1 June 2019

Today has been fun, and a bit more retail oriented!

We arrived at Chisongwe school (Chizzy Metals Forever!) at 9am to collect our star Zoe pupil who was being allowed out on a day pass with us.
We had a lovely morning in Chipata buying him some supplies he needed, and then taking him out for lunch. He was quite shy and quiet, and very polite and formal, especially as he was required by the school to remain in his school uniform of black suit, white shirt and bow tie! He seemed much more positive about this than we would have been about having to wear our uniforms on a Saturday when we were at school! He found our accents difficult to understand, so Stephen translated a lot, but he seemed to be talking more by the end of the trip!

Man about town

We started in the old town, which used to be called Fort Jameson back in the ’colonial days’, and visited a number of establishments to look for items including drawing materials, a calculator, a torch, and some clothes for him. It was a particularly busy shopping morning in Chipata as yesterday had been payday, and also Saturday is half day closing, with many shops packing up at 11.45 to shut at noon. There was plenty of visual entertainment just sitting and people watching. We saw a lot of white goods being loaded into the backs of vehicles for which carrying such an item was clearly going to be a challenge!
Claire was delighted that while Stephen was helping our pupil with clothes shopping, there was an opportunity for the girls to pop into the chitenge shop which had a stunning display. It left me reflecting on textiles being so abundant here, while so many other things are scarce.
After town was a quick trip to the supermarket for groceries for him to take back to school, and some sweeties! Then we went to a traditional nshima restaurant, and had a very filling and tasty lunch of nshima with side vegetable (cabbage), impwa which looked reassuringly similar to the impwa we cooked yesterday, and for the meat eaters there was a choice of bbq chicken, ‘village’ chicken (organic free range chicken in a delicious spicy gravy) , beef stew, or fish.  We still can’t quite believe that after devouring all that we drove straight to the ice cream parlour, quite a new attraction in the town, and managed to follow lunch with an ice cream cone! There were at least 20 flavours to choose from and as far as we can tell they are all good!

Just then Stephen got a message from the Head man from Makhasa village to say he was in town and had recognised Stephen’s vehicle in the car park, so we met up, and I then had one of the more surreal experiences of my life going in to the ice cream parlour with the Head man and purchasing him an ice cream cone! Unlike most of us he had no dilemma at all which flavour to choose so I suspect he has sampled them before!

Sadly it was then time to take our young man back to school, and on the way home we popped in to the Protea hotel for a cup of tea and to enjoy their restful surroundings with well tended gardens. This place has been a boon to have nearby in the past, for example as a source of wifi back in the days when we did not have it at Zoe House. It was good to see it all still looking good there. There was lots of discussion over tea and coffee about what we have done on this visit and what needs doing next, both here and when we get home.

Back to the house and despite feeling pretty full we decided to cook something for later, because from today it has been announced that the electricity is going to be off at intervals of 4 hours every day, at different times for different areas. Helpfully, a rota has been published showing which area is having its power cut when. Today we are having no electricity from 18:00 to 22:00, so we are going to BBQ some sausages and have a side salad, but got the jacket spuds done early! LOTS of food today!

With that I will sign off as it is time for a sundowner, and of course sending this blog entry in before the electricity goes off!

Nshima eaten total per person=3.
Word for the day: chona =cat
Wildlife photo of the day – we found him on the bedroom ceiling last night. We sent a photo to Chris’ nephew, who is a zoology student, and he came straight back with the Latin name:
Hemidactylus frenatus, but Caroline has decided to call him Bob. He is also known as a common house lizard apparently, so Chris is talking to him in Cockney rhyming slang or just ‘oy!’
We understand that the UK is enjoying a heatwave of 32C while we are cool and comfortable here at 23C! The only thing keeping us awake at night is the ‘dog chorus’ every night as many neighbours have dogs and when one has something to say they all join in!

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