We have only been on the ground in Ndola for a day, and this has already an incredible trip. We woke up this morning around 7:30 and after getting ready and grabbing a quick bite, we went to a local shop to pick up jerseys for the soccer match this afternoon.
We then got onto the Northrise bus and drove out to a game preserve about an hour and a half away. The first hour was on a paved road and the final 1/2 hour was on a dirt road. The dirt road was interesting, I could feel the dirt in the air that I was breathing. The road was bumpy and uneven, and at times it felt as though the bus was at a 60 degree angle.
The drive was beautiful. The road is lined with tall grass and trees. There are also groups of houses just off the road, typically separated from the road by the tall grass and trees. These houses looked to be made of Cinderblocks, but there were some structures made of wood and grass. These houses were spread out the entire way from Ndola to the game preserve, which makes me wonder how those families function. Where do they go to barter, trade or shop? How do they get their food and other essentials? It really feels as though they are out in the middle of nowhere with no means of transportation apart from walking.
Once we got to the game preserve, we picked up a guide who directed our driver on where to go. We saw giraffes, zebras, and other antelope type animals (I cannot remember all the names, but I did get some great pictures!). The preserve also had a reptile area, which I could have done without, but it was good to force myself out of my comfort zone to see the snakes (I even touched one, though it was for a millisecond, so that might not count). We ate lunch at the preserve and I had Ox Tail (when in Zambia!). It was really good and reminded me of a tender pot roast.
After lunch we drove back to Ndola and made it back just in time for the Zambia vs. Zimbabwe soccer match. Now that was an experience. Walking up the the stadium sounded like we were walking up to a HUGE bee hive (because of all the yelling). The energy in the stadium was fantastic, everyone was so excited and people were yelling the entire time. We had wonderful seats, just 8 rows up and right at the center of the field! Zambia beat Zimbabwe 2 - 0, so the crowd was very excited. We had people coming up to us because they wanted to take pictures with the white people. We also made it on TV apparently, because our waiter at dinner recognized us from the game! I am sure people will be celebrating until late into the night, and we will know because they seem to congregate on the street outside of our hotel (the noises kept me and An - my roommate- up last night).
After the game, as we were leaving with the crowd there were a few people trying to pick-pocket our group. One guy blatantly tried the whole "on, I need to go the other direction, so I have to bump into you" move on one of the men in our group, but did not get anything. A few minute later, someone else came along side that same man and was walking close and reaching into his pocket, I saw him and grabbed his arm and told him not to take the wallet. He seemed a little upset that I had thwarted his attempt, but someone else in the group stepped in and we kept walking. I found out later that one of our instructors had been cornered as we were going into the stadium and someone had stolen his wallet. Though this is extremely unfortunate, they thankfully chose the wrong pocket and only ended up with his personal items, and not the travel funds and his passport.
Today has been wonderful, apart from the pick-pocketing. Tomorrow we are going to go to Church with Moffat and Doreen and then have lunch at their house. I think we are going to have some free time tomorrow afternoon/evening, so we may get to do some exploring!
I cannot wait to get into the classroom with the Northrise students on Monday!
Thanks for reading!