January 22nd, 2012:
We have been here for 4 days in Mongu at the Sister Presentation House. We were pleasantly surprised at the accommodations here. We are the first people to live in the new private huts which house 2 people each. There is running water, comfy beds and spacious kitchen and living room. We are lucky here to have our laundry done for us as well as having a van to take us around if Jessica can drive us, because they drive on the opposite side of the road here.
We toured the hospital and it was much bigger than we expected. We were surprised at how hot it was, how the whole thing was solid concrete and how the only air conditioning is in the Operating Theatre (known at home as the Operating Room).
The people here are very friendly, very welcoming and they love it when we try to practice our Lozi. We are learning so much from them. The weather is extremely hot here with massive thunderstorms which wake us up at night and cause the power to go out very often. We have been very careful with putting on sunscreen and bug spray often. Although we have not been sunburned like many other students, we have not had such luck with the bugs. Amy and Julet have been bitten by misquitos and are anticipating malaria in one week. Please stay tuned. Julet and Amy seem to be a popular bug attraction. One night, I (Amanda and Denee) were eating supper in our house when we receive a frantic “help” text message. We run over, worried they are in grave danger, only to discover Amy safely tucked under her misquito net and Julet having a mini stroke. A massive ugly looking beetle the size of a large fat thumb had flown into the room and was chasing Julet around the house. There was so much screaming and Denee, the brave woman that she is, took it outside. We were anticipating Julet to be departing home to Canada that night. After closing all the windows and much encouragement, she decided to abandon her plan.
Words cannot describe how happy we are that we can purchase 48 bottles of beer here for $25.00 Canadian. We spent K625,000 on groceries at the ShopRite and felt like we should be going to Mexico for that price! We are getting used to the money conversion now, though. The Green Market and Black Market are wonderful and much cheaper than ShopRite. You can get your vegetables (tomatoes, avocado, lettuce, eggs, bread, etc) and other foods here. At the Black Market you can buy clothing and such. We purchased a few shatangas which are used as skirts and to carry babies on mother`s backs. When I wore mine, one local Zambian turned to me and said ``now you are truly Zambian!``
We decided to try the local night club and had so much fun. Everyone was so friendly and made a big circle where they laughed when we got in the middle and showed off our Canadian moves. We watched the soccer game with the local people and told everyone there that in Canada, we were as excited as they were for hockey.
Electronics are interesting here. We are so thankful for the cell phones that the nursing faculty has provided us. While we are very appreciative of them, we must laugh at how old they are. It will be strange going back to our iphones and blackberries! On scheduled days there are planned power outages which cause us to be creative in making meals and planning meals that no require no power to cook. Sometimes, the power goes out unplanned which is always entertaining. We are using our headlamps often and are thankful that we brought them.
As we are writing this blog, Julet has been patiently sitting for 7 hours while a very nice local Lozi lady has been braiding her hair. We are sad that we cannot post many pictures as internet here is hard to come by and very slow. We will update as soon as possible!
Amanda, Amy, Julet, Denee