The light here is kind. The dawns are softly orange and tangerine evenings seems to usher the day out too early. I always think it’s later than it is: half two here looks like half four on the equator. The sun’s lower slant as it tips further south from Africa’s invisible waistband renders something mellow of a northern glare.

Funny the things you notice first about new places.

The sounds I hear are different too. The midnight somebody’s-murdering-me-in-my-bed screams of bushbabies and the indignant early morning shouts of vervet monkeys fighting over space and breakfast and the pearly dawn gasps of Hadada ibis and – especially – the whisper and roar of the sea as the tide ebbs and flows are replaced by the early calls of unfamiliar birds, by distant cooped-up dogs, by too-close-for-comfort traffic.

My year has been pockmarked with Change, two transAfrican moves and several different homes. I’m hanging onto the familiar in the hope another Change jars less. Hanif, the driver who kindly drives me to the airport so that I can drive myself back and commit the route to memory, tells me, when I explain to him that the reason I must know this road is that my animals are arriving on a Kenya Airways flight from Nairobi on Wednesday, that a lot of cargo comes in from Kenya. It is oddly reassuring; we can’t be that far from home I tell myself, if we rely on cargo from Kenya?  He slows for a cop stop, ‘the police are very corrupt here’, he says, and I smile a quiet smile, something else oddly, paradoxically, comforting, not so different from back home then, I think. The dark faces and wide white smiles are the same even if the language is unfamiliar.

Ant says Change is good. He says it stretches us, makes us emotionally and intellectually supple, keeps us young. He says all that stuff to make me feel better about something that’s still scary, no matter how I talk it up. He says all that stuff because he feels a little scared too.

And perhaps that’s the most reassuring part of this, the most recent, Change. Just like the Outpost, we’re in this together.

12 Responses to “Zambia”

  1. Kit Says:

    Good luck with your new place and new everything. Hope it soon settles into something more familiar and comfortable.

  2. Miranda Says:

    Ah sigh. Where about are you? Oh and the police in Zambia aren’t neeearly as corrupt!! Or maybe they are but its all done with a smile!

    • reluctantmemsahib Says:

      Hi Miranda. Lusaka. And desperate to find a home outside enough that if feels like being in the bush. A relief to hear cops aren’t as corrupt, think that was one among many of the ‘scare the new girl’ stories!

  3. robyn Says:

    at the moment, zambia and big smiles from the police, seem a million miles away. hope the very important cargo arrive safely

    • reluctantmemsahib Says:

      hi robyn, it did, it did! oh joy. you have never seen anybody so pleased to exit a crate after 10 hours incarceration!

  4. Jackie Says:

    Glad you are there safely and beginning to find your feet, and hope the animals arrive safely, it will be more like home when they are there. Good Luck and hope you are settled soon. Will email soon.

    • reluctantmemsahib Says:

      hello Jackie, animals are here and even in the absence of a home to call our own, given container stuck at a border, it feels more like ‘home’ with two happy and exhausted labs at my feet and an ancient and much loved marmalade cat cleaning herself on my lap.

  5. Ann Says:

    Good luck in your new home. I hope you settle in and feel “at home” soon.

  6. Carol Says:

    Glad you are blogging again. I miss you being in the same country as me – so please keep blogging so that I can feel what it is like ther.

  7. Elaine - I used to be indecisive Says:

    Good luck for a quick ‘settle in’ to your new life in Zambia. It’s great to see you post again. 🙂

  8. janerowena Says:

    How exciting – but I am so sorry that the last ‘Life’ didn’t work out for you.

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