We’re Rusty

That’s what I have been feeling these past few weeks. Kristin and I are really rusty at living in Zambia and dealing with Zambian culture. It was easy in the States as we prepared to come back to feel, “Zambia? Got that down. Oh sure, there will be struggles and adjustments, but come on we lived there for a year and a half before…right?” But living here was a half a decade ago, and a lot has changed. Lusaka is bigger, traffic is pretty horrendous, Lusaka has become more western, but also more middle eastern. And under it all a lot has also stayed the same, but we have just forgotten so much!

Here is some of our rust:

  • Forgetting that you can buy postage stamps at other places besides the post office (that would have been super helpful to remember before standing in multiple lines at the post office for a long period of time with your personal space being sorta violated).
  • Forgetting to take the “bypass” through Kamwala at 12:30pm to avoid the Kafue roundabout where we were stuck for 45min to go 3km.
  • Forgetting that people push their broken down truck through the Kafue roundabout at 12:30pm blocking you from entering said roundabout. They also open the truck’s hood [bonnet, as they say here] right there in the roundabout and give it a look-see.
  • The police “help” (also known as “hinder”) direct traffic through the roundabout which causes long backups.
  • Rules of the road are mere guidelines. The strong drivers and vehicles survive, and you have to be aggressive or you won’t get anywhere (thought I remembered this one, but, nope, I didn’t).
  • If you don’t have a Cruella Devil face on when going through an intersection, an overloaded semi will pull out in front of you every time.
  • If you stop for one person to cross the street, a hundred of their friends will suddenly join them.
  • People butt in front of you in any line you are waiting in. Me thinking: “Excuse me sir, there’s a queue.” What they’re thinking: “Yeah, you’re the only one in it.”
  • If someone says, “By the end the day [fill in the blank] will be done,” expect it to take a lot longer than that, probably 1-4 more days.
  • The internet seems to be powered by a hamster on a wheel. Sometimes that hamster gets tired and slows down or stops altogether, and so the internet stops or sputters.
  • There are a lot of bugs to kill in our house and apparently every critter wants to be in our shower – spiders, frogs, ants, termites.
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