Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Our Return to Zambia

We have been in Zambia only six days. Time seems to pass at a different rate now… a bit slower. I guess that is because it takes so long to accomplish things here. It is hard to get used to the change of pace. We seem to always be rushing around at home and here we just plod along.

For the first four days here we didn’t see any sun. It was cloudy, dark and cool as it rained a lot. From what everyone says the whole month of January has been like that. Many crops have been washed away or rotted in the ground. It gives you a different concept of a “rainy season.” Last year we experienced cloudbursts often daily, but with sunshine in between. The sun finally came out yesterday and we have enjoyed very beautiful weather. Zambia is really green from all the moisture. Such a contrast to the total brown dryness we see from May until December. If you could just spread some of the rains out over the dry season it would really change things here…but then weather is something we cannot control. It is so constant here that even with gray clouds in July the people say with perfect knowledge it will not rain. Sometime in early April the faucets in the sky are turned off until late in the year and NEVER even leak a bit! When they eventually do turn on, it is as if you used a power sprayer instead of a garden sprinkler!

So the first order of business is to get vehicles in safe working order. One side affect of the rains is a worsening of the roads. Pot holes are everywhere and you must proceed very carefully down the streets. Out in the rural areas the result is mud…lots of it. Bald tires don’t move a vehicle very far in mud! Unfortunately, in the midst of a project, if the roads are too muddy, then the trucks can’t come in and do the work…hence the rainy season can bring a construction project to a complete halt. The brickmaking project requires the truck for the moving and screening of the dirt. Mud does not screen very well and is VERY heavy to move! The water tower project got started, but when the truck got stuck, so did the progress. In spite of all of our efforts to be efficient and accomplish our goals within a certain time period, we still are at the mercy of Mother Nature!

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