Zambia & Botswana

I love our morning walks to the office because it is time for Andrew and I to spend time talking about things we never would talk about. While we are doing so many projects here in Africa, we still find that we have lots of time on our hands (without internet you realize how much time actually exists in a day). We have discussed everything from housing investments, insurance, tax write-offs, and personal finances. We have pre-planned our weekly schedules in Los Angeles and downloaded guidebooks detailing the activities we have to do while we live in the area. We have also had the opportunity to research many places on the East Coast in preparation for our 3 week trip to DC, Philadelphia, NYC, Boston, and New England. We are excited for all the adventures ahead of us and can’t want to set off on them.

We walked to work early this morning again to finish our research while the Internet was still working. We have discovered that the Internet usually does around lunchtime. After the Internet died and we are our lunch, we set off for the national library in New Town. We finished “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” earlier this week and decided that we should return to the library to exchange our books.

Although we go to the library with books in mind, we don’t always leave with those books. In Malawi, libraries are not organized but instead operate like a flea market. When you walk in the door you become a treasure hunter. You have no idea what lies before you, what you will find, and what you will leave with.  

We have found that it usually takes three long trips to the library to find the book you need. Today we found one of those books, Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela. We watched the movie before we came to Africa, but we decide that since we are visiting South Africa soon, it would be beneficial to understand the man behind the transformation of the country just a few short years ago. The book is huge, but I think we will manage to finish it before we leave in early August.

Time flies so quickly. We arrived in Africa nearly two months ago and are nearing our halfway point to the end of our time in beautiful Eastern and Southern Africa. I am so grateful for the lessons we have learned on this beautiful continent and for the wonderful memories that Andrew and I have been able to make together.

Andrew has been so patient with me during our entire time here in Africa. Sometimes I haven’t been the easiest person to live or travel with, but he has always been by my side cheering me on and helping me with whatever I need to do. I love you Andrew.

Today also marked a sudden change in plans. Gibson notified us that the data from Malingunde would not be arriving until the end of next week and the data from Kasungu would not be arriving until the following week. Originally we were planning on traveling to Zambia and Botswana late next week, which would be during the time that all the data was being collected. We made some quick calls (meaning over an hour trying to find the current numbers and connect to the right people) to the international bus station and Zambian embassy. That was all it took to decide that we will be leaving tomorrow for Zambia, a quick change of events.

We pulled out our flag covered backpacking packs, ziplock baggies, and timberlands. We packed our packs with the few items of clothing that have survived the wear and tear of Africa, refilled our travel-size toiletry bottles, and grabbed all our camera gear.  

We planned our grocery usage perfect as we used the last of our leftovers and produce for dinner this evening. We added the few snacks that we had to our bags, set our alarm for 4:00am and fell asleep at 10:00pm prepared for our journey in the morning.

When you backpack you learn to change your plans frequently without much hesitation or headache. We are off to Zambia tomorrow and we are so excited!

All our planning in our spare time this week was a blessing. Our route is detailed, well-planned, and it is going to be epic!

Lilongwe-Lusaka (markets & street food)

Lusaka-Livingstone (Victoria Falls & lions)

Livingstone-Gweta (Makgadigadi pans & meerkats)

Gweta-Maun (Okangava Delta & boat safari)

Maun-Caprivi Strip (Zambezi river & tree huts)

Caprivi Strip-South Luangwa (walking safari in the bush 

South Luangwa-Lilongwe (home)

In just shy of two weeks we will visit three new countries in Southern Africa. Let the adventures begin!

(Below: Andrew’s post)

While most of today was spent at the CBF office, I learned quite a lot today. 

Kylie and I have taken to researching when we can (ie. When internet exists at CBF) and it’s been a great opportunity to learn. Our latest projects include researching tax rates, home mortgages, and tax exemptions. It’s been a good opportunity to dive into important things we haven’t made time to learn till now. Funny how an abundance of time creates urgency around some of the yearly items everyone should be thinking about.

I’ve also been flipping through poor economics which not only has been a good opportunity to read, but a good opportunity to learn what economic factors influence poverty on a global basis. While it’s not something I would’ve chosen to read of my own will Abe accord (it was an assigned reading for Kylie I decided to pick up), it’s been quite enjoyable to get a development perspective on the world.

We even took time to stop by the lilongwe library today where we snagged a very doggy-eared copy of ‘The Long Walk To Freedom’ Nelson Mandela’s autobiography. I’m quite excited to read it before we go to South Africa!

The last comment I’ll make for the day is the importance of open and candid communication. In determining our plans for tomorrow (trip to Zambia) Kylie and I didn’t see eye to eye and we had to sort things out. All part of the learning process I guess! 

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