Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A rather disorganized end-of-year

I’m back in the office after a couple of days off; it has been a wonderful few days! Alvin & I enjoyed ourselves so much that we left the camera at our friends place on boxing day…so festive photos will have to wait until we retrieve the camera. I’ve decided I’ll post a few photos from our closing youth basketball league tournament that happened on December 19 & 20th. And of other note, I’m partaking in a Harry Potter marathon. When thinking about having a few days off, I thought what better way to enjoy some down time than reading the Harry Potter books one through seven. I’ve already made it through the first two books and movies*hahahah*. I think the only person who doesn’t think I’m a bit mad is the colleague who lent me all 7 books…& could only find 4 of the movies in her house. Awesome.

More basketball photos- surprise surprise*grin*

Here's the team that scooped the u18 title- Magic. My team had a brilliant game against them in the semi-final but lost by a basket- it was a tough loss. But I met with my team a few days later& I think the loss made us all sit back & reflect- I was so inspired by my team & how they're planning to learn from our mistakes in 2009. I predict that 2010 will be a great year for BSA basketball. But I couldn't resist putting up these celebratory faces...

BSA did win the under 12 division though...here's the notorious "Boo boo" collecting the prize.

My umbrella was used at the 'table' the whole weekend. Only took me five years to figure out how useful umbrellas can be under the intense Zambian sun*smile*

Here's an under 12 BSA player...I fell in love with Noah over the weekend because he cried and cried and cried his little eyes out when our under 18s lost. Finally a banana distracted him long enough to dry his eyes.

Mulemwa was coaching his under 15 squad- they also lost in the semi-finals. Also to Magic...

Close-up of my dear friend Mwape Konsolo. He runs the Youth League & is fiercely committed to youth basketball & sports development. He's one special guy- I wish you could all know him

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

BSA Basketball Year End Awards

On Friday we held our annual basketball awards- what a day! We (that's me, Alinafe & Mulemwa) wanted to make the day special since we've had quite a tumultuous season. The whole purpose is to recognize our athletes, thank our supporters, and consider our achievements over the past year. The coaching team was supported by our family members & friends to get some snacks & soft drinks for the players- & believe me- the kids were excited about that! Thanks to Cory & Sue for the BCHS gear, and to Ingy for the basketball top- the kids are always excited to receive a little something for their efforts.

The event started out with our under 12 team playing a game against our under 15 team. These kids are all good friends & a couple of the supporters who showed up were amazed at the skills the little ones have already attained.

The big excitement (& not only for me- but for all the players) was having several former BSA players come to the grounds to play a game against the current under 18 team. The younger boys were especially looking forward to playing against those players who play in Zambia's National basketball league, and of course against their coach (not me, Mulemwa)*smile*. And no one was disappointed- everyone participated and enjoyed visiting with old friends, teammates, and neighbours.

Here are the former BSA players warming up on their old court.

ChiChi had us all in stitches because he wasn't feeling so fit...he claims he'll start running again!

Mulemwa "Coach Tony"- enjoying a break from the game.

Mengo, a former captain.

Kawana, my other former captain!

Under 12 player Lawrence "Joli" ref-ing the big game. Priceless.

Here's Mubanga "Bangi", current under 18 player. He also received an award for being the player with the most team spirit- he's brought so much energy and excitement to the team; all of the coaches & players have appreciated his contributions to the season.

Here I am (yes, looking very short & wide) next to my former players. I do stay in touch with several of these kids, but enjoyed their excitement to come back and play together. I think it will be something we will continue to do as more players move on...

After the games we had a brief certificate & awards-giving ceremony.

Our attentive crowd.

The distribution of certificates for the players. Here is Teza who also received an award for being a most consistent player.

Moses could not wipe the grin of his face. Our 12-year-old best offensive player- a young boy incredibly committed to his team.

Evans "Kilo" Kalumba was proudly named BSA's 2009 Player of the Year. He had an outstanding year starting out with the under 12 team, but managing to compete in the next division during the league. All players and other coaches in the league were thrilled to hear that he has been recognized for all his hard work. Better watch out for this kid- he is a star!

After the hoopla all the kids enjoyed chatting, eating, & sippin' on their soft drinks. It feels incredible to sign off another basketball year on a high note!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Recommended reading- 2009

Many of you know I’m an avid reader, and being that access to a good library in Lusaka is not possible, I have been exposed to all sorts of books. (It’s fun picking through people’s libraries and lending & borrowing at work- we’ve had lots of coffee discussions about various books. Though I must confess I’ve never read so many murder mystery/ thrillers…at least there are a few good British ones anyway*grin*). I’m still trying to figure out how to frame this so let’s see how it goes.

Must reads (in my humble opinion):

The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society, Mary Ann Shafer & Annie Barrows; simply a joy to read

How Green was my Valley, Richard Llewellyn -Beautiful

The Book of Negroes, Lawrence Hill - what can one say about this much-talked about book? I love historical fiction*grin*

Buckingham Palace: District Six, Richard Rive. A laugh-out-loud satire on the implementation of apartheid law in South Africa, also shockingly sad

Other recommends:

Sing them Home, Stephanie Kallos- not too sure why I loved this book about death, but I did.

The White Tiger, Aravind Adiga- another shocking satire.

Emma, Jane Austen- always have to read a couple of classics per year, no?

A Long Way Gone, Ishmael Beah- boy soldier, heart wrenching but worth it!

The only reason I’m able to remember these books is because my colleague (who was fascinated to see me with a different novel every other week) suggested I keep track of just how many books I get through in a year. My current tally is 48, maybe I’ll reach 50 by the end of the year (I'm sinking my teeth into another PD James- hahah)! Oh, and I do not record all the school reading I do (which is another reason my recommends are all fiction…sorry to those who prefer non-fiction). Let me know what you think of these if you’ve read them or are inspired to pick one up that you haven’t yet read- I'd love to hear your opinions!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009


I am still a student pursuing my Masters degree - WOOT! I have received my unofficial grades and it looks like I passed both my courses (that includes the big ol’ research proposal I failed last year). I’m excited to register for my final 4 courses- holla!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Another 2009 Wedding

Al's young brother also decided to get hitched this year- so here we are at another family wedding. It was a beautiful day & the bride & groom were simply gorgeous- you can confirm that by viewing the photos below*wink*

Here's the wedding line-up just after Chisanga & Ethel exchanged vows. Best man Makuza (left) & Maid of Honour Charity (right).

The newly weds posing with their mothers

At the photo shoot baby Grace Mutale can't be left out, the couple's beautiful baby.

I loved this shot- gender equity right- why does the husband always have to carry the wife?!

Later on at the reception there were lots of folks to catch up with. Here's my niece Sasha Ndanji with her father Sam (left) & her uncles Perry (centre) and Dale (right).

Chish & Ethel opening the dance floor.

Here I am on the dance floor with my lovely hubby.

I was also very excited to show off my new dress. My good friend Towani has gone into fashion design & this is what I would call the "beauty of globalization" (though some of you may disagree). Towa fused the high Asian colour with beautiful African fabric...for a white girl to wear- hahaha! It's gorgeous though, I hope I'll be able to get her some more sales because she does have some great designs...

Monday, November 30, 2009

How to start my Monday...

What better way to start a Monday than with homemade carrot cake & cream cheese icing for breakfast? I’ve set myself up for a brilliant week after pouting last week over these stupid cold sores (which are looking much better today I am happy to report).

I just have to say that I went out for a run Sunday morning & the digital sign at Addis round-a-bout read “08h08- 27 degrees Celsius”. It was almost enough knowledge to send me straight back home but I was motivated to tackle some stairs…and no rain. This is almost unheard of- usually this time of year when the temperatures reach the high 30s (someone told me it reached mid 40s on Saturday) we are guaranteed a good rain to cool things down. Ah well, I suspect the weather will change again very soon & we’ll get our rainy season. The clouds are rolling in as I write…

a) I am composing a blog about my 2009 reads so look out for that one,
b) It’s December tomorrow- I can hardly believe how fast 2009 has sped by, and
c) there's a big family wedding planned for Saturday- can’t wait to share photos!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

What could be worse than a cold sore?

Any ideas?
How 'bout two cold sores on the same darn lip?! My bottom lip is decidedly swollen and I am highly irritable. How unfair.

If it gets really bad I'll take photos & post them- muhahaha.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Driving in Zambia

Could you imagine spending a night in police cells in the heart of Lusaka for running a red light on a Sunday evening? I’m sure glad my Pop got pulled over in broad daylight and was able to pay the fine on the spot with no questions asked…

22h00 last night, I’m about to jump into the tub when Alvin says “Dress up, we’re going for a ride”. Turns out our good friend had been arrested by the police and thrown into cells. We were asked to pick up her vehicle because she didn’t want the car to get vandalised overnight. Unfortunately for us (& her) it was too late to visit her to pick up the keys, and there was no one working who could accept the payment of the fine. All this for running a red light on a Sunday evening- if you can believe it.

I’m sorry- I think this is all utterly fantastic. If you’ve never driven in Zambia before, the road laws are merely a suggestion (unless you’re caught without a seat belt &/or speeding- right Pop?) Muhahah. Ok, but seriously- traffic cops generally work a 9am-5pm Monday to Saturday; which means a lot of people do terribly illegal things when they know the police will not be on the street. For example, on my early morning runs I will be accompanied by a great number of overloaded trucks (many that do not have brakes) that ferry farm vegetables into the markets for sale. These trucks are most obviously not roadworthy, which is why they transport goods in the early hours- when they are almost guaranteed no trouble from traffic police. There is also a serious problem with drinking and driving. Every weekend the accident rates must go through the roof. On my Saturday morning runs I have seen many a vehicle in the ditch with men sheepishly calling their wives to help bail them out. I actually detest being in cars at night because there are generally no street lights (it’s dark my friends- dark) and there are often recklessly drunk people behind the wheel (in fact, it is not uncommon to find taxi drivers with a bottle of Castle or Mosi between their legs- & that’s on any given day).

All that to say that I feel my friend’s arrest and mandatory night in cells is horrible; if the manpower is there to make an arrest, shouldn’t there also be a person who can accept the fine? I spoke to her this morning & she was giggling so I’m assuming that all is well & we’ll have good fuel for stories this week!

Oh the drama.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Baby Grace Mutale

At least somebody appreciates my early Christmas decorations*hahahah*

My niece came over for a visit on Saturday afternoon & was mesmerized by the Christmas lights, what a cutie.

Otherwise, the centre-piece Santa that I adore has been much ridiculed. My sister-in-law thought it was a mop at first & couldn't figure out why I should have it hanging up...and Kolo got the giggles as to how anyone would come up with a white, dread-bearded Santa. But I love it- I'm into the Christmas spirit early and it seems that the only supporters are baby Grace & Alaina*wink*

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A rain for Gran

I’ve been smiling since the rain started coming down last night- our first big storm of the rainy season. Lightning lit up the house & thunder rumbled so loud I jumped out of the tub lickety split. It was the kind of night my Gran taught me to savour. Happily- after more than two weeks in hospital- Gran has made it back to her little pad in Saskatoon & reports have it that she’s doing well. I’m enjoying the cool wet day for the both of us.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Bad ponytail day

I know we’ve all had bad hair days, and my reliable solution is always to throw my hair back into a ponytail. Ponytails have unfailingly been my “go to” hairstyle for years. Until yesterday; it seemed that no amount of tugging, combing, begging, and straightening would make my ponytail look normal. I looked like a blonde sumo wrestler for the entire day- horrors!

But I have chalked up the minor hair crisis to the weather. Seemingly overnight the reliable dry heat (that I so adore) has evaporated into the sticky humid heat that I dread. (I have not forgotten my prairie upbringing)*grin*. The heat was nearly intolerable yesterday and then out of blue skies fell a light shower. Unfortunately, when there’s no heavy downpour the light rain tends to cause more heat- the water seems to rebound off the dry ground rising in a steamy mist. I contemplated skipping yoga when I was drenched in my own sweat during my 10 minute walk from work to class. I was dreading ‘hot yoga’ Zambian style- sorry cousin Fitzy, I just don’t see the joy of performing yoga tricks in a sauna. But off I went and I enjoyed class nonetheless.

And today is a new humid day and I’m beginning to wonder if rainy season is around the corner…

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Neon sunglasses and jerseys with numbers

I think a nomadic Canadian left these neon sunglasses at my flat once upon a time. I finally cleared them out- Ben happened to be the lucky recipient of the day. Such a cutie.

Then, eons ago a supporter back home in St. Albert donated some numbers that could be ironed to basketball jersey's. My star Alinafe convinced a friend who works in the screen printing business to adhere the numbers to our lovely jerseys. They have debuted...and brought a loss*hahahah*. Despite losing, we still had a great day.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Rhubarb crumble

I was so exited the other day. I’d gone into this grocery store that I don’t usually visit because it’s on the other side of town (I had to pass through there for work)- and lucky me- I found rhubarb! In the five years I’ve lived in Lusaka I have not once come across rhubarb. I scooped it up without a second thought and prepared a delicious rhubarb crumble that evening. There is nothing quite like rhubarb, is there?

Other tidbits that may be of general interest now that I’m not spending most of my evenings studying

- I finally got my grubby hands on Dambisa Moyo’s acclaimed book Dead Aid. Good read, pertinent to my work with CIDA, and only a few times I caught myself saying “Ok, that’s a bit of a stretch”; I think it would be good “Development 101” material. It does support my recent desire to go corporate though, hopefully as soon as this fiscal year is over…fingers crossed.

- My outdoor yoga class continues to challenge & stimulate. I was thinking I should take some photos- it’s a rather romantic setting, especially when hanging upside-down when the sun is setting*grin*

- There is a fuel crisis in Zambia- has been for a couple of weeks now- so I am spending more time walking/ cycling than I had in the previous months. It’s been lovely. And the iPod has become ‘well-used’ (I may have mentioned to a few of you that I don’t think some of these toys are made to withstand Zambian heat- the earphones have been melting & the cool running band that Tommy bought for me is quickly losing the Velcro)…but the music still plays so all’s golden.

- My hubby is now busy studying for exams, thus all the photos of me with the girlfriends. Surely when he’s done we’ll throw a small co-ed party

- I’ve indulged in my first mangoes of the season- sorry Carly!!! Deeelicious

And my fave Dilbert comics. Does any body else find them as amusing as I do? Perhaps I should stop posting them, but they make me giggle & then I want to share them*sigh*
Hmm. Perhaps there’s not too much that’s interesting- signing off.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

1st birthday

Well me & my two girlfriends who do not have children were rather horrified to learn that we're "at the age" where we're invited to our friend's children's birthdays*muhahaha*. That being said Laurane throws one heck of a party & we had a blast on Saturday afternoon. Here are a couple of my fave shots on Tafika's first birthday.

The birthday girl with In'utu

Chikwanda, Kolo & Nawiti- & yes, that's a chicken bone in baby's hand*hahah*

Sportswomen- yay!

There was a jumping castle & a little pool that provided much entertainment on a smokin' hot afternoon (for the children I mean)*grin*

Vicki with her daughter Ndinawe beside Tafika & her aunt.

Proud Mama.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I’m ba-ack- anybody miss me?

It has been wonderful having a few days off work (despite the fact that most of the time I had to study). I feel so good- & I hope I can remember this feeling even when the results come back*hahah*. I’m happy to report that post-examination I jumped into a nearby pool; only learning later that is was 41 degrees Celsius while swimming. Incredible. My hubby & I spent the evening in the air conditioned luxury of the movie theatre*hahaha*. Though with every good holiday there has to be a bit of drama...

I tucked myself in on Tuesday night after a day full of walking, writing the exam, swimming etc- ready for a fitful rest. Unfortunately my deep sleep was interrupted with panicked knocking and shouting on my door. I pushed Alvin into action to find our security guard shouting warnings about thieves coming into the yard with guns, looking to steal a vehicle. Panic set in. We were on the phone to the security company and the police within minutes. Shortly thereafter Alvin went to the window to see if he could see any movement in the yard. Meanwhile the guard comes back hammering and shouting and fearing for his life. There happened to be two guards working that night so the non-shouting (non-hysterical guard) is gesturing to Alvin that actually the man is mad- there are no thieves in the yard.


We lay back in bed to hear the man start wailing- crying for his mother, shouting to the gods not to let him die here in this strange yard- at least let him die in his compound. He is literally inches away from me- through the wall & window- on my patio. This is even after Alvin’s stern warning for the man to quiet down because we all had to work in a couple of hours. After about thirty minutes the woman who lives in the flats above us sticks her head out her window and shames the guard into quiet…very briefly. We waited for the security company or the police to show up & take this crazy man from our yard. We waited until 03h30 and still no sign of help- but finally the mad guard fought off his demons and sat quietly.

Complete disaster.

Alvin & I were giggling most of yesterday at how ridiculous the whole situation was (I was thanking my lucky starts that I’d completed writing my final- I would’ve been a wreck going into that one without my sleep). And now I’m back in the office, sipping strawberry tea, thrilled to not be a student again until next year!

Hope everyone (ok Canadians) enjoyed the Thanksgiving weekend. I did muster the energy to whip up a batch of perogies yesterday afternoon…maybe I’ll roast a chicken next weekend*wink*.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Over & Out

Well I'll be signing off for a few days, heading underground for this upcoming exam...I do always find it refreshing to refrain from the joys of cyberspace for a few days. Wishing all my Canadian folk a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend. My dinner with all the trimmings will have to happen after the long weekend.

Let me sign off with another amusing Dilbert comic. Catch up with all of ya'll when I'm back.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

This time of year

I love nothing more than the 37 degree Celsius heat we’ve been experiencing in Lusaka. For whatever reason, it doesn’t oppress me like it does some- I feel exhilarated & excited about the options for fun in the sun. Perhaps it was my Edmonton upbringing- each warm day was spent outside for fear that the next day would bring snow*laughing*. Even after five years in Lusaka the appreciation hasn’t worn off. The days are bathed in a purple haze from the blooming jacarandas - breathtaking.

Dear Kupela held a farewell dinner party on Friday evening- here we are looking b-e-a-u-tiful*grin*. Laurane, Kups, me, & Vicky...that was after dinner & a couple of drinks.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Lil’ rant

I’m not too sure who’s leading the latest charge in “the fight against malaria”- the “African Leaders against Malaria Alliance” or the “international donor community”…but whoever it is – I’m disappointed in the plan. Imagine $3 billion to distribute 240 billion insecticide-treated bed nets. Let’s be frank- that is putting a band aid on a sore that won’t heal.

Let me give my humble abode as an example- the area in which I reside has a terrible drainage system, meaning mosquitoes breed in the swampy heat and then infest homes in the surrounding area. Putting up a mosquito bed-net will protect me during the night when I sleep (providing that it does not have any holes and that my limbs do not end up outside the net- which tends to happen with me). Keep in mind I have a particularly small family by Zambian standards- I think the average household is about 6 people- so how many bed nets are they distributing per household? And will they still be effective if four kids are kicking up the sheets in one bed? Also- bed nets do not dissuade mosquitoes from biting me when I sit and eat my dinner in the evening, or watch TV- shall I move the bed net into the sitting room? I suppose I’m so upset because I’m looking at the amount of money that is being put into bed nets- $3 billion, that money could develop drainage systems throughout the whole of Zambia and provide a much longer term solution-no? Mosquito bed nets remind me of nylons- they’re good for about one wear before they get a run. I may sound a little cynical but I’d like to understand who’s collecting the $3 billion dollars for supplying the nets.


Disclaimer: I am not suggesting that I have the solutions, I am merely suggesting that there are alternative measures that should be considered in the 'fight against malaria'. (Apart from drainage systems screens on windows and doors make a big difference, I also have heard that Cuba has a system of residual spraying that has stopped malaria in its tracks. Not that I believe in chemicals, but I don't believe that 240 million bed nets will significantly decrease the instances of malaria)*sigh*. Like I said- I'm not an expert- I spend most of my evenings wearing long clothing to avoid the inevitable mosquito bites- but I guess I just want to throw out an argument to show that these 'good' and 'noble' ideas are often not the best solutions for development.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The girls from work

Last weekend I had some girlfriends over & this weekend one of my former colleagues hosted a wee luncheon for the girls from the office- what fun!

Here are my dear friends Alison (left) & Priscilla. Priscilla & I got for yoga together- & Alison is promising to join us*grin*

Here I am with Priscilla's lovely friend Patricia

Luckily- mid-way through the event, I remembered it was Miriam's birthday on the 28th- so rather than bringing the cake out without any pomp or ceremony- we used edible candles (carrot sticks) & sang to the birthday girl. What a laugh.

Here's Alison's beautiful daughter Nandi helping Miriam to cut the cake.

And as is custom at any Zambian event (or so it seems to me)- the dance floor opens*grin*