Monday, August 30, 2010
So in case you haven't been driving in Zambia lately, here's a little rundown on the roads. They're sketch. We live in a pretty fancy area and the roads are horrendous. On major roads deep potholes, cyclists, psychopathic minibus drivers, pedestrians, and car-to-car salesmen keep things exciting around here. On the not so major roads – many of these distractions and dangers apply, but there is also a serious lack of concrete. I'm a good Northwesterner (I always wanted one of those “Pavement is Forever” bumper stickers) who loves natural beauty and sees unnecessary development and paving as harmful for many communities. But Zambia is in need of some major paving. But infrastructure in general is really lacking. At Kanyama Clinic, people suffering from TB, HIV, other infectious diseases, and malaria sleep in ward with open windows, no screens, and no mosquito bed nets. So I can only imagine that they get eaten alive during hot season. So spending a night in clinic for TB might mean getting malaria too. In many underdeveloped countries, infrastructure is lacking but military and police spending is enormous. But here in Zambia – if you get in an accident at night, you may need to check in at the police station, because they only have one police car and it gets driven home at night by the senior officer. After our fender bender the other night we sat it the most run-down police station I have ever seen , broken window and doors, few lights, holes in the walls and floors, rebar laying around everywhere, a broken clock hanging above the empty desks, and mosquitos everywhere. This is all right next door to a multi-million dollar project to expand the local mall, Manda Hill (Someone could have done a better job naming this place! Manda means graveyard in Nyanja). So I guess I don't feel that bad about our 33% income tax that comes out of our “salary” here – I just hope they use the money to buy a couple of bags of concrete.