We were super lucky to see a leopard as we drove in to the park! I spotted it!
Bring on the culture shock!
We had a 16-hr bus ride from Harare, Zimbabwe, to Johannesburg, South Africa. It left at 8pm and arrived just after noon the next day. Fortunately, we managed to book a luxury bus this time--Greyhound--which felt more like checking into a flight, and the seats were comfortable and posh! The bus itself was the beginning of culture-shock. We slept pretty well, and the border crossing at 4am went quite smoothly. We didn't have to pay anything to enter South Africa--one quick stamp allows us to stay for 90 days.
When we arrived in Johannesburg (a.k.a. Jo'burg or Jozi) it felt like we had not only arrived in another country, we'd arrived in another world. I could hardly believe we were in Africa anymore--I could hardly believe we'd arrived here by bus. In many ways, Jo'burg felt like it could be any big city in the world. Granted, many big cities feel like that--they have their own distinct culture, yet alot of similarities, such as busy traffic, tall buildings, a mixture of people.
When we made it to our guest house, the first thing I enjoyed was a nice hot shower--with excellent water pressure. Then we walked a few blocks to a big mall for dinner, a movie, and browsing at a book shop. I was gaping at the mall--it was so shiny and fancy--I had to take pictures! We had delicious sushi for dinner and watched the movie "Crazy, Stupid, Love." The book store added to the culture shock--not only were there lots of books for reasonable prices, but there were books which criticized and addressed current issues in the country. Very different from Zambia.
Our first full day, we paid a visit to TEE College and had lunch with director, Megan Baxter. We'd met Megan at the AATEEA (All Africa Theological Education by Extension Association) Conference in Ghana last October. Different from TEEZ (Zambia), South Africa's TEE COllege trains people on 3 levels (Certificate, Diploma, and Degree) and primarily trains clergy according to the requirements of thier respective denominations.(TEEZ works at the Certificate level only and trains primarily Lay leaders.)
I was also very impressed with the huge store-room of materials and the color-coded system of organizing them, and also with the fact that they have their materials translated into 5 different languages: Sesotho, Xhosa, Zulu, English, & Afrikaans.
Sterkfontein caves and Maropeng Museum. This area is very important in archeological research: several early hominids have been discovered here ("Little Foot" in 1994 and Australopithecus sediba in 2010). The museum was AWESOME--one of the best I've ever been too--very interactive, explaining the movement of tectonic plates, species classification system, and extinction, as well as the theory of evolution and how all the early hominids may fit together. If you look at their webpage, you may want to come all the way to South Africa just to go to this museum.
So this is a strange mix of development and shanty town all jumbled together.
New Stadium for the 2010 World Cup--the Stadium's design is themed for Umqombothi--traditional brew in a calabash.
The round shape and redish-brown bottom layer represent the calabash/gourd, the light brown represents the color of the traditional beer made by fermenting corn, and the white top represents the foam!
Day five, Sunday, we went for Quaker meeting, which I had long been awaiting. This is a very special place full of very special people in Ryan's journey of faith. It was the first Christian worshiping community that he ever became a member of, and their faith and practice formed him greatly. Even though he was only there for 6 months, he became heavily involved in the meeting (~congregation) and even served as the Young Friends Co-Clerk for the South Central Africa Yearly Meeting (like their General Assembly or General Synod) to which he was nominated in 2004 and then flew back to attend in 2005 and 2006!
As you may have noticed, our blog went silent for a few months. We apologize for that. It was a combination of a busy travel schedule, a lot of work, and limited internet connectivity in our final months in Zambia.
I have been trying to catch up on blog posts, filling in the missing months, as well as a few posts I started but never finished and posted. In order to keep the story basically chronological, I'm posting these new old posts approximately at the date when they happened. So here is a list of these posts, with links you can follow. I will update and re-post this list as I go. So you never have to miss a single word or photo!
New Old Blog Posts: (click on the title to be redirected)
- Spice Tour
- Tazanian Safari
- Football in Kitwe
- A Blur of Trainings: May in Lusaka
- June in Eastern Province: Part One, Chipata
- June in Eastern Province: Part Two, Mfuwe & South Luangwa National Park
In the meantime, I'm trying to stay a little more up-to-date as we travel to different countries. I will try to post new new posts (current happenings) once a week or so, internet-allowing. So, now after a dry spell--here's the rainy season. Apropos, since it just started raining in South Africa, which is where we are now.
We've been praying for Zambia and all our friends there, as they went to the polls Tuesday, 20 Sept 2011. Some rioting has broken out over delays in voting places and suspected fraud, and also because of the delay in releasing confirmed results. Challenger Michael Sata, of the Patriotic Front, who is very popular in the Copperbelt, where we lived in Kitwe, seems to be ahead.
This past year in Zambia, we heard many people say that the PF has indeed won the vote the last 3 presidential elections, but official results have not "reflected" that, nor has the ruling party changed. I pray that some meaningful change might happen for Zambia. Who knows if Sata would be a better leader? He may end up just another crooked or ineffective politician once given the chance. I do find some hope though, that there seems to be a popular uprising, and a possible party change. I just hope that the violence will cease, and peace can prevail.
Zambia election results trickle in slowly from International Business Times
Zambia presidential election results are in at about half of the country's constituencies. The Patriotic Front's Michael Sata has an early lead over incumbent Rupiah Banda, whose party has been in power for 20 years, but it is much too early to call the election.Two Killed in Riots over Zambian Election from a paper in Sydney, Australia
With 85 of 150 voting districts tallied, Sata leads the race with 43 percent of the vote, compared to President Banda's 36 percent. However, Banda still leads in the most recent opinion polls.
The two politicians fought a fierce battle in the 2008 presidential elections, with Banda edging out his nationalist opponent by a mere two percentage points. Sata alleged that the vote has been tampered with, a claim that has again arisen in this year's vote.
...Supporters of Sata's Patriotic Front (PF) in the Copperbelt towns of Kitwe and Ndola accused authorities of withholding results that favoured their candidate.
Their frustrations turned to violence on Thursday as police said two people were killed in riots that were broken up with tear gas and water cannons.
Ballot papers and vehicles set ablaze from Zambian newspaper, the Post (generally the PF-slanted reporting)
...A Law Association of Zambia monitor Dumisani Tembo, who also had his vehicle stoned, said: "We arrived around six in the morning but while other places seemed ready for the poll, Lilanda East looked very far. There was literally nothing, no polling booths, no ballot boxes, there were only lids for ballot boxes. No voters' register, no presiding officer and no posters to indicate what stream this is. That's what started to cause the anxiety."
...The eyewitnesses said the voters burnt the electoral materials in protest against the delay in opening the polling stations. They said the polling station did not open up to about 13:00 hours, thereby angering the electorate that had waited outside the centre long before 06:00 hours, the stipulated time of starting the voting process.
...Speaking at David Kaunda National Technical High School in Lusaka Central constituency where he is also a PF parliamentary candidate, Dr Scott said it was surprising that the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) and the Lusaka City Council had badly organised the electoral process.
"There are lots of late deliveries of materials which have contributed to these disturbances. What we are wondering is whether this is a deliberate attempt to bring down the PF vote in Lusaka because it's the major contributor to the national score or whether it's just incompetence," Dr Scott said.
China's stake in Zambia's election from BBC news the day before the election
...Neo Simuntanyi, director of the left-leaning Lusaka-based think tank Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), told the BBC that Zambian party financing was totally opaque and it was hard to really know where money was coming from.
"Although there's no way to prove it, there are a lot of suspicions that the MMD is maybe benefiting from Chinese support just because of the sheer scale of their campaign," he said.
"The MMD has never had that kind of money before and you can see that in how well-oiled their campaign machine has been and how big their presence is everywhere around the country."
...Mr Simuntanyi suggested that it was in the interest of Chinese companies to keep the MMD in power, in order to maintain the favourable - or as some would say preferential - investment climate they have enjoyed in Zambia in recent years.
China's main area of interest is mining, having bought up on the cheap a number of copper, cobalt and nickel mines, which had been mothballed by Western investors when commodity prices fell.
...Although there have been repeated allegations - and in some cases hard evidence - of poor labour conditions and low salaries in Chinese-run mines and factories, the Zambian government remains happy with its new friend because the investment has driven economic growth to almost unprecedented levels.
...Given Lubinda, a PF parliamentary candidate, said the size of the ruling party's campaign had been surprising.
"All of sudden they seem to have so much money - whether or not it's coming from the Chinese, we don't know, but for all that and the advantages they have had through the state-owned television and newspapers, we at the PF have the people," he said.
Author: Molly & Ryan Dowell Baum
Created: July 26, 2010
"We are the scatterlings of Africa/On a journey to the stars/Far below, we leave forever/Dreams of what we were ..." -Johnny Clegg
The Dowell Baum Team is at home in Kitwe.