I am awake for a bit, it is day 2 in Lusaka, but I will continue on day one if I can remember it all. None of this will post until about day/evening 6. You will be reading week old material. We ARE on African time!
The bicycle purchase, I spoke of earlier, was brought on by a donation of funds $1000, from a young couple in MBC. Keith and Tony went to purchase the bicycles, so that Tony could distribute to different Pastors here in Zambia, remote areas. Bicycles are a great commodity, they rate the same as cars, and maybe even more needed than a car for most. A bicycle does not use fuel which is quite expensive, 565,000 kwacha to fill a Toyota truck with diesel. Which is $113. $113 would make us cringe at the gas pump. Here this is an AMAZING amount of money, here in Zambia. Another bicycle benefit, they can reach the remote areas where there are no roads, only paths that meander from hut to hut, area to area and through the brush and pop up beside a road.
The main roads here are paved and pretty decent, those we see, compared to the ones we traveled on in Uganda. They are maintained, but they are not US roads. There are speed bumps every few miles, usually with armed police on the end of them checking vehicles for whatever they seem to not have or have too much of so the police can charge them money right on the spot. The speed bumps are twice as wide as ours, and not as big of bumps, which one would think makes them better.. Nope.
The speed bumps are several in a row, about 6 and are spaced about an American speed bump apart, so it is actually a bit like driving over railroad tracks 3 in a row. Tony hit some fairly fast last night, they were not lit nor marked and the police were not out, that was actually kind of fun, or maybe I was just goofy from lack of sleep! Riding a bike down the side of the road you miss those bumps, and pray the cars miss you. The shoulder of the road is wide enough for a body, or a body on a bike, that is it. The cars /trucks are right on the line that separates the road from the shoulder, I do not know that I could walk or ride on that shoulder.
The bikes, being a great commodity, are not cheap! Each bike was about $120, so we were only able to get 8, instead of the 10 that was wanted. That was a talked down rate also. They are the big Shwinn riding bike type. They need to be pretty sturdy because they are really used here. One of the pastors getting one rides miles into the bush, where a car cannot go, to preach. He rides an old broken down bike, this new one will allow his wife to ride on the back and attend church with him. These bikes are changing lives of the pastors and the people of the church by allowing them pastors and wives.
There is so much we take advantage of in America, the land of opportunity, I am always humbled here.
After the bike purchase in Lusaka we drove the bikes and trailer they were on to Chibombo, this is where we were actually staying and teaching. Julie is flying in at 6pm it is 11AM, we have accomplished all the ‘errands’ we could in Lusaka, so it seemed a good idea to drop the trailer and get the rooms arranged for us all. The drive is only 100kl which is about 60 miles. We stopped and ate dinner at one hotel/restaurant about 1 , after leaving Tony thought we might travel to this restaurant for meals, if need, from our teaching church, not realizing we were as far from Chibombo as we were. We drove half an hour more, and more, then finally found our B & B turn off, drove up a dirt road, past some locals homes and to our home away from home for a week. We arranged for the B&B to become B&B&L&D, and unloaded the suitcases, I cringed at the cement floor shower, and we reloaded into the Toyota, made our way to the church so we could unload the bicycles. Another 20 minutes. After unloading the bikes we then went to the pastor/bishops home so we could let him know we had stored such precious cargo at the church in the locked storage and to drop off some women that would be attending the conference that we picked up at THE corner of Chibombo, they had been calling ‘Daddy’(Tony) since we were in Lusaka loading the bikes to let Tony know they needed a ride to the pastor’s home. Once we arrived at the pastor’s home we then had to meet and greet the Pastor and his family AND go in and sit in the house because they asked us too, it would be impolite not to. We all sat for about 3 minutes then said we must go. By now it is about 3:30. We start back to Lusaka, to pick up Julie at 6:00 60 miles away , 2 and half hours before needing to be there.
Every truck that existed must have been on the road ahead of us or coming at us on the way back to Lusaka, every police road stop was interested in looking at every truck that was in front of us at the stops. Once in Lusaka we found that every vehicle in Lusaka was in front of us or beside us trying to cut in front of us. We arrived at the airport, which 6:45. POOR JUILE! Her plane arrived 10 minutes EARLY. So, there she is, by her white self, Julie, at the airport for almost an hour. Ironic, flight arrangements had been juggled around so Julie would not have to be sitting alone in any airport coming or going ,(we are branching off on our stop over in France) so Julie flew with the others and flew from there to us. So here is Julie, waiting out front of the what seems deserted airport at 6:45, she had tried to text me, but I had turned off my phone, the roaming had completely drained it. After myriad of impediment, we had Julie. She was very fine.
We ate a wonderful meal at the Hotel where we will be staying the last night here (not going to chance the impediment trying to catch a plane that flies out at 8am.) We then started our trek back to the B&BL&D. We passed it in the dark, when we reached Chibombo we realized it, Tony turned back. (When he turned around is actually when WE realized anything, we three had fallen asleep and our heads were bouncing and mouths drooling, at this time) We looked at each odd sign on the side of the road for the next 20 miles. Turned around when we ‘knew’ we had passed it again, drove some more, turned around again and then, the sign popped up just where it had been the whole time, under the large antenna tower. Nothing has lights out side, signs, roads, homes. It was like looking for …something in the dark of Africa. We made it to our beds late late late, actually it was probably, about 10 PM, but to us it was 2 days to late.