Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sounds of Retreat

A few weeks ago we were out walking around the Ripley Retreat Center at Camp Ciyanjano and there was a group of women from an Alcoholics Anonymous group facilitated by a Catholic community organization. The women were going through recovery and group counseling. As we talked to one of the women, we asked her how her time had been at Ciyanjano. She said, “I love it here. I want to stay out here and not go back home.” That’s the sentiment a lot people have when they visit Ciyanjano for a retreat, training, or conference. There are simply not many places for most Zambians to escape their daily routine or escape the difficult places they live. Here’s an example about noise.
Yesterday Tricia was teaching the kids about sounds. Part of the lesson was to walk around the neighborhood and listen closely to every sound and then to write down everything they heard. Their walk around the block sounded like this: sounds of workers shoveling dirt and gravel, slashing grass with machetes, trimming hedges, sweeping driveways, stacking concrete blocks, dogs barking, crickets chirping, roosters crowing, birds chirping and singing, music playing behind a wall fence, cars driving, airplanes flying overhead, feet crunching when walking on the road, metal gates clanking, sirens from the road, house alarms, lawnmowers, etc. This is all in a very quiet upperclass neighborhood. In the compounds, with a much larger populations, and close living quarters these noises would be compounded with additional noises from minibus conductors yelling, taverns blaring music, vendors, thousands of children, construction, etc. Believe me, it’s a lot louder!!
Today at Ciyanjano these were the sounds I heard: the guys talking and laughing while slashing the grass, a million birds singing, an oxcart clattering up the road and his driver whistling, wind in the trees, women singing hymns in the nsaka. So quiet. Amazing. It’s hard to explain to Americans, especially folks from Bellingham what it might be like to live somewhere where there are no parks, no places of beauty in the city, tons of noise, diesel fumes, burning garbage, ten times the amount of traffic than the city can handle. On top of that, how many Zambians can afford to even leave the city to go somewhere that is quieter or more beautiful. Ciyanjano is a place of where real retreat can happen. Where people can come to relax, to be renewed & refreshed. It’s ministry is that of rest. That said, I can’t wait to get out there!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Addition to the Huckaby Family!

So we’ve added yet another member to the Huckaby family. Last week we bought a tiny kitten from one of the car-to-car vendors on the corners of Great East and Addis Ababa. We named her Katykat after our favorite first visitor from home. Well, like parenthood in general we have no idea what we are doing with this cat. Tricia is totally smitten with its little kitten cuteness. Lucas wants to pick it up and throw it. And the girls run and shriek in fear when it bounds down the hall after them. (On a side note, is it wrong to be amused by the blatant fear that full grown Zambians have of a kitten? It’s pretty funny to see them leap back when they see it!) Cat food is expensive and so we feed it cheap crackers with milk or greasy canned mackerel. But really we bought the cat for Camp Ciyanjano. Because it’s out in the bush a little bit in an agricultural area we often get rats from the fields infesting the houses. In Zambia, wherever there are rats there are also snakes. So killing rats is a priority!! Hence the cat. Anyway, I guess we should take it to the vet and get it some shots and deworming and such but we’ve been super busy with visitors and building plans. And it also looks like we need to change the cat’s name from Katy to Lil’ Pete.

Friday, March 11, 2011

How To Get a Zambian Driver's License in 50 Easy Steps (2011)

Warning - This post is very outdated and many steps, locations and prices have changed. 

(Although the King Pie carts outside Lumumba RTSA are still a delicious choice.) 


  1. Go to Road Transit Safety Authority (RTSA) on Lumumba.
  2. Go to the "Information" desk.
  3. Ask for a medical examination form.
  4. Go to Makeni clinic.
  5. Overpay an unscrupulous doctor.
  6. Go to RTSA on Lumumba and be told that they no longer except exams from Makeni and that you have overpaid.
  7. Go back 3 steps.
  8. Or skip numbers (4-7) and go to one of the following approved government clinics:
    1. Kamwala
    2. Chilenge
    3. Kalingalinga
    4. Chawama
    5. Kanyama
    6. George
    7. Mtendere
    8. Chipata
  1. Make sure this list is current!!
  2. Pay k50,000 if you have an ARC.
  3. Pay k1000,000 if you do not have an ARC.
  4. Make sure you are meeting with one of the doctors who is "qualified" to administer the exam.
  5. Take your date stamped medical form and receipt of payment to RTSA on Lumumba.
  6. Be sure to bring at least two copies of your: ARC, passport, work permit, and US drivers license.
  7. Get in line for Room 1.
  8. Be sure to ask around and make sure you are in the right line and that the people who appear to be standing in that line are actually in line.
  9. Plan on being here for anywhere from 1 hour to 4 hours.
  10. When you reach Room 1, show them your documents and explain that you are seeking a conversion license.
  11. You will receive a form for a provisional license.
  12. Fill this out.
  13. Take this to Data Capturing.
  14. Then go to Rooms 2 or 3 for photographing.
  15. Try to smile, you're almost halfway there.
  16. Go to cashier (room 15 or 26)
  17. Pay k63,000
  18. Exit RTSA and purchase a King Pie from the cart.
  19. Eat pie.
  20. Return to the same window after 24 hours to set an appointment with RTSA Ridgeway branch for a competency/conversion test.
  21. Pay k47,000 booking fee.
  22. On the day of your booking go to RTSA on Lumumba go early!
  23. Go to Room 7.
  24. Be told to go see Mr. Mwamba across the street.
  25. Drive into the black gates where everyone is lined up in their vehicles.
  26. Skip the line.
  27. Park.
  28. Go see Mr. Mwamba in the booth.
  29. Arrange for a drive test.
  30. Even if RTSA on Lumumba "booked" your test for a certain time, this means nothing, plan on waiting at least a few hours.
  31. Pay someone k15,000 to outfit your vehicle with "L" plates for your drive (this may be optional)
  32. Pray
  33. Do your drive test.
  34. If you passed, go back to Mr. Mwamba and give him your paperwork for stamping.
  35. Take this paperwork to RTSA on Lumumba after 24 hours.
  36. Go to Room 25 and give them your forms.
  37. Go to Room 26 and pay k79,000.
  38. Exit RTSA
  39. Buy a King Pie (Ham and Cheese is nice)
  40. Eat pie.
  41. In four weeks you can pick your card up at RTSA on Dedan Kimathi Rd.
  42. Celebrate.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Life After Internet, Kalimba, Pastor Pete

So we've been without internet at home for about a week. It's terrible. I can't make the time to go to a cafe and get our email. I need to contact people through facebook. Man, HOW DID WE LIVE WITHOUT IT!? Anyway, our pastor from Oikos in Bellingham has been here visiting and we've been super busy. It's been great. We took him and the kids and the Allens to Kalimba Reptile Farms. It was there that Lucas experienced this very unfortunate moment.