ever need one done.
I was also carrying my clothes in a 15lb back pack, two small pillows and my bag with enough Insulin and diabetes paraphernalia to last me 6 weeks, not just the 3wks I would be there as suggested by my diabetic nurse.
Oh and I had my fanny pack on with all of my money and passport.
I am telling you all of this because you know the route I had to take and what is involved in getting to Mongu from Lusaka. You can relate!
So I had to pay k180 for the bus ticket to Mongu and k150 to take the bike box in the undercarriage of the bus. By the way, the bus ticket back to Lusaka was only k150! Go figure! Oh and I carried a Baobab and Mexican Apple trees on the bus on the way home at no extra charge, other than losing all but one of the leaves on the Baobab, but that is another story.
Sorry, back to why I am telling you all of this.
So…. It was a fairly nice bus ride, my seat belt didn’t work, the road was fairly good except just past Kafue NP where we had to drive on the dirt shoulder to avoid the cavernous pot holes for about 10km, which took us about an hour
but I was on my way so not complaining, and the bus broke down about 11/2 hours outside of Mongu. Well I am sure you know that all of the bus drivers in Zambia, well any that I have met, are all mechanics. If the bus breaks, they fix it.
So we all got off the bus and stretched our legs while the bus driver tried to get the wheel off. Apparently the bus was leaking brake fluid and he needed to take the tire off to have a look. There was a lot of grunting and talking and then a guy on a bicycle showed up with a tool that was not the correct tool. I asked what was going on and someone told me that they needed a spanner. So I walked up to the bus driver and asked him what size spanner he needed, He said” #12”. I said” I have two in my big box under there where all the luggage is”. He replied” You have two # 12 spanners in a box under there as he pointed to the luggage hold?” I said ya!
About four guys opened up the luggage compartment and pointed to various boxes. I said no the really big one, there it is.” So they pulled it out, we had to find a knife to open it and pull out ½ of the stuff for me to find my two spanners, but find them I did” I handed them to the bus driver and off he went, pulled the tire off and started fixing the problem.
Someone handed me a perfectly good roll of that wide tape for resealing boxes and we taped my box back up and put it in the hold.
While I was waiting what seemed only a few minutes, I asked the guy on the bicycle what he wanted for the five little cow hide stools he had strapped to his bike. He said k10 each so I bought them all for the Flats.
So you see everything happens for a reason! I needed those stools.
Back to my thank you’s and the rest of my night
We ended up getting into Mongu around 18hrs so I did a quick shopping at Shopright ) thankfully now open until 20hrs) and then went back to Freddricks to cook all of us dinner for Freddrick’s daughter Cathryn, who kindly picked me up at the bus station, whom you met, his son Matindo, Kahillou, Freddrick and myself. I made Western sandwiches which is like a ham & onion omelette with ketchup between two pieces of bread. I didn’t want to eat too late so I made some thing quick. Kahillou made them all Buhobe (Nshima) after that because they were still hungry.
This is turning into a very long winded way of telling you that I was exhausted by the time I went to bed. The mosquitoes were buzzing so loud at that bedroom window and then at my ears, that I hardly slept all night. At one point I got up to go outside to cool down and had to laugh when I had to try to quietly remove the bar from the side entrance way and thought of you while I was doing it.
Needless to say the first thing I did the next morning was to get Matindo and Kahillou to put up your mosquito net and a few days later, when finally looking in a mirror, I saw the approximately five mosquito bites on along my chin. At first I thought they were pimples but remembered my first, sleepless night without a net. After they had the mosquito net up I could still hear, what sounded like a thousand mosquito’s trying to get at me from the window behind my head but after a few nights they actually soothed me to sleep like the waves in the ocean. What other choice did I have ? You look at the positives in Zambia and it is a much more enjoyable trip. The window was closed but there was a little gap where a whisper of air would cool me enough to sleep.
I will admit, I am sorry I didn’t plant a tree outside your/our bedroom window but I did use my pee pot faithfully every night and the gardens are thankful for it!