Newsletter (October 29, 2009)

Dear all, Hope all of you are well.  We arrived back safely last Thursday (22 October).  We had a very good time in Croatia.  This is a very beautiful country with breathtaking scenery.  We mainly travelled along the Adriatic coast from Zadar down to Dubrovnik.  Croatia has about 1200 islands and some of them are part of a national park and have very strange shapes, especially if seen from above.  Water is very clean and clear.  We also visited other national parks which are very famous for their lakes and waterfalls.

We mainly stayed in the old towns and enjoyed walking and shopping in the narrow stone-paved streets.  Each one has its own character and differences from the others.  The most famous city in that region would be Dubrovnik, with the city wall still intact.  It is also the most touristy and full of tourists even in the month of October.  We also went to Bosnia for a few days and made a day trip to Montenegro.

One can still see the aftermath of the civil war in all these countries, especially in Bosnia.  Some buildings were burnt out, some collapsed because of artillery fire, and many have bullet holes from machine guns.  Croatia seems to have recovered better than the other two countries, maybe because it has more tourists.  Because of that things are more expensive in Croatia.  Even so it is not a very rich country by European standards, but to us who have been living in Zambia for 18 months, there are so many things that we wanted to buy and bring back.

Living in Ndola actually is quite comfortable and we can get most of our needs without problems, but we could see the choice and variety of things that are available while travelling out of Zambia.  We now understand more why many Africans think the expatriates are all rich people.  It is because they have many things that very few Africans could dream of owning, even though those items may not be expensive at all.

Overall we have a most enjoyable and restful time and it is good to have a break during October when it is hot here.  However our return trip was very tiring as we needed to rush and run in order to make the connections.  Our luggage didn’t manage to come through so we had to pick it up from the airport the next day.  We have not done this type of travelling (on our own, relying on public transport) for 20 years and our conclusion is that age has caught up with us and this trip might be our last in this mode.

Since we came back Zara has developed a cold and cough and she is recovering and should be well very soon.  We went to see the doctor yesterday and we have not visited that clinic for a very long time and yet the receptionist straight away called her Mrs Woo.  We were so amazed at her memory and she could never explain why she could remember our names so well.

We have possibly mentioned it before but we notice that Zambians have a very good memory and we have to be careful when talking to them, as they might remember every sentence that we say.  Perhaps oral tradition is still having an important role in their cultures.

It is still very hot and dry here and rain has not really started yet.  As a result we are having water problems.  We get water from the TCCA borehole but, because of the low water level, water is not being pumped up to the tank.  Timothy has to go to TCCA to start the pump very often.  After a while the water runs out and the pump stops.  Then it needs to be restarted.

Though inconvenient we still have water to use.  Last night we had very heavy rain and it helps the situation a bit.  Hope we will see some more rain very soon.  The water supply in Ndola is not good.  The company supplying water is very inefficient.  Most of the pipes are leaking as they are old pipes from the colonial time.  No one has replaced them over the years and now many of them are leaking badly.  As a result the water pressure is very low and many households do not have water for days.

Some of our staff have to get water from TCCA.  Sometimes families from our church will come to our place for clean water.  Very often you will hear people mentioning that they have no water at home.  Just this morning, one of our lecturers said that he is so happy to see the rain last night so he could collect some rain water to bath in the morning, as his house had no water yesterday.

That’s all for now and we will continue next week.  With Christian love.

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