Day #5 05.01.16

Today was a fairly chilled day. I spent a lot of time by the sea just sitting and thinking (forgot to take my kindle with me) on the rocks, and then on the beach. Then I got restless and went for a long walk along the beach. The beaches are so pretty here in SA, and I never get tired at looking at them. And I love the sound of waves. That’s the only thing Cheltenham is missing; a beach. Would love it.

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That one moment.

Note: this post contains significant use of the F-word, sorry

Ever had one moment where your life changes forever? Where something just clicks, or changes, and BOOM, that’s it: life will never be the same again. Where you realise that you are capable of ANYTHING. That all the possibilities in the world are open, there for the taking.

I was reminded of mine tonight reading a post by the lovely Liz Goodchild (a fab life coach who I met in London once) who was writing about running and it’s effects.

My moment was in February 2011 in South Africa. Stood watching people throw themselves off Bloukrans Bridge, the highest commercial bridge bungy in the world (or at least it was then, not sure it still is, Macau might have that title now). I’d said before the trip I wanted to do it, we drove up went to the viewing platform. And well, fuck me, it’s HIGH. Fucking high. Thoughts through my head? Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck. Shit. Fuck fuck fuck. I stood there for ages deciding what to do.

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My brother took one look and decided it wasn’t for him (we’d both said beforehand that we’d do it). I on the other hand had already said I wanted to do it. I’d told people I wanted to do it. I reeeeeeaaaaalllllly wanted to do it. But, jesus shitting christ it was high.

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(In the picture above, there is someone dangling on a bungy rope but it’s hard to spot them as it’s SO HIGH and MASSIVE)

It’s actually 216 meters (709 feet) above the Bloukrans River.

High.

Anyway, long story short, I manned the fuck up, paid my cash and got harnessed up. No refunds if you wimp out. I wasn’t about to lose the cash and I also remembered telling Matt and Allister at work that I was going to do it. I just couldn’t change my mind. I needed to do it. All the while silently crapping myself.

The walk along to the middle of the bridge was terrifying. It’s underneath the bridge along a metal SEE-THROUGH walkway. What the actual? How to give someone a heart attack before you start. Amazingly, my absolutely-terrified-of-heights-ex-husband came with me onto the bridge, and I know he was crapping it worse than me. So that helped. He wasn’t about to chuck himself off though.

I can still remember as clear as day stood on the bridge. Realising there was no way out (well, of course I could have not done it, but that wasn’t an option) and I had to do it, there was no choice. Fog had started to come through the gorge and so I was looking at jumping into white mist. Better or worse? I couldn’t see the bottom or what I was jumping into. Okay, so I couldn’t see the bottom but then it becomes unknown. A white abyss. It felt just as bad to me.

Strapped up, ready to go. Anyone who’s done a bungy jump will know that feeling of stood on the edge, nothing to hold onto, and that brief feeling of panic because THERE IS NOTHING TO HOLD ONTO. Panic panic panic and then, JUMP. And then the feeling of falling. That completely unnatural feeling of falling.

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And then the pull and squeeze around your ankles. Then the upwards freefalling. And then bounce. And then eventually, STOP. And dangle. For what seems forever.

And that was the moment. My moment. Hanging upside down from a bridge in a South African gorge, legs shaking from adrenaline (so much that I did worry they’d shake out of the ropes), that I realised. Out loud. “I did it. I did it. I fucking did it. Hahahahahaha.” (cue manic near-hysterical out loud laughing) And then I realised, if I could do that, I could do ANYTHING. And I did. That year was THE year my life changed. The year I left my marriage and everything I’d known for over 10 years and started living my life how I wanted. Doing all the shit I realised I could do. And every year I’ve done more. Because I know I can do whatever I want, no matter how scared I feel. No matter how many times I stand and say fuck, fuck, fuck in my head, there’s a little voice that also says “you can do it, you can fucking do it.”

Live your dreams.

(PS: If you want to see the jump, the video is here)

Airport stopover.

Or layover. Not quite sure what the proper term is but I’ve heard layover lots, so I’m going with that. It might be American. I love airports, I love flying. Which, is a good job really because I’ll be doing a fair bit of it this year. I’m not enjoying the screaming child nearby though but I’m trying to tune that out.

I’ve just got off my 8 hour flight from Johannesburg to Abu Dhabi, and have a few hours to kill in the airport now before getting on my next flight (only a short one: 3 1/2 hours) to Delhi. The last flight was with Etihad, I’ve not flown with them before. I’d recommend; it was a great flight, decent food, plenty of drink, great entertainment plus there was no one behind or next to me so I could stretch out like a mofo. Oh, and the headphones were the best I’ve had so far. These ones didn’t make my hair go static. Always a win.

I like to people watch at airports. Wonder where people have been, or where they are going and why. Sometimes I get to find out, if I start chatting to people. And, like I’ve said before, great things happen when you just talk to people. Like my flight yesterday from Livingstone to Johannesburg. I helped a man with his cable tie at the check in desk (he’d put it on the wrong way round and was struggling with it) and ended up sat next to him on the flight. We chatted a bit; he was going home to SA after a fishing trip in Livingstone, I told him about my travel plans. After I picked up my bags in Joburg I needed to call the place I was staying at to arrange an airport pick up, he helped me out by letting me call from his mobile phone. Just one example. Oh, and if you’re wondering what he was doing with a cable tie, it’s because he was flying into Joburg. Can never be too careful with bags there so he was tying his zips together. I didn’t point out that they could just slash his [material] bag, but hey, at least it’s something I guess.

Abu Dhabi was HOT when I got off the plane, it’s around 37 degrees here (and it’s the evening). I think Delhi is about the same temperature. Oooooo. I might be glad I’m off up into the mountains. I was moaning about Johannesburg being cold yesterday but, well, high 30’s is maybe just a leeeetle too hot. We’ll see.

The airport here has free wifi throughout. GREAT idea. I wish all airports did this. It’s certainly making the time go quicker, and I have an article to write.

I miss Africa, but I’m excited now about India. I suspect by the time I arrive there tomorrow morning (6am Indian time, 3am ish African time, 2am ish UK time) I’ll just want to sleep but I’m going to force myself to get out and about in Delhi for the day and try and adjust to the new time. I can’t WAIT for the food. I’m hungry now just thinking about it.

Time to leave.

It’s just about time to leave Zambia, which has been my home for the last 4 weeks. On Tuesday I fly back to Johannesburg where I stay for a night before flying onwards to Delhi (via Abu Dhabi) on Wednesday.

I’ve had a blast. Of course I have. 4 weeks. 1 month. It sounds like a long time but it’s not really. It’s gone so quick. It doesn’t seem like 5 minutes since I was arriving here in the back of a pick up with 7 other newbies, all excited for our adventure, not knowing what to expect. It’s been an incredible experience. Chocked full of laughter, lions, children, culture, sun, dust, African wildlife, beer, cold showers, chocolate, waterfalls and bungee jumping.

I’ve learnt a lot; about myself and other people. About Zambia and it’s animals, people and communities. I’m so pleased I did it. So pleased I had that epiphany in that meeting at work just before Christmas. That’s when I knew I had to do something. More specifically, it was then that I knew that part of that doing something was to come to Africa to do some volunteering. I have no regrets at all. None whatsoever. I have so many new memories now that I will treasure forever. I can’t write them all down but here’s just a small selection:

  • The great English vs American pronunciation debate. It never got boring.
  • Riding around in the back of a pick up to get to places. Sometimes stood up, sometimes sat down, sometimes sat on the edge, sun and wind blasting our faces. It reminded me of being little and my Dad’s red pick up that he used to have. Not sure whether I ever sat and rode around in the back though.
  • Andrew washing his hands with toilet cleaner after Firebreak. So funny, especially when we then spent the evening waiting to see if his hands would either a) start to peel b) go red c) burn or d) fall off. Luckily, they didn’t.
  • Nino (sp?) is boy in Spanish. It also means lady bits here in Zambia in one of their local languages.
  • Jamie falling off his chair while we were playing Pictionary. Loudest noise ever.
  • Emily’s inappropriate guesses in Pictionary and her slightly disturbing competitive streak.
  • Finding out what an Eiffel Tower is. No, not the structure in Paris. The rude version.
  • Hi-fiving more times than I can remember. I’m a big fan of high-fiving, I know some people hate it but I LOVE it, it’s so much fun. And over here, the kids love it too. In.My.Element.
  • Knowing that the sun will shine every day and it won’t rain. Ok, so it’s cold in the morning but the sun is already out and by mid-morning it gets hot. Consistent weather; still a novelty. Not sure what India will be like as it’s monsoon season when I’m there so I’m enjoying it while it lasts.
  • Nights out in Livingstone; many funny or interesting things happened the two times I went out. So good to let our hair down and have some fun and check out the local nightlife. Beer pong, dancing, prostitutes, sunglasses, shots, it was all there.
  • African dancing at culture day – I had so much fun doing this, I could have done it all afternoon. Dancing their traditional dances in the sun to the African drums was just magical. I loved it.
  • Bungee jumping off the Victoria Falls Bridge. It was my second jump (the first was Bloukrans Bridge in South AFrican in 2011) and although not as terrifying or high as that one, it still got the adrenalin pumping and was such a rush. Beautiful scenery, the sun was shining and we had beers afterwards. What a way to spend a Friday.
  • There’s a line on the Vic Falls bridge where Zambia ends and Zimbabwe begins (we already had to go through border control before that though) so technically I can say I’ve been to Zimbabwe too. Although over here it’s just called Zim. Getting with the local lingo.
  • Playing games with the kids at Kids Club. These were so much fun, the kids get really excited and I got to be a kid again for a bit. Kids are so carefree and we got to enjoy that too. Real adult life can sometimes get dull, boring, serious and sensible. Lets not forget to have fun, blast away the cobwebs and laugh LOTS. We can learn a lot from children, just as they can learn from us.
  • Seeing wildlife every day. And I mean every day. Whether it’s elephants, baboons, hippos, giraffes, impala, monkeys or birds, there hasn’t been a day that’s gone by that I’ve not seen something. Not sure I’d ever get bored of it, although you do get used to seeing elephants just wander on by. Or baboons and monkeys running around. Never thought I’d be saying that.
  • Seeing the most beautiful sunrises, sunsets and stars in the night sky. African sunsets are well known, and there’s a reason for that. They’re just breathtaking. Everyone should see one, at least just once. You just can’t beat it. And the stars, out here, in the middle of the bush with no light pollution, are just amazing. We can see the Milky Way; it’s so clear. The stars shine so bright, and there’s shooting stars too. A couple of nights we just laid outside on the grass and watched the stars. Nothing else to do or see, no interruptions, just enjoying the stars. Sometimes the best things in life are free.
  • Sharing the running love; I ended up running with a couple of different people, getting them running. I hope this carries on throughout my travels.
  • Meeting and making new friends. I’ve met a lot of people out here, they’re a great bunch from all over the world; I’ve laughed lots and learnt loads. I hope we all keep in touch. And next year, when I get back home, we WILL have that UK reunion.

Part of my trip away is trying to figure out what I want to do work-wise. I don’t say career because I’ve never been particularly career minded, rather, I’ve just wanted to get jobs that I enjoy, that challenge me, and that I can do well in. I’m not particularly bothered about following a set path, or getting to the top (whatever the ‘top’ is). As long as I’m enjoying what I’m doing and it’s enabling me to live the life I want, rather than a life I have to, then I’m happy. I can say, after this trip, that there’s two jobs I can rule out. Teacher and firefighter. I’ve really enjoyed the teaching over here, it’s been a great challenge, rewarding and I’ve relished any minute of it. But, I couldn’t do it full time. It’s exhausting, frustrating and just not for me. But, it has reminded me how much I love training. I used to do a lot when I worked for the Police and I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed it. So, that’s a possibility.

And firefighter? It’s something I fleetingly thought about last year. But, after taking part in fire break where we were practically stood in the middle of a roaring fire trying to beat it out, while the thick smoke made it hard to breathe or see, I’ve ruled it out. Obviously it’s not the same at all, but now every time I smell smoke since that first week’s fire break I feel panicky. I really do think it’s scarred me a little bit, it was so horrific, and so that’s definitely one job I couldn’t do now.

Being here has opened my eyes up yet again to new cultures, communities and ways of life that are so different to mine. It’s made me appreciate the things and people I have, and reaffirmed my values and motivations in life. I’m not particularly interesting in things, I’m all about the experiences. I want to help people and make a difference. I know I can’t change the world but I hope I can make a little difference. I hope I have made a little difference while I’m here. I guess I’ll never know for sure but I gave it my best shot.

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Soon be time to move on.

It’s my last week in Zambia, I’ll be leaving on Monday. Now it feels like the last 3 weeks have gone so quick. I’ll be so sad to leave, I know I will. I know I’m not leaving quite yet, so I’m trying to not think about it too much, but as it’s my last week there are lots of ‘lasts’ happening now. Like Monday, when it was my last time teaching the Grade 5’s at Tawbuka school. And tomorrow, when it will be my last Conservation Club. So it’s hard not to think about it.

Some guys left on Monday too, it’s not the same without them. We miss you Andrew, Ally, Sarah and Melissa! 😦 Although we got some newbies (hello Ciaran, Max2 and Maria). One of which is a fireman. #justsaying

Last Saturday we went out for some drinks because those guys were leaving. And because it was the weekend. Who needs any other excuse? Started at a bar/restaurant called The Spot for some drinks and shots. I had a Pink Pussy, some others had a Banana Blow Job, others a Liquid Cocaine. Classy place, haha. Next we moved next door to Fez Bar which, as we’re walking up to it, was playing Michael Jackson. Approved. Cue much cocktails, dancing and a bit of hip wiggling. I didn’t get to bed until around 3.30am that night. Luckily, Sunday is my day off so I spent it hanging. Just a little bit.

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Sunday night we went to see a lunar rainbow at Victoria Falls. It’s a ‘moonbow’ that occurs at the Falls when there is a Full Moon. Something to do with the spray and the light from the moon. Regardless of the scientifics, I know that it is very pretty. And very difficult to photograph. I got a half decent picture, but, like a lot of pictures, it really doesn’t do it justice. And, there, it’s all about the atmosphere. The sound of the water and the feel of the spray against your face in the pitch black, lit up by a rainbow. Incredible. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before, I feel very lucky to have been able to see it.

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Just a quickie.

Wow this week seems to have gone quick. It’s Friday already which is my day off, so I’m sat writing this sat in the garden in the sun enjoying a bit of downtime. Although, its surprising how quickly time goes when all I’ve done today is catch up on some emails, news, done a bit of writing, face-timed my Dad and chatted to the other volunteers over lunch. It’s 3pm already and I’m only just starting this.

I feel nicely chilled out. I’ve got over my need-to-be-doing-something-every-minute and forced myself to just enjoy sitting. It’s different, and I still feel very lazy but also feeling very relaxed. My brain isn’t full of lists, or things to do or random thoughts of stuff I should be thinking about. It’s fairly empty and I’m just enjoying the quietness, lack of responsibility and a Milkybar.

I went into town on Wednesday lunchtime with some of the others to visit the curio market (a little craft market) and Shoprite for a chocolate, crisp and yoghurt run for everyone. The traders at the curio market are very friendly. Obviously, because they’re trying to get you to buy things. But, some of them are really nice and quite happy to have a chat even if you’re not buying anything (one of the good things about being on a RTW trip means you can’t actually buy loads of stuff, even if you want to – I bought a bracelet and a fridge magnet. That’s all.). The standard greeting here is ‘Hello, how are you?’. And they always shake your hand. But not with any old handshake. With a special handshake. It’s a normal handshake, then a kind of gangster grab, then normal handshake again. It’s like a club. I like it.

Weekday amusement this week happened most unexpectedly when I was teaching maths on Tuesday. There I was, going through how to change improper fractions into mixed numbers with my class (I’m not going to forget that) and in trotted a goat. Yep, a Goat. Only in Africa. Cue me and some of the kids chasing it round the classroom like a Benny Hill sketch to get it out. I think it provided a welcome distraction from fractions for the kids who, naturally, found it hilarious.

There has also been running excitement this week! You can tell the excitement by the use of an exclamation mark, I don’t do it that often.  So, running excitement #1: I ran a new running route! This is BIG excitement. I was convinced I would be running in laps for the whole 4 weeks. And although a run, is deathly dull. So, imagine how excited I was when I managed to force persuade Daryl, general manager here, to come on a run with me, because we could run a slightly bigger lap. Just out a little bit into the park along a couple of the roads, down by the Zambezi river and back round by the house. Oh, it was heaven, and it made my day. It was so nice to run in a bit more of a straight line, and not on sand. It was also as the sun was setting. So imagine this: running through the African bush as the sun was setting, past a herd of impala grazing, then past the banks of the Zambezi river, not a sound to be heard. Wonderful.

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Hopefully we’ll get to run again. Daryl hadn’t ran for a few months, so I may just have outran him a lot a little bit on the second lap. Hopefully I’ve not put him off and next time he’ll be able to go for longer ;P

Running excitement Number 2: I had my first article published! I’ve agreed to be a regular contributor to running website The Running Stories, by writing about my Runs around the World. I’m very excited about this, I love running, travel and writing, and so I can combine them all. I know I have this blog where I was doing that already, but that really started just for me, my friends and family. This is out there, in the big wide world on a proper website. Hopefully people will be interested in what I have to say, and it’s great experience for me. I’d love to do more writing while I’m away so we’ll see where this takes me. You can read the article here.

Another website (Take a Challenge) has also been in touch, asking if they can do an article on me, so I’m currently working with them to put something together. It’s a bit strange, to think people want to write about little old me or want me to write something for them. Strange, but exciting. Anything can happen in this big old world!

Living in the moment.

So, I feel like I’ve been here for a lot longer than 2 weeks. I’m getting settled into being away, and enjoying being in Africa. I feel like I’m now finally living in the moment; it took a while to get into it though. Probably because I’ve spent the last few months looking forward to this trip. Spending so much time planning for this trip. Remember my to do lists I’ve blogged about before? Takes a while to get out of looking forward and to just Stop. I need to make sure I do that. I even have a tattoo about it.

I remember back in January this year many times running along one of my regular routes when I still lived off Burton Road. It was the footpath through the trees and it was cold all the time. While I was running I remember daydreaming about being in Africa, knowing that I would really be there at some point. I’d daydream about how it would be warm and sunny and dusty. And I’d wonder what it would actually be like. And yesterday, sat in the truck coming back to the site through the National Park I realised I was living that moment. The one I’d daydreamed about loads. And so just sat there, smiling away to myself, just enjoying that moment. In the sun. Before it went and another moment takes it’s place.

Kids of Zambia.

Today it feels wrong to say it’s been a good day, but it has been a day of mixed feelings. Unfortunately I received some sad news first thing, and, although it was something I was expecting at some point, it’s still a shock and this morning left me feeling far away from home and unable to give support to those who need it most right now. You know I’m thinking of you all though, so much love sent and please take care of yourselves and look after each other to get through this difficult time.

Today was my first day of teaching. Actual teaching of children in a school. Teaching English, Maths and Literacy. Me. Someone who’s not a teacher, hasn’t got any teaching quals and who hasn’t done anything like this before (OK, so I’ve done loads of training and presentations but that’s at work and I’m not sure training someone how to make a posting on Origin or talking about a project I’ve managed is quite in the same league). I’ve had to think about how to explain the stuff that I learnt years ago, already know and just take for granted. Anyone want to explain long division or multiplying fractions? Or sentence construction? To kids? Who speak a different language? You can perhaps see why I was bricking it this morning.

My brother said to just take it in my stride. I just decided to take the same approach I always have when doing stuff like this. Like presentations, training, speeches or interviews. Prepare as much as I can and then just blag it. Sometimes it comes off, sometimes it doesn’t. Most of the time it does. And most of the time no one else will realise you’re blagging it anyway.

And you know what? It was great fun. Yep, definitely daunting. And nerve wracking. But, I think I got the hang of it. And now I’ve done it once I can do it again. And it will be easier next time, and the time after that. I know [roughly] what I’m doing now. I’m getting an idea of the levels of the kids and what and how much they need to be taught.

I have Grade 5, which isn’t really a set age as such, more that they are grouped by ability as the Zambian school system isn’t compulsory and consists of 7 years of primary schooling (with an official entry age of 7) and 5 years of secondary schooling. My class are a great bunch of kids, so happy and keen to learn. They were fascinated by my iPhone and taking pictures, or having pictures taken of them. I let them loose with it and they took hundreds of photos on my phone, posing with each other and then all gathering round squealing at the finished picture. It was so funny to watch. I taught them a few poses 😉

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Getting there is a bit of a challenge too. It’s the most rural school we go to. Right in the middle of the bush. The [mud] houses are all over the place and so many kids have miles to walk to get there. And if they’re late they have to sweep the yard, or do other chores before school starts. Although I’m not quite sure I get this as that makes classes start later anyway. But, although they have a syllabus and lesson plans, it’s still very flexible and they don’t seem to be stuck to as rigidly as you’d find in England so I guess it all goes hand-in-hand. This morning we got driven in one of the pickups. The double cab one. Which, on the face of it, seemed a great bet; it’s chilly here in the morning so whizzing along in the back of a pick up or in the safari truck would have been cold, cold, cold. However, it was a journey that reminded me of playing Daytona rally with my brother in the arcades when I was little. High trees either side of a single sandy track – hard right, hard left – with the morning sun just glistening through the trees. Bloody hell, you don’t half get shaken about though, uneven ground and tight corners. As I got out of the truck at the end I felt like my back surely must be broken. I am pleased to report it wasn’t. Oh, and there’s also a bit of the road where you have to drive through the river to carry on.

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Only in Africa.

Oh, and one last thing about today? Dad, you’ll never guess what we got given for lunch. Frankfurter sausages and salad. How I chuckled. No mini eclairs in sight though 😛

Busy week.

It’s been a busy couple of days since I blogged last. Lots of things have happened. I ate a worm. I ran. I saw giraffes. I got sick. I helped some kids read.

On Wednesday we had a traditional meal of nshima for lunch. It’s a staple food made from  cornflour and is a bit like a sticky blob of mashed potato. It was served with some kind of stew and WORMS. Some kind of deep fried worms, they looked like something from I’m a Celebrity. I tried one; it was rank. But at least I tried it.

I ran! Although you probably know about that because I already blogged about it. It made me VERY happy.

I’ve seen loads of animals so far. Well, being in the middle of a National Park means we are surrounded by them. It’s a bit weird to be sat having a bit of lunch or breakfast and some elephants just stroll on by. Or some giraffes (which are my favourite). We went for a drive to the other lion site the other day and saw some zebras, wilderbeest, impala and more giraffes. Very cool. Oh, and of course there are the lions here.
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I’ve been to a couple of local schools now – one to do a Conservation Club and a very small rural school for Book Club where I helped some kids do some word exercises. It was very strange, not sure I’m a natural with kids but I’m giving it my best shot! It’s just like you’d see on the TV: rural African school in a rural African village. The houses for this village were mud huts, they have one well for the whole village (that dries up in the summer) and the school is very bare and the kids all running round and were grabbing me by the hand when I got there and as we were driving along they were all waving and shouting. Still very surreal.
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As an Education and Rural Community Development intern I’ll be teaching classes 3 times a week as well as doing conservation club once a week, book club once a week and a kids club on a Saturday. It’s not just me on my own – there’s another girl who’s an intern like me, and then the other volunteers are here to volunteer with the lions but they will help us out too so that’s not too bad.
The place we’re at is a lion rehabilitation and release organisation but they have a branch that does community projects so we’re all here together, and so I’ve also got to walk with the lions (it’s a part of the release program) and get involved with that which has been really cool. We also did Fire Break this week which involves setting fire to some of the bush around one of the lion enclosures at the other site and then putting it out (to avoid big fires in the dry season). It was really hard work and very hot, and probably a little bit dangerous! All part of the adventure though! Although it was really windy so quite a bit of the enclosure has got burnt which isn’t great but fire spreads so quick there wasn’t anything anyone could do. The lions were OK though, luckily.
We went into Livingstone this week too, had a wander around and got money out, that kind of thing. We came across a company called Zambeef. It amused us.
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You guys at work will be pleased to hear I have been using my Travel Tap bottle. Not so far as to be scooping water out of the Zambezi but it seems to be working so far. Although, I have got sick. But I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the bottle’s fault. No, a few of us have got sick. There seems to be a stomach/sickness bug working it’s way through the camp. It’s the poorliest I’ve been for a very long time and I spent all of yesterday in bed 😦 On the way to feeling halfway normal now though I think, although I still have really achy sore muscles and haven’t eaten in over 36 hours and haven’t really got an appetite back yet. Although I could just eat some potato wedges. We’ll see what comes for lunch. At least perhaps it’s a good reintroduction to the fasting diet. Or preparing me for India, where I’m bound to get sick again. Either way, I think it’s on it’s way out. Thank god.
I feel like I’ve been here a long time, or at least longer than a week. The UK seems a long way away at the minute, and a lot longer until I get back. I’m not sure I was quite ready to give some things up, or realised what I would have to give up.  But, c’est la vie. There will be many adventures to be had and I’ll get used to life on the road. I think I just need to learn some patience and to get used to having a year off. No work. Chill out. This will probably be easier when I start my travelling, when I have more things to do and occupy myself. Because one thing here is that there’s not that much to do when we’re not working. No places to go for walks (or runs) or to explore. I feel so lazy at the moment too.

Runs around the world #5

Mosi-o-Tunya National Park, Zambia

For a while this week I thought I wouldn’t be able to run while I was in Zambia because we’re in the middle of a National Park and as such, we’re not really allowed to walk (and therefore run) around on our own (only on lion walks really). It’s because of the animals. We’re not fenced in, so all kinds of animals are around (elephants, hippos, wilderbeest, zebra, baboons, monkeys, impalas etc.).

I was getting a bit distressed at the thought of not running for 4 weeks. What about my fitness? What about my muscles? I couldn’t bear the thought of it disappearing and having to start from scratch again. Especially as my next place is India (where it’s currently 39 degrees in New Delhi) where again I’m not sure about the possibility of running.

So, I don’t really have to say how bloody HAPPY I am that I’ve managed to run today. OK, so it is only in a lap, running around the White House (the main building here). I think some of the other guys were amused and thinking I was a bit of a weirdo. But still, it’s a run. Woohoo! And that’s all that matters. I only did 2.32 miles, shortest run for probably over a YEAR but it was so hot (it was at about 5pm, which, although it’s starting to cool down, the sun is still out and it’s probably still in the mid 20’s) and some of the lap is loose sand (aka Very Hard Work). I’ll do more. Probably only short runs like that though. But, I’ll try and add some speedwork in. And, it’s at least something. Really energised now. Hurrah for running!

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