Lusaka is a city of walls.
Everywhere you look there are walls. Houses are walled in with walls and gates so tall you can’t see in. The beautiful flowering trees behind the walls give you a hint of the oasis that lies within. Before coming to Lusaka, we were told the neighbourhood we had chosen to live in was one of the nicer areas in the city. However, we’ve found it difficult to compare the different neighbourhoods as there’s not much to see with everything behind a wall. One thing we have noticed though is that the poorer areas don’t appear to have as many walls. Perhaps this is the way to compare different areas in Lusaka: the bigger the wall, the more to guard, the nicer the area.
|A view of our street.|
Lusaka is a city of familiar and foreign names.
We’ve found the different street and neighbourhood names in Lusaka interesting. Some are foreign sounding and frankly fun to say, like Kalingalinga and Kabulonga. Others are very familiar – Los Angeles Boulevard and Kamloops Road.
Lusaka is a city of walkers.
I’ve been impressed with the numbers of people you see walking along the streets. Men and woman in business attire, women carrying baskets or containers on their heads or babies on their backs wrapped up in colourful material, children in school uniforms. It has made for great people watching while driving to the orphanage. The streets are busy at all times of the day. It makes for a colourful and vibrant environment.
Lusaka is a city of street vendors.
You can buy all numbers of items on the streets either in roadside stands or being sold by men walking along the lines of cars at stop lights. We’ve seen a variety of things being sold, some expected, some less so – fruits, vegetables, eggs, phone cards, water, lawnmowers, brooms, mops, plungers, shoes, clothes, and puppies.
Lusaka is a city of well-dressed people.
The people of Lusaka like to look good. Collared shirts and slacks for men and dresses for women are the norm. Aside from standing out because of our skin colour, white people are noticeably more casual. Markus and I try our best to not look like slobs when we go out. Unfortunately, I left my heels at home – who knew I would need them in Zambia. J
Lusaka is a city of contrasts.
I remember our second day in Lusaka. In the morning we had driven out to the orphanage through one of the poorer areas in the city. The side streets were dirt roads, the houses small brick structures. There was work going on right along side of the road – furniture making, metal work. There were small kiosks built into the sides of the walls surrounding the different residential areas. In the afternoon, we went to get more supplies for our house at a mall perhaps 10-15 minutes away. Walking into the mall, I was initially surprised at how big, modern, and Western it was. After our morning drive and time at the orphanage, I was struck by what a difference I was seeing a relatively short distance away. It was easy at first to attribute this observation to the reality of being in a third world country, but then I reminded myself of the downtown east side and the five minute drive to Yaletown.
Lusaka is a city of tomorrows.
We are slowly and sometimes painfully getting used to “Africa time”. We were warned about this difference in culture before we left both by our Zambian friends and other friends and family who had spent time in Africa. We are getting used to hearing the statement, “it should happen tomorrow”. We’ve come to realize that “tomorrow” may mean tomorrow or more likely it means next week or longer.
Lusaka is hot!
We are moving into the hottest month of the year in Zambia – October. The temperature hovers in the mid thirties during the day and “cools down” to the mid twenties at night. While I would prefer to walk around all day in a bathing suit, I don’t think this would go over well with the locals. I’ve been amazed to see men wearing collared shirts, sweaters, pants, and dress shoes out in this heat. It makes me feel like melting just looking at them.
Lusaka is a city of adorable babies.
I think this picture says it better than words.