I feel like it been forever since I was in the village. I had IST for 2 weeks in Lusaka where we got to do the amazing perm gardening workshop and gallivant around Lusaka to our heart desire. I ate enough Indian for a lifetime, saw every movie playing, danced the night away, and spend every Kwacha I had. It was good times. After all that I bussed myself down to Livingstone with some other volunteers to meet with my mom.
I got to spend a night at the Jolly boys hostel first – gotta say I give it 5 stars. It a really fun, low-key place. "I never knew a morning in Africa when I woke up and I was not happy" adores the archway, I think its very telling. Complete with a cushion pit, tree house smoking room thing, and plenty of interesting international travelers passing through all for only 15$ - I'd recommend it one hundred percent to low budget travelers in Livingstone. My mother has a bit more refined taste and staying in a bunk bed with hundreds of 20somthings didn’t appeal. So we headed for the Royal Livingstone (the most expensive place money buy). I have to admit I was a bit uncomfortable with the celebration of colonialism so alive and well. However being situated on the Zambezi riverside in the middle of a national wildlife park is beautiful. And you do get very close and personal with the wildlife, as if it was totally normal sometimes Zebra and Giraffes will walk by your dinner table. At Livingstone of course the star of the show is Victoria Falls. We not only toured on foot but took to the air in a helicopter ride that made my mom desire to be a pilot. It was beautiful to see. We used the rivers closeness our advantage and enjoyed a sunset Zambezi river cruise (nicknamed the booze-cruise), which safely and comfortably carried us over water teeming with hippos, crocs and other animals. If that wasn’t enough, I had my own adventures at the falls. I worked up my courage to go to the devils pool, which turned out more complicated than I thought. I was met at the top of the water falls by a pushy young guy who told me how to get the devils pool, long story short to get to the pool you have to climb/wade through the top of the falls for about 30 mins with the possibility of flying off the edge to your death at every step. Due to the water level we gave up halfway and just hung out at the edge of the falls which was beautiful and a bit terrifying. I found of later that my guide was illegal and that apparently the pool isn’t open for another few weeks – whoops. After that death defying experience, I felt I hadn’t really put my life on the line enough this week and headed to the bunji jump on the bridge between Zambia and Zimbabwe. There are no words I’ll just show you pics and the video.
You’d think we would be done after all that right? Nope! We then took a plane over to one of the most popular parks in Zambia. We stayed at the fun and funky Flatdogs, which had the most enthusiastic and cool staff ever. This park was fantastic, offering 2 game drives a day, which lets you see the diurnal and nocturnal animals. We saw all 4 of the big 5, which live in the park. We even saw 2 leopards in one night. Our guide was spectacular, and the things he spotted were amazing. I think the most memorable was the chameleon, at night in a far away tree. Staying at the camp was a fun experience, since you are just across the river from the park you sometimes get visitors. At night the hippos come out of the water and block the path back to your tent, during the day its elephants. Which was extremely surreal and a bit scary – thank god for the watchmen that guide you around the camp!
The final part of our vacation was a quick trip to my site. It was really nice to have my mom meet all the villagers and teachers I’m working with. She did very well, in the village and actually seemed to enjoy doing the chores. Unfortunately this was only one day, so at 5 am we headed out to Ndola to get her on her flight. Because of lack of transport we had to hitch a bit, which I have to say was fun to introduce my mom to. Surprisingly I got her to Ndola on time and got me back before dark… although the last 50miles took 5 hours - that's Zambian transport for you.
Vacation is done-zo, time to head back to the village. Its a bit daunting, after all this time around Americans you have to go back to being completely on your own. I love my village, but no matter how much I integrate I'm still an American in the middle of the bush. So its takes some adjustment, and patience. Wish me luck!
See more pics under the picture tab.