We had a traditional Zambian dinner last night at the home of one of the orientation leaders. She has a fabulous home, filled with artifacts and art from Africa and all over the world. She has lived in Zambia for ten years, although I think she is originally from the UK.
There was a demonstration by a Zambian dance group. The music was that incredible close harmony you hear with songs from South Africa. That kind of singing makes my heart feel like bursting out of my chest and feels so….organic. Like music of the earth itself. Grounded.
Then there was a traditional dinner, with mieli-meal as a base (like a very thick corn porridge) prepared by two women in traditional dress over a coal fire. There were lots of “relishes” to scoop up. A relish is simply anything you put on the nsima (which is what the meal is called when it’s cooked.) You eat it with your hands – making a sort of round ball out of the nsima with an indentation in it and using that to scoop any relish you choose. We had individual plates, although I suppose to be truly traditional, we would all have eaten from the common pot.
There was stewed beef, beans, chicken, various kinds of greens, eggplant and deep-fried caterpillar. (I tried them…very chewy and crispy and they tasted kind of like…caterpillar.)
A wonderful evening and a great finish to our week of “new teacher” orientation. Read the rest of this entry
The long journey started at 2:30am, when Adam drove me to Boston’s Logan airport. Although my flight was booked through Emirates, the first leg of the trip was with Delta. I was checking four big and heavy bags, and after a bit of confusion, was directed to a different check-in desk…with an onimous (and false) warning that there could be an embargo on bringing extra bags. The man at the desk seemed confused as to how to charge me, finally settling on some ridiculous price per bag. The good news was that my bags would be checke through all the way to Lusaka.
Short hop to JFK and then a longish wait. After discovering that my assigned and un-changeable seat was to be Row 82, in the middle, I fortified myself with a full Irish breakfast and two large bloody Mary’s. It almost worked. I managed to sleep or at least attain a state of somnolence for a good part of the flight, despite being a bit squished.
When we landed in Dubai exactly 12 hours later, I had just enough time to do a quick wash-up and change my shirt before boarding the plane to Lusaka. This flight was just as full, but fortunately I was on the aisle this time with a tiny bit more room to stretch my legs. Another 6 hours in the air and we landed in Lusaka. The customs line took more than an hour nd when I was finally through, tourist visa duly stamped into my passport, I was relieved to see all four of my bags waiting for me and even more relieved to see a smiling Zambian holding a sign with my name printed on it.
I was given my welcome present – a colorful cloth bag which contained a very informative guide to Zambia and a working cell phone!
Now it begins…