On the way south, down to Lusaka

we were on the road again, the day had slipped by and it was already 14:00. We were dreading the ride, but we loaded up our gear and headed over to the bus station. There were three of us, and we were ready for our adventure. The 15:00 bus pulled in around 16:30, and we knew it was going to be an adventure. We piled into the Juldan bus, laughing and sharing stories and music. There were two other PCV’s who were coming down to Lusaka with me, one other who would be continuing on to Lusaka, and fellow CHIPer who would be coming to CoS conference with me.

We’d been on the road for about four and a half hours when the bus hit the brakes, and we felt a crash and we were thrust forward. The bus had slowed for a police checkpoint at the Luapula bridge, and a drunk canter (flatbed snub nosed freight truck) driver had slammed into the back of the bus. We were lucky in that there were no injuries on the bus, and that we were at a police checkpoint. The Canter and his passengers (stuffed onto the flatbed of the truck) were less lucky, but no one was seriously injured or killed. About 45 minutes and a lot of screaming between the drunk driver and the police later, we were on our way again.

The rest of the trip was comparatively peaceful. I managed to nap for a little while here and there, listening to music and the constant comforting wail of miserable children (insert heavy sarcasm). Towards the end of the trip, one of the children apparently soiled their diaper, and the responsible parent changed it, and left the soiled diaper on the corridor floor of the bus… Thye unpleasant side of public transport aside, with the screaming, latrine smell, and sweat compounded by the “fear”of wind that kept every window sealed tight on the bus were… miserable. I can only say that I’m glad I won’t be making that trip again any time soon.

Around 4:30am we pulled into the outskirts of Lusaka, and by 5:00 we were in Intercity station. Despite the smell, we stayed on the bus until it was light outside. Although we did immediately force open the windows as our fellow passengers spilled forth from the open doors.

By 6:30 it was light, we grabbed our bags and headed out into Intercity bus station – a place full of every kind of person, drunk, miserable, high you can imagine – the epitome of a third world bus station. We quickly made a break for Levy Junction – a newly constructed mall complex that is part of Lusaka’s upgrade and recent urban development.

Clean, full of clear glass and mirrored surfaces, it’s like a little bastion of the developed world. The extremes from the bus station to the mall were… to say the least awe inspiring. We stopped at Mug N Bean, waited for it to open, and then had some food and coffee. Then we were on our way again. We found a place to stay, dropped our gear and went out to enjoy the big city. It was just a day away that the entire CHIP 2011 intake would assemble for our Close of Service (CoS) Conference.

I was glad to be in the city, missing my village, but transitioning to the next step.






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