I hope that you are all doing well! I’m pretty excited, and enjoying my time here in Zambia! It’s now coming up on the end of march, and I’ve got to say 2013 has been a fantastic year so far! It’s been a little while since I’ve had a chance to write, I’ve been occupied with village and work related projects, but I’ve also been taking some very important time to connect with my village, and to disconnect from the technological world. As a note, we haven’t had internet at the office in Mansa since November 2012, so I’ve been spending quite a pretty penny out of my allowance to cover the connection via my cell provider.
I’ve just been writing some quick, short updates, and I know you’ve been waiting for something a bit more meaty. I’m sorry to disappoint today, but I’m excited to say that my next post will be more substantial.
So, to bring everyone up to date… I am currently on the cusp of a vacation (excellent). I’ll be headed to Lake Tanganika – A gorgeous lake up in Northern province. I’m not overly excited about the transport – it’s 415km down to the junction in central province, and then 719km from there to Mpulungu, and then a little jaunt to the lodge on the lake side. It’s just a touch over 700 miles each way, via bus, hitch, taxi, and my own two feet, I plan to make it in one day. I’m not fooling myself, it’ll be brutal to say the least. Transport conditions are frustrating, and often the quality of public transport is best qualified as dangerous. You need to be extremely selective, and even then the risk of encountering a drunk conductor or driver, is high. That’s where hitching comes in. In the scheme of things, with a good head on your shoulders, and some common sense the quality of transport and your safety are in much better shape.
I should note that there are roads across from Luapula province to Northern province, but they are gravel and mud, and aren’t well maintained, especially after it’s been raining since October. There’s also very little regular traffic and no reliable buses that utilize those routes. Now that means that my only option is via Tute junction in central, just outside of Serenje, then a straight shot up, up and away to the lake and the Tanzanian border. I’m extremely excited. Lake Tanganika is gorgeous, and although I am perfectly situated between the awe inspiring Lake Bangweulu, and Lake Mweru, surrounded by the waterfalls of Mumbulumba, Ntumbatuschi, Lumangwe, and the countless reservoirs of Luapula (the land of rivers) I can’t wait to see more of Zambia. It’s not just about the beautiful, breathtaking natural beauty of the lake, or the fact that the lodge is on the water, overlooking the international border with Tanzania. It’s that I’m getting to experience another three tribal and cultural groups, and interact with the Mambwe, and deep Mambwe people who are situated around the Lake. I’m looking forward to the mixture of Tanzanian culture with Zambian village life. It’ll be a great time. I can’t wait to share more about it with you!