Wednesday, April 21, 2010

With a rattledy bang like a thousand tin cans...

So started a book about an old school bus that I remember from my childhood, and so we went down the road today into Ikelenge to see the President. We took 32 folding chairs in with us for the President's entourage, and they made talking (and almost thinking!) impossible. We dropped off the chairs, found a spot in the shade, and started to wait. Origionally President Banda was supposed to arrive at 11, so we got there about 10:20ish. Well, as 11 rolled by, and then 12, we treked back the the car to get off our feet and rest a bit. About 1:00 the first helicopter flew over with a load of important people, and then maybe 1:30ish another helicopter flew in. Beth and I stood in the huge crowd in the sweltering heat and considered if this was realy worth it. Finally at about 2:30, President Banda made his apprerance. He spoke in English which was then loosly translated into Lunda. The main points of his rather long speach were
a) The roads would need to be fixed because this is an international road (into Angola) and
b) because Ikelenge has now been officially named a boma (which basically means it will get more government money, a bigger police staion, military presence, better healthcare, and 'many of the things you are asking for will come as a matter of course.')
c) He (President Banda) values the people of NWP, and says that there is great wealth under our feet. We are the new copper belt! (????)
d) He is very sensitive to the fact that becames of the votes of NWP, he gained office.

In other words, a lot of cheap talk which may or may not have results. The biggest thing is getting the road fixed. Apparently, there is also talk of a railway between Angola and Zambia going down into the Copper Belt as well as a pineapple factory in Ikelenge. The next few decades should be very interesting!

We finally arrived home about 3:30--about 5 hours of our lives were spent on the president. I'm glad I got to finally see him, but waiting in the crowd was not a lot of fun. I was amazed at how little security there was, and how close the people could get. Only in Africa... The President's lack of punctuality is also an "only in Africa" thing. It kind of explains a lot about what goes on (or lack thereof) here!

Well, I think I'm going to go and finish up the skirt I'm making as well as wipping up some matching head scarves. Oh, speaking of chetengi, I saw more President Banta ones than I've ever seen before! They must have come over yesterday with the helicopter load of people who 'secured' the area. I was also surprised to see quite a few Obama shirts and even an Obama chetengi. Interesting...

1 comment:

  1. i discovered what the "new copperbelt" comment was about from a cabby here in Lusaka. apparently they've discovered a lot of oil in our region... cool, eh? hence the need for a railroad through angola (have to be able to get the oil out of the country). it's amazing what you can learn from taxi drivers :)