20 September 2011

20 September: Voting Day in Zambia

Tuesday 20th of September, Zambia, Africa.

Voting day in Zambia. Not the most politically torn country, but we still received a slew of travel emails warning us to stay away from public areas, mostly big cities and places to vote. 

One of which happened to be right outside our door.

This election is more controversial than normal.  Banda, the man in office now, of the MDD party was placed in office three years ago in a quick election after a death.  Sata, of the PF party, who only lost by 2% three years ago is running against him again and there have been protests and small acts of violence. 

No reason we should be unsafe, but enough reason for our supervisor, also an American, to suggest we all “keep a low profile” today.  Meaning mostly locked in the compound.  Not going to the clinic.  Or market.  But walking around the football (soccer) field would be safe enough.

We slept in till 8:30 because we had no plans for the day.  We made coffee and a delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs, tomatoes, cheese, and onions.

[eggs straight from the chicken]

We both sat on separate couches with our books, which we finished.  I might just have to work on my project now. One Day.  Would I recommend it?  It was a good read, hated the ending.  If you read it, I’ll promise to tell you why I hated it. It kept me entertained though.

We walked around the compound a bit.  And then around the schools with Mafutu, who only spoke sign language and white reed rubbed on his black arm to make words.  It was quite entertaining but we learned the word for wash, and how.  And wonderful.

We saw a lot of men in suits and red and white tape that marked the place to vote.  And some police-looking men. 

Which meant it was time to go back home.

We promptly learned the word for home in sign language and returned there.

We wrote blogs for a bit and then got bored and played balderdash.  Together.  Not too exciting.  But we did learn some funny new words.

Around 2 we met up with Paul and Mufatu under the hut they call the “waiting station” because people wait there for a ride when the missionaries go to town in their cars.  We learned lots of new things.  We reviewed the alphabet and numbers, both of which we both mostly knew.   We learned higher numbers like thousand and million and billion.  We learned days of the week, which we both promptly (accidentally) forgot.  We learned how are you, what is your name, I am fine, my name is, and our names in sign language.  Which is pretty legit. 

We learned fast.

And, like good students, we reviewed later after learning it.

We were on our own for dinner tonight.  We were given chicken and ground beef and we had our tomatoes and onions from earlier.  We had some cheese.  Some Bread.  Some butter. 

Top it off with chips and an apple.  Sounds good.

Frances made the hamburger patties while I grabbed my plug converters.  Everything I brought from American can work on 120V and 220V, so I’ve never had to use the converter box thing.

And I don’t really understand amps and watts anyway.

[Frances making hamburger patties]

I washed the George Forman and plugged it in.  Frances seasoned the beef with our Texas Seasoning, provided for us.  They must have known we were coming!

[Texas Seasoning picture]

The George Forman started smoking a bit, but It must have been because I just washed it, right? 

So we threw the meat on the grill.  We didn’t have Pam to spray it down with, which is ok because it appeared to be non-stick.

The meat started to sizzle and the smoking of the grill got worse.  No problem, We’ll just open some of the windows and the doors and hope the fire alarms don’t disturb our neighbors.

No fire alarms.  Oh.  No problem with noise then.

So we got towels and started waving the smoke. 

[waving away the smoke picture]

Because we were hungry.  

And the meat was almost cooked.

We pulled the meat off the grill and decided to unplug it and let it rest before we started cooking the chicken.  Just to be safe. 

We also decided to plug the grill into the 120V outlet by the kitchen table because that might be safer. 

Or something.

[Frances on the floor with the grill]

Our chicken cooked without a problem.  No smoke.  Hmmmm….maybe the grill isn’t made for 220V…


But don’t worry that we’re getting too spoiled over here.   Do you have any idea how hard it is to clean a George Forman grill when you didn’t have any Pam to spray on it before you used it??

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