Saturday, 19 November 2011

Caravan Dispatches - Of Welcoming Government Officials and Timing Culture Shock

19th Nov, 2011

So now we are on our way from Chipata, Zambia. A supermarket attendant asked me, do you know how far it is? And before l could answer he said, ‘600kms plus.’ I smile. He smiles back. I tell him, ‘I think we will survive. We have so far covered over 4000kms and we are still going.’ I hear myself say that and l can’t believe. What? We have surpassed the half way mark and we are still going strong. Chipata, Zambia gave us a feeling of being wanted. The government through its DC had last night at around 7pm spoken to us. We felt privileged that a government official had taken the time to come and meet us. What was more surprising was what happened when we got to the border in order to clear and get into Zambia.  ‘Oh so you are the Trans African Caravan of Hope team?’ To that we chorused yes. So at that point we didn’t have a clue as to what we had done. We were kind of taken aback. We listened on. ‘Okay so we have your tomorrow’s program here. Let’s check you in.’ And just like that we began what would feel like ‘we are glad you are here experience.’ Just a few hours ago we finished the event and we went to pick snacks. After that, the police gave us escort for about an hour. 

I have to tell you about the change in timings. I know for sure East Africans were shocked by the fact that when we awoke this morning, 4am looked more like 7 am to them. In fact, one of them had already gotten out to find a cyber cafĂ©. He told me that when he found one, the proprietor there said, ‘we are open only at 0800hours and not earlier.’ To which he said, ‘How can you be closed when the sun is high in the sky?’ His answer, ‘No one will come to the cyber at 5am simply because the sun stands high in the sky.’ Yeah, what culture shock. We got to Lusaka fine and found some very hospitable people. Cheers Lusaka.

By Maria Wanza

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