The last couple of weeks have been utterly insane. As much as I thought the Zambia experience was going to be just a couple of weeks, every spare moment between trying to cram four weeks work into a fortnight has been spent either writing press releases and blog posts for the LearnAsOne site or trying to secure some press coverage for the project.
I haven’t even bought half the stuff I need yet, like mosquito repellent, for example.
Still, the project is underway – Steve is out in Livingstone now visiting NGOs and buying things like local sim cards for our phones. Amusingly, although a few of the UK networks were very keen to donate some mobile broadband bandwidth, it turns out no-one has roaming agreements in Zambia, so they couldn’t help us. That led to a lot of last minute panic trying to secure dongles and whatnot – although expenses are very tight for the trip, GPRS and even 3G coverage is really good in Zambia, and especially in the area we’ll be visiting (near Kalomo). More to the point, a PAYG sim costs about £1 and bandwidth is just 18p (999 Kwacha) per megabyte, of which we shouldn’t need many.
The awesome Helen Ling at Asus has stepped up though and pretty much offered us anything we need for the trip. It’s almost insulting to her generosity that all I’m actually asking for is the loan of a 3G-enabled Eee for two weeks, just to make staying connected really easy.
More distressing is that I still don’t have my passport, visa and tickets. Hopefully a phone call this morning will sort that though, or it’s going to be a last minute drive to London tomorrow, which I can ill afford. By the way, Maureen at the Zambian High Commission is lovely. After months of being rejected by their phone system and speaking to no one, I managed to purloin her private number. Rather than call the police and report me as a stalker she was incredibly helpful.
Three days to go and counting…