P.S. Almost all the pictures are curtsy of Ruthie, as I was pretty busy driving most of the time!
• Thursday: Ruthie, Bethany, and I load into the truck and start the drive to Solwezi. Compared to another trip I took with three ladies across that cab, this one was far more comfortable! We arrived in plenty of time to grab a lunch at Hungry Lion (a South African chain rather like KFC, but much greasier and somewhat dodgy—I’ve had about half and half good and bad experiences there) before taking Bethany to the airport. Ruthie and I tried two windshield places to see if we could get a replacement before tackling RTSA (Road Traffic and Safety Administration—the Zambian DPS). No luck, so we headed to the lodge where we were staying, enjoyed a lovely dinner, and headed to bed.
• Friday: Ruthie had started feeling ill that evening, but is very nauseous that morning. We consulted the school nurse about items to look for in pharmacies here, picked up a few other treatment items, and then went to do battle with RTSA. It took me 2 ½ hours of standing in line and going from room to room before I emerged victorious with my renewed license; I decided that if they wanted to renew it on the strength of an expired US passport, that was their problem! I had checked on Ruthie a few times in the car; she was able to sleep some and had started to feel a bit better. We grabbed some lunch and then headed back to see if we could get the fitness (inspection) done on the truck, and it was a relatively painless process—God is good! They passed it even with the cracked windshield, so that was one more item off the list. Another complication of that day was we were unable to unlock the gas flap of the car. Many vehicles here have locking gas flaps for security reasons—siphoning off gas is not unheard of. We tried and tried to open that flap and popped into many little mechanic type shops looking for help, but eventually the lodge sent a trusted taxi driver to help, and he was able jimmy the latch and took the whole lock off so we wouldn’t have the problem again. Once we got back to the lodge I ordered supper as Ruthie was still not feeling that well, and then we were hit on by a very drunk Zambian MP who would NOT go away. Finally after sharing some horrible personal details (dude, I can’t think of any culture in which that TMI would be okay!) he left so I was able to eat my supper and we could escape. Not the most fun day to live through, but the Lord was good.
• Saturday: I woke up with some pretty intense chest congestion and almost unable to talk. I had been exhibiting some warning signs of a cold for the last few days so I wasn’t surprised, but it was annoying since I had a long way to drive that day. Back to the store for what turned out to be some excellent medicine, and then on the road for the drive to Kitwe. On the way I lost and regained my turn signals and hazard light; dust or a loose connection? We made it safely to my friend’s farm, took showers, and spent a quiet evening.
• Sunday: We sleep in, enjoy a leisurely morning, and then head into town for a late lunch. We did some pricing and scouting, and then headed back to the farm for the evening.
• Monday: Farmers Day, a national holiday, so some of the places we wanted to go weren’t open. We did a bunch of non-perishables shopping at the new mall, enjoyed Pizza hut for lunch, and revised our lists for the following days.
• Tuesday: One of the big treats for this trip was we had booked manicures, a hair cut (for Ruthie), and lowlights (for me) at a lovely spa and salon I’ve been to and really enjoyed. It took most of the morning, but it was so nice to be somewhere clean, enjoying relaxing music and lovely smells. Afterwards we did some school shopping, got lunch, and did our perishable shopping. We also got the car windshield replaced; I figured it was the least I could do since Jill is generous enough to let me drive it. It was dark by the time we headed to the farm to sort and load what we could, but it had been a very productive day. And, I really like my hair!
• Wednesday: We left a little after 7am and started the long drive back to Sakeji. We made a quick “few items we forgot or had thought better of” stop in Solwezi, as well as a quick stop to pick up something I had forgotten at the lodge. I again lost my turn signals and the hazards, but I got the turn signals back and then lost the horn—a big deal when there are so many goats and chickens on the road! We pulled up in a cloud of dust, offloaded the school items with the help of the watchman and the headmaster, and then went to our respective houses to offload there. There had been a massive hot water leak at my house while I was away, so Ruthie let me crash her shower since not showering was NOT an option! Boy was it good to crash into my own bed…
Today the leak was taken care of, I got pretty much everything else put away, and I have been enjoying a quiet day of being HOME. Yes, it was a lot of fun to eat out, go shopping, and get my hair done. However, as always when I go to town, I’m reminded of why I live in the bush!