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Welcome to Zambia!

It's been just over two weeks since I arrived in Lusaka, Zambia, and while each day the world around me feels a little more familiar, I still find new things to be surprised by. In lieu of writing much I want to show you a little of what living in Zambia is like in a few photos and observations.

  • I have rarely seen a speed limit sign. Instead there are huge speed bumps every few meters on the roads, sometimes with giant car-ruining potholes just behind them.

  • Although there are many pedestrians there are hardly any sidewalks. Instead, there are dusty beaten paths along the sides of the roads.

  • There are almost no crosswalks, and drivers do not stop for pedestrians, even if they are in the road halfway across. There are street vendors at busy intersections, though, standing in between lines of moving traffic, selling everything from hats to maps of Africa to candy and fruit. The busiest intersection I've encountered has pedestrian bridges to cross the roads.

  • There are several malls in the city, but unlike the US where malls are anchored by big department stores, malls in Lusaka are anchored by grocery stores, sometimes with only a few small shops in between.

  • Most grocery items are very inexpensive (avocados are about 50 cents a piece) with the exception being olive oil - which is $20 for a regular size bottle! And eggs aren't refrigerated. (Read why we refrigerate them in the US) There is a lot of security in grocery stores - if you are walking in with a bag other than a handbag you have to check it at the entrance and retrieve it when you leave. And there is security walking through to store keeping an eye on everyone.

  • Most doors lock with keys on both sides of the door, and you turn the key twice around to engage the locks

  • The Zambian currency, Kwacha, is not very strong. The average exchange rate is about $1 to K27. I can take a taxi from one place to another for less than K60, which is equivalent to about $2.

  • Many women wear chitenge, which Wikipedia says is a "piece of fabric similar to a sarong, often worn by women and wrapped around the chest or waist, over the head as a headscarf, or as a baby sling." Although I most often hear it generally used to describe beautifully patterned and colorful cloth. I've seen chitenge shirts, bags, dresses... whatever you can sew you can sew with chitenge.

Since I've been here in Zambia I've been focused on adjusting to the time change (+6 hours from the east coast of the US), the weather (warm and sunny during the day, windy and cool when the sun sets), the culture, the groceries (the only name brands I've seen that are familiar are some chips and candy brands!), and the every day living in an African country. I hope to have more to share as days pass, so I hope you'll join me as I continue to learn about this incredible country and it's people.


Don Hazelwood
Don Hazelwood
May 07

Thanks for posting - share more pictures! I don't remember if you're a coffee drinker, but is the coffee good there? What about the booze?

May 07
Replying to

Hi Don! I am a coffee drinker but have only tried one or two brands. Mostly the coffee seems to be quite strong. I've tried the local beer and it's similar to a lager. I definitely need to try more things!

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