Some of you may be familiar with the acronym, 'TIA,' or 'This is Africa.' There are so many things that fall under that category--people selling puppies while weaving hazardously through traffic, people crossing the road at any and all times, watching women in business suits and heels carrying their children on their back with a chetengi--all these things are TIA. The other day I experienced an ultimate in TIA while at the new Levy mall in Lusaka.
First of all, Levy is a TIA itself--it's in a rougher part of town than the other two malls, and when we first went there we went past the Indian fabric store and past the really sketchy looking bus station before arriving at the shinning white Levy center. Slum to posh in just a few meters! We were price checking at Pick n' Pay and a few other shops, and eventually I needed a bathroom break. After using the facilities I was in the process of exiting, when I was flagged over by the cleaning lady. "Ah, madame, you have not flushed!" she said. "Um, yes I did..." I replied in some surprise. "Ah, but no!" she countered, nothing daunted, and proceeded to point into a stall that I had not used. Deciding that arguing with the cleaning lady was not a terribly dignified occupation, I went in, looked, said, "This is definitely not mine, but I'll flush it anyway," and proceeded to do just that. Now, can you imagine being harassed by a cleaning lady in North America? Maybe it would be a good thing--people would be a little less likely to make annoying messes, but seriously? How long does it take to flush a toilet?
These last few days have been a whirl of shopping, and I'm beginning to think that today was two days since it sure feels like it! Tomorrow we are going to Emigration, possibly Road Traffic, maybe the American Embassy, possibly to see a lady about a kitten for Beth, and to pick up our perishables and bulky things (like dog and cat food). I'm getting to the point where I'm getting ready to be home and relaxing; since we left early the day after term ended, I haven't really stopped going yet. Oh well, at least I don't have marking to do!
After sorting through today's purchases I'm putting my feet up for a bit before crashing into bed. Tomorrow should be interesting--it's been a 5 day weekend and I have a feeling things could be a little hairy!
P.S. If you want to see some pictures of the dorm roof project, check out's Tim's blog at timmaryadventure