17 November 2012

The wind was blowing last night and things (probably mangos from the trees) were landing on the wriggly tin roofs of our rooms. A bit like trying to sleep in kettle drum in the middle of the 1812 Overture. The noise was so strong that even the gecko that lives in Chris’s room ran for cover.

The winds here signify the rains are on their way, but except for one shower the days here continue to be hot and dry.

We have had a spot of bother with our motor, but thankfully it refused to start at our accommodation, and not 20 miles out into the bush. Naeem got some mechanics out to us and we sat in the shade doing admin while we waited. The problem was bad battery connections and the mechanics jump started the engine using huge battered old steel cables (not clips) which it took two men to physically hold against the battery terminals. The engine fired and they cleaned and re-secured the connections.

We were grateful we had Naeem on the end of a phone and that he had his own mechanics who were close enough to help us. You need to have a reliable vehicle here. Knowledge of motor mechanics and some basic tools is also a good idea.

We have been buying bottled water to keep in the vehicle in case we get stranded. Chris bought fizzy water by mistake, so we are both sparkling and windy here as we bounce along through the bush.

Local produce – fresh veggies, dried fish, dried caterpillars. A shopping paradise roadside.

Went into Chipata and explored the market. Seems like a hundred or so stalls along the main road and back into the covered area selling everything you could imagine. Fruits and vegetables including melons, mangos, sweet potatoes, ocra, onions, ginger and beans. Dried fish including Telapia (Bream), small fish like whitebait called Kapenta which you buy by the hundred and others we couldn’t recognise. There is clothing for sale and shoes and all manner of other items. A really interesting thriving bustling place, a sensory overload and full of life.

John has a nose for seeking out connections here, and by chance we have discovered a fellow former brother officer in the Zambian army called Oswald Mpande who lives here in Chipata.

Local Supermarket – Waitrose in Chipata !

We have also been looking at properties here with a view to establishing a base of operations for the project in Chipata. There are a number of possibilities, including John’s mothers house which is our preferred option. John has made Boston an offer which we are hoping he won’t refuse.

We are staying with South Africans here and everything stopped for the rugby match between the Boks vs Scotland. There was great rejoicing when the Boks won. England were not so fortunate against Australia…We did not see the Italy vs New Zealand match but the tournament is shaping into a Southern Hemisphere triumph.

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