Having lived in Lusaka, Zambia before, most of the obvious things were not surprising to us. [Obvious things: the noticeable smell of diesel and burning trash, the incredible beauty of flowing trees and lush greenery, driving on the opposite side of the vehicle and road, red dirt, large spiders, how expensive SO many things are due to being specially imported items, people walking everywhere, hearing a different language, seeing mothers openly breastfeed in public, sleeping under a mosquito net, etc…]
However, there have been several things that shocked us. One of the main western shopping centers (Manda Hill) is now a mall, complete with a parking ramp, 2 levels, 1 or 2 incoming cinemas, escalators, a see-through elevator, fancy “toilets” (read: restrooms), a bunch more restaurants, an expensive furniture store and a South African version of Bed, Bath, & Beyond. There is another mall being built downtown that is rumored to make Manda Hill Mall look wimpy. There are many more imported items, especially noticed in the grocery store. Wireless internet is very common. If driving was crazy before, it is beyond insane now with an increased number of vehicles (NICE vehicles – Mercades, BMW, Land Cruiser, Range Rover…) due to the development that has been done to make Zambia a more comfortable place for foreigners.
In some ways, we have slipped right back in without really feeling a thing. But every once in a while, we look at each other with amazement at all the changes that have taken place. We are excited to get back into life here. Feel free to comment or email with questions if there is something you’d like to know that would make Zambia more real for you!