We have designated Saturdays as a day to stay home and take care of shopping, chores, house maintenance and Sunday lesson preparation. It is very nice to not put on a tie. The first thing I saw last Saturday looking out the bedroom window was our neighbor taking care of a plump chicken.
By noon I was ready to get out of town and see the Zambian landscape. There is nothing like a drive in the country to help take the stress out of life. One of my favorite things things is to find a road I have not been down before. They just seem to hold a possibility of discovery.
It wasn't long before I found a freshly painted sign in the middle of nowhere, inviting us to see an "amazing ant hill cave". I asked two men that were walking along the road if they had seen the cave. They said they were curious too, so they got in the back seat and I drove down the lane as far as the truck could go.
We were met by these three sisters who seemed to be the only ones around. The two men asked in Nyanja if we could see the ant hill cave.
Then up ahead, another one hundred yards, just like the sketch on the sign, was an old termite mound that had been the source of many bricks in the past.
Inside was a very large room with a central pillar formed into a woman carrying a bundle on her head.
Wherever the parents were, I was starting to like them, and their philosophy of "Enjoy work and get fun out of life." We signed the guest book and donated five kwacha for the privilege of sharing their "work" and "fun".
The oldest girl almost looked like a cabbage patch doll when she posed behind the pumpkin leaves.
Looking back the other way, you can see they had a great garden and the makings of a new home.
This is where they are currently living.
After photos and passing out tootsie pops we drove the two men that had been to their Seventh Day Adventist service, home. I asked what the biggest challenge was for people living in the area. The oldest said that the farmers needed to learn to farm better so that they had higher yielding crops. I had thought that maybe water would be mentioned first. No one is shy about asking for monetary help to better their daily lives.
Where many people pass we found there are great vegetable markets.
They are so fun to just look at.
The colors and abundance from their gardens reassures us that no one is going hungry.
Men tend to livestock, play draughts and talk. The women sell at the stands, talk on cell phones and work on each other's hair.
Something is always in bloom.
One village was holding foot races. The lanes were separated by permanent grooves between the lanes which were filled with black pebbles to make them more visible.
Maybe the black was charcoal. There is always someone struggling to get their load to market.
One of my destinations was to see the Chongwe River. Just a little bit of paradise.
People walking, and walking. I always wonder where they are from and where are they going. I cannot see buildings anywhere.
Everyone has a story.
This sign was next to a path that led to an "African Doctor" or what was once called a "witch doctor".
Everything is used in the local medicine.
These women were extremely happy with an abundance of "ground nuts" or peanuts for sale.
This little boy was helping his mother get the load home, or maybe to market.
Car wash or haircut or music, whatever you want as long as you can pay.
Water is always a priority.
This tire looked too good to be just a toy.
Here is a young man with the responsibility of keeping the family cows fed and together.
On her way for water.
This happy woman was washing clothes at a little dammed stream with her boys and mother and other women.
Her mother was happy to ask us for money but didn't want her photo taken.
There are often people holding there arms out, palms down, parallel to the ground and waving the hand up and down as a signal to stop for a ride. We can't accommodate everyone but one young man caught my eye because of the large cloth bundle at his feet. I stopped when I realized the bundle was a woman curled up in a fetal position. He asked if we could take his wife to the clinic. I said yes and before we could open a door or help her in, he helped her get in the back of the pickup. She just laid down and I tried to drive a little slower and smoother but it was not easy on these dirt roads.
Once we found the clinic twenty to thirty minutes down the road, Kristi hopped out and help them go to the door.
It was locked this Saturday but after going around and inside, Kristi was greeted by a woman who was in the process of helping delivering a baby. She got our passenger settled and then returned with her bloody hands to the task at hand.
The husband hurried out to thank me for stopping and giving them a ride. I asked if I could take his photo with their child.
Leaving the village, I was impressed with the size of the school that seemed to be in the middle of nowhere. It was Saturday and wash day. This photo does not do justice to the amount of clothes out on the bushes to dry after washing them. It appeared to be a boarding school as there could not be so many children that are orphans. It is a place I would like to go back to and see if there is any type of service we could help with there.
We traveled on for another hour or so and suddenly we were on a new paved road. It was beautiful! Not a flaw in it. It was engineered with guard rails and drainage culverts. We drove on it for over an hour at a good rate of speed. It didn't pass through another village but it did run north right into Leopard Hill Road not far from our home on the south side of Lusaka.
I am not sure which type of road above would be the best to relieve stress on a Saturday drive.
Some might choose the smooth, quiet blur of landscape with the CD playing.
I think I am drawn to the bumpy stop and start one that brings surprises and opportunities.
Next Saturday fill the tank and get inspired as you discover life and see where the road takes you.