Sunday, September 4, 2011

Warped Pistons, Walking Tours and Tired Feet


Our mechanic lit another cigarette and took a long drag. He tapped the ash off into an ashtray with his oil-stained fingers. He exhaled, "Twelve million; maybe less. And it's gonna take two, three weeks." That was the week before the Ciyanjano dedication. We had a number of guests coming in from the States and about thousand errands to run and our truck had started making a loud knocking sound when I stepped on the gas. How could be be carless for the busiest week of the year? But we changed the oil and drove slowly around town for the next ten days and on the Tuesday after se dropped our last guests back at the airport, I dropped the truck at Baldy's and said goodbye to our freedom for the next three weeks. We learned some things about ourselves during this time.

First, Lusaka is huge, sprawling, traffic infested wasteland. I spend a lot of time sitting behind the wheel. Barely moving, vendors selling car chargers, CDs, faux leather belts, single pairs of high heel shoes, a wrinkled dress shirt move from car to car. It's boring and lonely. I did not miss this at all.

Taking the bus can be a pain. You can wait for an hour for a bus only to have it run out of diesel before you can get a block away. Buses to and from Kasupe can be unpredictable. But there is freedom in not having the responsibility of driving, paying attention to the masses of pedestrians, people pushing wheelbarrows, bikes, and trucks.

Lastly, being broke down gave us permission to stop running around town and really get settled at Ciyanjano. We've been taking long walks around Kasupe, into the bush, out to the huge farming/irrigation project called "SCEME", out to the village. Rural Africa is beautiful. If anything our time stuck at Ciyanjano made me wish that we were even further out in the bush. I don't think Tricia or the kids felt the same way - they got pretty stir-crazy after the first week or so. But I love it out here completely. And it really feels like we're going through a second orientation - diving back into language and cultural learning and building relationships. It's been great being stuck.

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