17 May 2017

Despatch number one from Zambia. 

Safely back again in Chipata after a 6 month break. As ever the journey here was not without its hurdles. It all started at terminal 5 when trying to pay for an extra suitcase of “goodies” for the children. If you are travelling in the back of the aircraft you cannot prepay on the website for extra luggage and there is therefore an inexplicable additional premium of £20 and further, the warning is to allow an extra 45 minutes while you are messed about checking in!  The prior frustrations of purchasing transit and entry visas on entering Malawi and Zambia were far less convoluted this time but never the less still a test of one’s patience. There were a total of 11 police roadblocks over the 100 mile road journey to Chipata – a record but meant the travelling time was 24 hours door to door.

Stephen and family are all well and the recently repaired vehicle behaved. It’s still lovely and green everywhere, last rain was Monday and as I write its blue sky and a very comfortable 75 degrees. Today was spent changing dollars, arranging and negotiating for the drilling of well no 7 on Tuesday next week and general chores like shopping to sustain myself. Finally, Mr Khunga our most successful village headman came into town to bring me up to date on tribal and chiefdom matters so I’m well prepared to meet Chief Manukwa. Mr Khunga is one of the chiefs senior counsellors and a great ally and wise man.

Tomorrow is out into the villages and from the road damage I’ve seen here in relative civilisation Stephen assures me I’ve seen nothing yet- oh well. Aah I forgot, the electricity is on and we have running water. Good night.

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