Monday, January 25, 2010

January- An Auspicious Month

It seems that January’s bring much adventure, excitement, & wonder to me & my hubby.

January 2008 saw our trip to New Delhi for Alvin’s ACL repair.
January 2009 Alvin & I were married- we had lots of family & friends around this time last year

And not to disappoint, January 2010 has brought news that Alvin & I will be shipping off back to my motherland in a couple of months. It will be very hard to leave Lusaka (that’s an understatement but what else can I say without getting all sentimental); it’s been my home for over five years- but different opportunities are knocking at our door & we can’t turn down a couple of years back in Edmonton. For now, we’re focussing on all the positives, but as departure time draws nearer I’m sure there’ll be a couple of posts describing what we’ll miss.

For today I thought I’d post photos:

First, the basketball cemetery- ooooooh, I’m so glad Alinafe was with me when I saw the court because my misery turned into laughter when he saw the expression on my face. It will be resolved…

Second, it was my first wedding anniversary yesterday so I made a little shrine to celebrate. It has been a heck of a year for us…we’ll be so grateful for plenty more years together!

Third, I’ve taken Clara’s suggestion to take some more video clips. Saturday was a heck of a basketball day. Alvin’s team beat out the Copperbelt team in an overtime duel to make it to the National Championships. Alvin’s team- Napsa Hurricanes with face the spry University of Zambia team- the Pacers. It’s a best of three series set to start next weekend- if these videos don’t give you a feel for the game I’ll try again next weekend. Fun fun!

In this video the good guys (blue) are trying to run down the clock because they’ve got the lead.

Here, the videographer forgot her job entirely; as Napsa fumbled to tie up the match the camera inched it’s way down down down…cracked me up- not sure the effect will translate? Let me know- I hate when my blog reads “0 comments”*wink*

Monday, January 18, 2010

A minor dilemma…a major heartbreak for me

Another reason for reflection this weekend surfaced when I received a phone call from one of my fellow coaches. There has been much drama in 2009 regarding our use of the court at Northmead basic school, most of it I did not report because we thought all issues had been amicably resolved. Unfortunately, the phone call assured me that the hoops had been uprooted. I have not yet had the heart to go myself & see the result; I just cannot bear the thought. That court has been home to me for several years, we have grown together in countless ways. It started with one hoop and a metal backboard. Then a donation & visit from my cousin inspired fixing that hoop. Then another group came in & put up a full court to our amazement. We’ve spent many a Saturday patching the potholes that appear during every rainy season. We’ve dug trenches to keep the court from flooding. We’ve even spent hours slashing the grass (there’s no ride-a-mower at this school) - plenty of us armed with machetes to take down the tall grass one metre at a time. All of this comes to end in 2010. The school has accused one of my player’s of vandalism (which he did NOT do) and we agreed to give money to the caretaker to replace the broken light though it had later been proven that none of my players were responsible for the vandalism. On that weak accusation the school has chosen to remove the hoops, promising to put them outside the school walls (I’ll believe that when I see it). The truth of the matter is a teacher stands to make some money from establishing a handball team, so she has wanted to take over the courts for several months. I suspect she’s got some money to gain. The heartbreak for me is that this decision has been made without consultation with us (the coaches/ players of the community team) and has been done with no regard for the children.
I feel rather shameful writing this when Haiti is experiencing utter misfortune. Everything seems cosmetic when compared to the situation in that nation…but I can’t help but feel disappointment. Forgetting students/ children at an institution that is supposed to be providing opportunities to youth is shameful. I am crestfallen. But rather than feeling sorry for myself & our situation I have been reminded by a couple of my players, and the same coach who called with the bad news- that it’s just a blip on the radar. These guys are already coming up with suggestions for how we move on from here- there’s no question of disbanding. I am completely bolstered by these guys, and hope that the personal failure, hopelessness & anger I’m feeling will be overrun when we all meet together on Wednesday. I just hope that I don’t have a break down when I see the naked courts. Honestly, it feels like an end to an era; an end that I’m not entirely equipped to deal with just yet.

“The same old”- an epiphany

I had a thought when I was preparing chicken on Saturday…or was it Friday? As I was removing the feet, gizzards & neck from inside the dressed chicken I realized that dear Tom would be shocked. This is not ‘normal’ for a Canadian…I don’t remember ever preparing chicken back home like this. Maybe I should ask my Gran if that’s how they sell turkey- I’ve never prepared one. To make this random paragraph a little more illuminating I took a couple photos. I especially like how grotesque the feet look. Muhahahaah.

Then I realized how odd it would sound if I told my friends back home that I was going to my mother-in-laws on Sunday to oversee the negotiations for my sister-in-laws “lobola” i.e. dowry. What?? In this beautiful but patriarchal society, there is still a “bride price”. A man’s family must pay the woman’s family for his bride. I feel that the sense of ownership that used to be associated with this practice is no longer prevalent (at least for these city-fied families…I’d venture to guess this opinion wouldn’t stand in rural or under-educated areas). It’s not like my sister-in-law is being sold into another family, but to me it seems more like a formal joining of both families. I could have it all wrong but I realized this in not the first I’ve attended and I never even thought it odd that Alvin & I should attend*grin*.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Laughing out loud

What's more fun than sitting in your office laughing out loud? I must confess a couple of these comics have circulated the office & I love hearing colleagues chuckling at how close (or how far) our own experiences are in the challenging world of work. Whoever is responsible for creating
"Dilbert" should be awarded for minimizing workplace stress. Oy oy

I especially love this one!

Otherwise there's not too much report:

- I bought ridiculously expensive floss last night- $6- imagine! But it's nice & minty & I love it
- Alvin's team won their quarter final basketball game on Saturday so they will be progressing to the next level in Zambia's National Championships
- I'm on Book # 6 Harry Potter*grin*
- I tried my first ever "Zumba" class last week. Me + aerobics + dance = pure comedy. Can't wait til I can attend again!

I do believe I'm enjoying a couple of more days in the calm before the storm...

Monday, January 04, 2010

Here we are, 2010 already

I’m back in the office; ready for the New Year. I’ve had a lovely few days of relaxation, visiting with family & friends, and yes- reading Harry Potter*grin*. We went for a lovely New Year’s Day braai & left the camera in the car the whole day- whoops! So the photos below are from Christmas & Boxing Day festivities. As per the past three years- or is it four- Christmas day dinner is hosted at Alvin’s Grandmother’s farm. It’s sort of a big ol’ potluck thing- lots of fun & laughter. I did a bit of my annual baking- pecan squares, pineapple upside down cake. I tried a new recipe for 'thumbprint cookies'. They turned out well but didn't do too much for my taste buds.

I must be a pretty terrible aunt because my niece was given to me to look after only once she was fast asleep*grin*. But Baby Muttah saved me from having to wash the dishes so I took up the role happily!

Built-in family entertainment: "MJ" came by his nickname quite honestly, Mutale is always willing to put on a show (he also danced at our wedding, which was a highlight for our guests)!

Alvin & I were invited out to the Longwe-Clarke’s for Boxing Day drinks. What with plenty of food, drink, babies & an extended croquet lawn there was lots of fun to be had! Here are the babes, Ndinawe & Nawiti (both have featured on my blog several times)*smile*

Nawiti kept looking over her shoulder at me & releasing the funniest giggle from the depths of her tubby tummy- well she had me near hysterics which caused all the other ladies to laugh as well. She is a character!

The girls, or shall I say 'the mothers'?

It’s hard to believe 2009 has zipped past already, there's hardly been enough time to sit back, reflect, and be thankful for all the wonder 2009 has brought. I probably won’t make any resolutions until the end of January- when I’m hoping to take the remainder of my leave days. Fingers crossed we’ll start 2010 with a Zambian road trip- wish you could join us Marty & Pat (that was a road trip to end all road trips)*giggling*.