Settling into Zambian life

We caught up with Sara, our Assistant Project Manager at our Centre for Excellence, to see how she has been getting on since she arrived in Zambia…

“A month has gone already! Where did that go?

I remember landing in Lusaka after the 16-hour journey, my heart was beating fast in my chest. It was the kind of feeling that you get when you are on a theme park ride and the ride is about to start. You are scared and exited; you are thinking ‘What have I done?’ but you still want to do it!

After anxiously passing through passport check I collected my luggage and walked towards the exit. I immediately recognized Tasila, our Group Coordinator, with a warm and welcoming smile! It was a massive relief. After greetings, she handed me a much-needed, cold bottle of water and we walked towards our taxi.

On the journey from the airport to my accommodation, we passed various stunning and colourful trees. These trees spread all around the city adding effortless beauty.

I remember in my first week finding the roads in and around Lusaka quite frightening at night-time, very dark and many are quite narrow. It is difficult to see pedestrians and many cross the road whenever they feel like it. I remember thinking to myself ‘How am I going to drive here at night?! It’s madness’. Funnily enough, now after a month here, I have got used to it. It’s not so frightening anymore although I am still very cautious.

On my first night in Lusaka there was a power cut, and I have since discovered that this is quite a regular occurrence! Thank you to my colleague Alison for putting a torch on the list of essentials items to take with me!

In addition to the daily power cuts, I also had a problem with my electricity meter so ended up with no electricity for 48-hours until Zesco (Zambia’s state-owned power company) figured out what the problem was. Those 48- hours tested my resilience and endurance, but I feel that I passed successfully!

I am enjoying all the new experiences that a new country brings. I have been introduced to ‘nshima’, maize with water, with some sort of stew, or relish as it is called here. I was told that I need to eat it with my hands which I did; it was a messy but very tasty experience!

And last week it was my birthday; thank you to the Build It team for celebrating with me!

In my next blog, I will be writing about all the work that I have been getting involved with. It’s been fantastic to see the Centre for Excellence and our community projects, and to meet some of our young trainees!”