Saturday, 14 July 2012

A series of unfortunate events...

Just as I knew in my heart they would, as soon as I got to my lodge my pre trip nerves disappeared. And now I feel stupid for banging on in previous posts about all the fear stuff. I comfort myself with the fact that I knew this would happen, so I'm only half stupid, but I recognise that that still makes me...half stupid.

However, this is the first trip for a long time that things have actually sort of gone a bit wrong on arrival, which wasn't great at the time, but funny in retrospect. And nothing serious.

The first thing that went wrong was I was late. I was late because of storms over Amsterdam, and for the same reason I was terrified. Did I mention I'm not a good flyer? I downed valium and it was sort of ok.

Because I was late everything was closed when I got to the airport. That includes the bureau de change, and seeing as you can't get Zambian Kwacha outside of Zambia and that they just changed the law to mean they won't accept dollars here, it meant I had no useable money on me. However, all that is irrelevant because the water shop I so wanted to find in the airport on arrival didn't exist anyway. They confiscated all my water at the gate in Amsterdam and so I was freaking out that I was going to dehydrate on the plane and arrive in Africa all shrivelled. I didn't, but still, I was looking forward to the water shop. But it didn't exist.

So I waited for an hour and a half in an immigration queue. And by the time I got out it was almost midnight. That was ok, though. My country manager who met me, Peter, he was understanding and he just took me straight to my lodge for some sleep.

Luckily, my cleanser and toner leaked in my toiletries bag and through to all my clothes en route. Oh and all over my toothbrush. So I couldn't clean my teeth. Well, I did, but with my finger and no water because I was scared that I was going to get cholera from the brown water that comes out the taps in my lodge.

It didn't really matter, though because at least I could sort stuff out first thing tomorrow morning. Oh no - I couldn't because I got picked up at eight o' clock for my first day of work in the head office! But that's ok because at least I can go into the office stinking of the witch hazel, tea tree and ethanol that makes up my cleanser and toner. Grrr.....

So anyway, that doesn't matter. At least my new big boss would be there to meet me and reassure me that he didn't mind me smelling of alcohol. Hmm...well that's what I thought. It turns out he didn't turn up, anyway. He got called to an important meeting, so I got put in an office and sort of left to my own devices. But those devices weren't really sure what they were doing because I hadn't had a brief or a meeting or any real conversations with anyone other than the information officer who was amazing, but just told me things I already knew. All this not knowing and not speaking and not having people around me was kind of getting to me, not because I can't be independent, but bear in mind I still hadn't had any water and my concentration was kinda going.

So that's ok, at least everyone is finishing at one on a Friday. Uh uh - Africa time even applies to working late! So, three o clock finally comes and I ask someone - anyone - to please give me a lift into town so I can get some water, a phone, a toothbrush and some food because by this time I am also very hungry.

Luckily, I find a spar. Of all things - in Africa - a spar.

So my first meal in Zambia was a beef and onion pasty and a packet of bacon wheat crunchies.

The story obviously ends well because I'm fine. I'm writing my blog, which means I'm alive, which means I have water and food and everything I need.

The real stories are happening every minute and I already feel after just two days that I have so much to say and to tell people. This post is beginning to look a bit lengthy, though, so perhaps I'll save it til tomorrow.

For now, from (clearly not) deepest darkest Africa, night night!


  1. Glad you made it there safely xoxo sending you a big hug!!

  2. Good luck Lucy from me and Emily!! Keep up the blogging too! really cool to read these!!

  3. Wicked, glad you're safe and sound lovely.
    Do they have Mr. Freezes in their Spars? I bet they'd sell like hotcakes.