The Copperbelt

Happy 4th of July from the Zambian Copperbelt. The past three days have been beautiful and we are so sad we have to leave this wonderful area. I have learned more about copper and chimpanzees than I ever thought was imaginable over the past few days…
We stayed the night at Yuu and Roger’s home once again (even though they left yesterday for their vacation to Botswana they still allowed us to stay in their home). I have discovered that the worldwide travel network on couchsurfer is quite amazing…

Yuu and Roger’s house really felt like a home away from a home and we were very sad to leave this morning. I had small glimpses of what it will be like to live in a modern apartment in Los Angeles during our stay in their house.

We managed to find our way to the bus station, thanks to Andrew, and I walked the entire way with my heavy backpacking back with little complaint. We boarded the Power Tools bus at 10:30 and were on our way to Lusaka.

When we departed Lusaka we were prepared to meet up with Colin’s friend Rodney and stay the evening at his home. The plan was that we would attend church in the morning and take the early bus home to Lilongwe on Monday morning.

When we arrived in Lusaka, a series of events changed our minds. First, we went to the Kob bus stand to enquire about tickets to lilongwe on Monday to find that they did not run that bus route on Monday. Our only choice was to take the bus the following morning, which they had exactly two spots open. After a quick discussion we decided that would be the best option and we bought our tickets to Lilongwe. The bus left at 4:00am in the morning and it was already 8:00pm in the evening, so we decided that it would be best for us just to spend the night at the bus station.

Staying the night at a bus station in Africa may sound like a silly thing to do, but we had no hesitations about it. Lusaka is a very modern city and the main bus terminal operates like an airport with people traveling in and out at every time of the day. Within the center of the station there is an enclosed area with chairs surrounded with food stands, the place that late night travelers hang out.

We had made the decision to sleep at the bus station, when just outside the bus stand we saw Marissa, one of the BYU girls stationed in Malawi working on a nutrition program. Her and the other girls had traveled to Zambia around the same time as us, but we were told that they had gone home today. We found out that they had missed their bus this morning and had booked tickets for the bus the following morning. Andrew and I counted our blessings, we were taking the same bus home as they were. Marissa told us they were staying at a hostel with good wifi and close to the bus station. She had us convinced, so we changed our plans once again and decided to stay the night in the hostel lobbey (as the hostel was full).

Seeing all the girls and talking about their adventures was wonderful, and using the fast wifi was even more wonderful. I had no problem staying up until 3:00am when it was time to travel back to the bus station. When you are in Africa, you forget how productive you can be with good internet.

The day started and ended great and we are off to Lilongwe!

   
   

Reading material for the road. 

(Below: Andrew’s post)

Happy Fourth of July America! Kylie and I are celebrating the only way we know how I’m Africa… A bus ride to a new destination. 

The morning was pretty stressful for Kylie and I as our original plan to stay with a family in Lusaka fell through. Without a place to stay, we messaged our friend Colin to see if he’d have space for us. While we waited Kylie and I went back and forth about what we should do, how we should organize ourselves, and what the results would be. 

I’ve found that since Kylie and I are both strong personalities with two different methods of operating, we often have to tussle a bit before a consensus is reached. While it took time for us to cool, we made good time to the bus station – we decided that we would go to Lusaka and trust we could find a place.

It was the right decision. Colin came through and had found us a friend we could stay with. I was so grateful for all the help Colin’s given us this trip. Really, without him, we would’ve been much worse off. We boarded our bus for Lusaka and set off for the final couple legs of our journey (Kitwe to Lusaka and then Lusaka to Lilongwe).

Kylie and I must be lucky with buses or something, because right as our bus prepared to leave a Christian pastor climbed aboard and began to preach at the top of his lungs. We always seem to have the great fortune to have him stand next to us during these sermons. 

He preached for a good 15 minutes before he decided to walk throughout the bus collecting money. After a semi-brief closing prayer, he disembarked from the bus, restoring the silence. 

The peace gave Kylie and I the chance to read more of Nelson Mandela’s autobiography which we are both enjoying quite a bit. As we read about his experiences as a young man in Johanesburg, I came across a quote that spoke to me. Nelson Mandela as he pursued his law degree said he was greatly outmatched in intellect and ability by his peers. This was also true of cross country which he had taken a liking to. Instead of allowing natural ability to act as a hinderance, he said ‘I could compensate for a lack of natural aptitude with diligence and discipline.’ 

That spoke to me as I’ve often regarded that as my mantra when pursuing challenging goals. Even when I know I have the natural aptitude, I take the mindset that I’m behind and with my diligence can make up the difference. I believe it instills a strong work ethic and an ability to surmount seemingly impossible challenges. 

Nelson Mandela’s life around my same age is fascinating. The decisions he made (both good and bad) exemplify an underlying character that made him the strong anti-apartheid leader that he became. Couple that with a well written narrative, and you have a great read.

Upon our arrival in Lusaka (on time! It was only a 7 hour bus ride), we set about finding popcorn for Kylie, purchasing our tickets for Lilongwe, and contacting Rodney, the guy we were going to stay with. Turns out that the Lilongwe bus was going to leave tomorrow and we literally purchased the last couple seats. 

The bus ride was early, around 4:30 or so would be the boarding time, so Kylie and I made the decision that it would be more difficult to stay with Rodney than camp out at the bus station overnight. Kylie and I were excited at the prospect of camping out at the bus station, but then we saw Marissa, one of the BYU girls walking through the Lusaka bus station. We called to her and found out that the BYU girls were taking the same bus as we were! 

They were all staying at Lusaka backpackers and so we decided to tag along to spend some time with them… And use the hostels wifi. 

Running into Marissa turned out to be a huge blessing since Mike will be able to give us a ride once we get back to Lilongwe in the evening (no scary night walks for us!). Sometimes Heavenly Father answers your prayers before you ask them. Kylie and I would’ve been scrambling once we arrived in Lilongwe to get transport home. In addition to the fact that it would be very late to walk back with all our things. 

Kylie and I enjoyed camping out at Lusaka backpackers and the amazing wifi network they have. I was able to handle banking, emails, contacting my family, and a slew of other items that I had slated for Lilongwe. Both Kylie and I were extremely productive.

As the night wore on and 12am became 3am I decided to get at least an hours sleep. The journey today would be long and I’d need some strength.

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