This is a quote from "Hillel the Elder" from the first century. (I thought I was so original!)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Signs of the Times

When you visit Lusaka, this is your first impression.
It is so different from California where billboards have been banned near where I live.
Africa has a lot to offer in the way of natural beauty but the visual blight is pretty horrendous.
I used to read every sign I passed but I am getting beyond that and hardly notice them much anymore.

These green signs are very rare and I would like to see more of them.  These three spots in the road are far into the Western Province where people are few and migrating wildebeest and zebra are plentiful.  This was the last sign for directions for the next 150 kilometers.  We didn't get to go further.
Without this kind of sign and lots of dirt roads in front of you, you can get lost easily.

But our lives are usually surrounded by the following signs I found a little bit interesting.
This one made me think twice about exploring the local area.

Zambia has a pretty good record for saying "no" to corruption.  The police are suspect at times but the penalty is heavy.  Unlike some countries, here you want to be above suspicion.

Some signs would certainly cause discussion in a family car as you pass.  There are plenty about AIDS and condoms and pregnancy.

Malaria is a good topic.  I saw a sign where they have paint that will discourage mosquitoes.

Once in a while a happy billboard.

Even most trucks and combies have a saying on them.  Most are positive or religious.

This sign is fairly fresh and popping up regularly.

Harveytiles has this type of sign everywhere.  The yellow and black is easy to spot and we have started to record the different sayings just out of boredom when driving around.
One of the senior couples who leave at the end of the month has the last name Harvey so we will of course compile a list of what the mission will be like without the Harveys.

Boreholes are wells and if you have one in your little compound then your water is pretty safe.

This Fed Ex sign is important because everyone refers to this round-a-bout as the "Fed Ex" round-a-bout.
You must first learn the common names of round-a-bouts and how they connect to each other like atoms or molecules.  Once that happens you can pretty much find your way around.

I'll take a good map anywhere I can find it.

I have expected this sign to be added on to for two months - but this is it.  Notice the opportunity for graffiti but none here.  I have spotted maybe one or two tags in the whole city of 1.5 million.  That part is quite refreshing.  (No tattoos either).

Some problems and solutions have to be explained.  This sign is not current.  I am sure there is still a problem to a small degree but not extremely noticeable.  There are thousands, yes thousands of NGO's or non government organizations that work to alleviate different issues.

I have only seen two or three "homeless" people on the street and they have been obviously mentally ill.

Of course there are signs of national pride.  This could have been an Oakland A's fan at home.

More visual blight.

Garbage is a real issue and most people dump it somewhere, usually in front of their neighbors.  It costs  about one kwacha or .18 cents per bag to have it picked up.  When you make 10 kwacha an hour it is not at the top of your priorities for spending your money.

Harveytile signs really are obnoxious but a study in what is effective advertising.

There are witchdoctors around.  You hear tales of many people still going to them and covering their bases when an illness lingers.  As you can see they can solve many of your problems and they are a lot cheaper than a certified MD.

Sitting on Dr. Kachele's counter is a great variety of roots and herbs that can be mixed, cooked or rubbed and the effort will bring about whatever result you expect  - eventually, if you wait long enough.  Some must be based on some facts from years and years of trial.

I hadn't heard about the green card lottery.  I am not sure what a Diversity Visa is.  I am confident that many folks here would be homesick in a minute if someone else entered them in the lottery and they won.

Studying abroad is also an option but most places like this sell hope for a lot of money.

This is the kind of sign the missionaries look out for.

Sometimes, I get a little cranky and wish I just had a dog to pet and play with.
It would be unusual if visitors just came by and knocked on our door  -  come anytime.  
I promise I won't bite and I'll have a welcome sign out for you.