day 18

Twice every week we have traditional Zambian food, consisting of Nshima (looks like mashed potatoes, but is made from corn) and various dishes of meat and vegetables. Typical vegetables are beans, spinach and aubergines of which they have a slightly different local variety.

We also eat a lot of locally grown fruits: mangos and bananas. The mangos here are bit different than the sort you get in European supermarkets. They are sweeter but more fibrous. Apart from that the food is sort of international english, but it still takes most newcomers a while to adjust to it. Most have stomach problems in the first weeks.

We have two children at our dorm who are HIV positive. Both have scars on their skin from previous injuries or infections.These two boys take drugs daily, often several times a day, to keep their immune system working. One of them came to breakfast a couple of days ago with several small injuries on arms and legs that he got just from rubbing on the wall or the mosquito net. He had to take extra medication for several days and is fine again.

One of our students, Will, is crazy about snakes. He has captured several snakes before. Together with one of the teachers he recently he caught a small tree snake in one of the classrooms and took it home as a pet. It is harmless and not poisonous, but there are poisonous snakes in Zambia as well. We also had some tiny scorpions in the dorm, who are harmless but have a very painful bite according to Mr. Kamanga (the dorm “father”).