Walking in Lusaka is always an adventure in and of itself. Although a huge percentage of the population walks everywhere (when they are not taking the little blue mini-vans!) there is a decided lack of sidewalks or places to walk next to the road. Most roads have no shoulders and because of the torrential rains during the wet season, there are ditches for the run-off on either side of the road. Some of these ditches are lined with concrete or pavers, but more often, they are simply dug out of the dirt.
Every once in a while, there is some kind of sidewalk. Sometimes it is merely a dirt path, but sometimes, the owner of the building will create a sidewalk in front of their property as the Anglican Church has. It is kind of odd to be walking in dirt and ditches and then suddenly have a proper sidewalk for 100 yards or so before going back to the dirt!
Most of the houses and complexes in my area are walled and gated – that is, they have a gate or a sliding door at the entrance that is opened for residents by a guard. Some are quite simple, like the one at my flat.
But others are much more elaborate affairs, with ironwork and scrolling. Some of the walls have pieces of glass at the top, to prevent anyone from gaining entrance.
There are security companies that will provide guards for the complexes and some of the “fancier” places and the embassy residences hire a whole slew of them. Being a gate-guard may seem like a boring job, and perhaps it is…but the unemployment is so high here that the more jobs that can be created, the better. One guard saw me snapping pictures on my walk and asked if he could pose!
The signage along the main roads is quite interesting. Many of the signs are produced locally and lack the uniformity we are so used to seeing at home. But some look just like any busy corner in any city.
Lusaka is really in transition and a period of growth…but sometimes the money runs out and people abandon their building project, leaving the skeleton of the house or complex incomplete and taken over by the wild flowers.
And always, there is a riot of color amongst the trees and flowering hedges. Even in this dry season.