Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. The shops downtown all have bright red clothing displayed in the windows — tops, skirts, trousers (don’t call them pants here – they’ll think you’re talking about underwear.)
Young men try to sell plastic roses to anyone parked with their car window open. It’s hot, but we quickly close the window again.
Yesterday we parked beside a nice SUV with the words CIDA – MOYA WA BANA PROJECT on the side. Two women came back carrying a bunch of bananas, and we talked a little. Moya wa Bana means Heart for Children. CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency) is working with children’s health programs in Zambia. The two women were checking on the local health clinics, as they weighed children and advised on nutrition and other health issues.
“That vehicle belongs to me,” I boasted. “My taxes paid for that!”
The women broke into laughter, slapped my hand, and said, “Indeed!” Then, “you (Canadians) do a very good thing for us here.” They were thankful that CIDA is helping their children. It was good to see some of our tax dollars working so positively.
Kaputa sent us a text message: will we give him 1.5 million kwacha (approximately $375) to pay the next rent instalment? Rent here is paid six months in advance.
Our opinions are divided. Harold would like to give him the whole amount. We women feel we would be enabling him to keep pawning off of other people instead of taking responsibility himself for the needs of his family.
Robert is undecided. He says we have a comfortable, if tiny, apartment here; we’re safe, have everything we need.
Eugene, a white Zambian, gave us a recipe for happiness:
1. Free your heart of hate
2. Free your mind of worry
3. Live simply
4. Give more
5. Expect less