day 33

For one day on Wednesday I was “illegal”. My business trip visa had run out and I only got my proper work permit on Thursday. It had been ready in Lusaka (the capital city) for a while, but we couldn’t pick it up any earlier.

Mr. Grove, a senior missionary and experienced pilot, took me and another volunteer from the school there in a small Piper airplane. It was a great experience. The area of Zambia that we flew over is very flat with lots of vegetation. In the Copperbelt area there are many mines and also farms. There are lakes, natural and artificial and big swamp areas.

In Lusaka we went to a government office to get the work permits for the other volunteer and me. The office was crowded and quite chaotic. Not nearly as orderly as you would perhaps expect from a government office. Still, everything went well and in an orderly fashion. It took time, but we had not trouble with communication and getting what we came for. While I was waiting I witnessed how on the table of one official two receipts for different people got mixed up. One European woman who had already collected her permit forgot her receipt, then later came back to collect it, took the wrong one, had the clerk sign it, and the declared it wasn’t hers and left. It led to some difficulties for the person whose receipt she had had signed wrongly.

Later we went to a shopping mall, which looked pretty much like it could have been in any European city. Quite boring franchise stores except for one or two odd shops that looked unique. The Gentlemen’s toilets were something extraordinary: Luxurious design, spacious, with black stone walls, big mirrors. Out of 8 water basins only two had working water tabs left and in the cubicles the toilet tissue holders were empty or missing altogether. Mr. Grove told me that the building had only been renovated two months earlier.