Tuesday, October 19, 2010

City Life

Living in a city of a foreign country has a completely different set of challenges than what I faced in the village. My new home is a two bedroom, 1 bath, and 1 tiny kitchen flat in a nice neighborhood. When I tell friends where I live they say, "oh those dodgy flats on the corner?" Yep, those are the ones. The complex looks like the married student housing my parents lived in during college and where I spent my diaper years. Not that I remember the place but I have been back to see it and damn was it dodgy.

Our electricity is paid in advance. We take our electric card for our meter to Zesco and buy prepaid electric units. Once at home you enter in the extended number series on your receipt to top up your electricity. Its like a prepaid phone, but worse. If you run out of electricity the fridge stops working and your milk goes bad. Sometimes the milk goes bad on its own accord though. Needless to say we monitor the electric box daily.

Having running water is quite a pleasant experience. It makes doing dishes, taking a bath and doing laundry so much faster. That is if the council water is on. I still own a jerry can for storing water just in case the water is turned off for days. This morning while I was rinsing my hair the water went off, good thing I had filled the tub up before and could rinse off in dirty water.

Sometimes we get unwanted house guests too. When I stumbled home one night after my birthday I scared a rat the size of 4 week old puppy out of my pantry. The rats are bigger in town than they are in the village I think. Other house guests are a little more intrusive, volunteers still living up country often call inviting themselves to stay for a few days. Friends are welcome of course; obtrusive and pushy people are not. There was also a cockroach infestation, ok there were 3, but hopefully we have that one solved. Our trash was overflowing under the sink.

It’s been 2 years since I have driven, it will be another year until I am allowed to drive again (except while on vacation I can motor around). To get around on my own I use the public transport system. I cherish the rides I get to work in the morning and home in the afternoon, being in a private vehicle is so amazing compared to being squashed 4 people to a 3 butt bench seat. Arguing over the price every time I get in a minibus or taxi is exhausting. If I didn't haggle over the price every time though I would go broke just from transport expenses. Anything to save a buck?

Generally this is my life. Not as exciting as it used to be. I go to work every day at 8, come home at 5. Night time activity is limited because I am still scared of the dark. Weekends are spent cleaning, doing laundry, shopping for the house. The routine is nice, but I’m afraid it’s going to become too oppressive soon. I think I will be in need of an adventure sooner rather than later.

1 comment:

  1. Great to see you're blogging again. This sounds like a new chapter in Zambia life. I think like any good book, you may need to get a few chapters in before figuring out the plot. Give yourself a chance. Do you have a roommate? I'm proud of your resilience. Hugs!