Travel update: Saffron joined us in Zambia and we spent a few days in Lusaka, then after a huge shopping trip to buy household materials and dry goods to last us three months and a tearful goodbye with my mum, we moved into our accommodation at the school on Friday afternoon. When we arrived, we found that the key to the kitchen was broken so we couldn’t get in; luckily our new fridge/freezer (a luxury!) was in the living room so we were able to put the chilled food away. The rest of the afternoon was spent reorganising our bedroom, unpacking our own belongings, struggling with our mosquito nets (Saffron’s didn’t come with any hooks…) and looking around in dismay at all the dirt. It has the potential to be very nice, it’s just been neglected for a pretty long time so the dust and grime is fairly abundant.
By the time someone came to break off the door handle to the kitchen it was too late to cook or unpack the rest of our food as the light didn’t work; we were pretty fed up by this point so we just had juice and biscuits for dinner! And then the insects came. I’m not exaggerating when I say there were hordes of insects flooding in through every window (they all have glass shutters so big spaces around the edges) and crack conceivable; beetles, cockroaches, giant moths, spiders, hopping insects, you name it, it came… I think we used about two cans of insect killer!
The next day we cleaned out the entire kitchen and bathroom and were feeling much happier in the evening, until a large rat ran out of the bathroom. Even this didn’t dampen our spirits too much; we just locked our door and put a sponge in the rat shaped hole and settled down for the night. Unfortunately, the rat had other plans… It woke us up four times scratching away at our door, and although we scared it off by throwing things at the door and spraying insect repellent underneath (at one stage in our delirium I think we barked at it to make it think there was a dog…), each time it came back just as we were falling asleep again. We were fairly exhausted the next day!
Other problems we’ve encountered included the washing machine being attached to the only tap in our kitchen sink so no running water there, the toilet didn’t flush, power/water cuts and the rat(s) appear to have chewed something underneath the washing machine so it is unusable as it floods our kitchen with several inches of water. On the bright side, the plumber came and fixed the first two issues (well now the toilet flushes sometimes which is better than nothing), and we got some wire mesh nailed around our windows to stop the insects. This was especially important in the kitchen as the window is broken permanently open so we couldn’t cook in there after dark because of the insects even if we had had a light, which we fortunately do now. We’ve been working very hard with cleaning and sorting everything out but there’s still a lot to do, and it’s fair to say we were very much looking forward to starting teaching on Monday, but in Africa things often do not go as planned – more on that soon!