After a weekend of travel and chasing round the country finding SIM cards and currency, today started with a long car drive in a very cramped car on something that is apparently the main road from Livingstone to Lusaka. When we got into Kalomo, we’d planned to take an hour or so to settle into the motel and sort out selves out: instead, within five minutes we were being introduced to the local government dignitaries by the incredibly friend team at Response Network.
The assistant to the District Commissioner, Mr Phiric, joined us on the trip up to Simikakata – the community we’re documenting over the next couple of weeks, where we spent a couple of hours being introduced and talking to the villagers.
The area is much poorer than I was expecting. 80 or so families live in mud huts, spread across quite a large area of two or three houses at a time.
George, the Headmaster of the school, explained the community had already made 60,000 bricks for the school that needs to be built.
They’d be further along with the project, they said, but until the recent rainy season, they’d had no food. So were too hungry to work.
I asked one of the mothers who came to greet us about the maize drying in the sun behind her. Half of it was laid out on the floor, the other half in a wooden cylinder across the square.
The maize usually dries in the cylinder, before it’s ground up for pap, she explained. The last week’s rains, though, had soaked it through, so they’d spread it out to dry again. If it rains next week, they’ll have to do the same.
“Why not put a roof on the store?” I asked, “Does it have to be open to let the corn dry?”
“No,” she said, “We’re going to, but we’re waiting for the grass to grow so it’s long enough to cut and make into thatch.”
More updates over at LearnAsOne.