First things first: our money problems got (kind of) solved, so we were able to continue quickly. Finally we had a big amount of ‘flappen’ again and we could go to the shops in the city centre like a ‘rijke tata’ to buy all our plumbing components (bends, t-pieces, valves,…). However, as the plumbing work continued we discovered bit by bit that our plumber Mr. Phiri didn’t really deserve all the credit we were giving him. He often forgot things, mentioned them way too late, he didn’t really listen to our suggestions and he never discussed his ideas (which often turned out to lack logic) with us. The shitty pipe connection of the school caused us a lot of problems, yet the way Mr. Phiri was trying to solve it caused even more problems. He broke the school’s chlorinator and a lot of other things in the process. While trying to connect our set-up to the schools pipe lines, we accidently cut off the water supply of both the school and the neighbourhood… By now we are experts on the field of no running water and washing with buckets and all the inconveniences it brings, so we were determined to solve this as quickly as possible. The difficult situation forced us to work during the whole weekend from early in the morning until long after sunset, to call in a lot of extra help and to spend a big amount of money – ‘cheap is expensive’. At least we timed this perfectly (on purpose of course) to be able to enjoy the beautiful starry night in Kanyama and the falling stars during the peak period. We could really use some wishes at this moment. In the end we decided to fire Mr. Phiri (though we felt very bad about it because he had become a good friend) and to give Arjan and Hellen an official promotion to plumber. Luckily Cedric always brought his camera to record everything, so we can relive these nice moments when we are back home.
The next days we stayed late in Kanyama and focused on connecting our pipes, finding the right river sand and gravel and constructing a fence around the set-up to prevent robbing. Meanwhile, Cedric was working on a poster and a sketch of our installation to explain everything to the pupils and the teachers. We also made some friends, teachers in the school and craftsmen in the market nearby and we enjoyed having a drink with them in the local pub after work. However, the long exhausting days were starting to take their toll. They brought both Gloria and Arjan down (a bit of fever, headache, running nose,…). Eventually we managed to finish everything (with a lot of help from the children in the school) and Gloria and Arjan got back on their feet pretty fast. Even the water emerging from the tank to clean the sand looked very clear already! Hallelujah! Now we could celebrate our little chunk of success on our next safari trip in south Luangwa national park.
We are still trying to figure out why all safaris are per definition decadently British, but we appreciated the drink and cooled little towel at our arrival anyway. To get there we travelled almost as long as our trip from Belgium to Zambia (12 hour!), yet it was worth it. We saw hyenas, zebras, giraffes, leopards, lions,…. Elephants strolled through our lodge and hippos kept us awake at night with their loud snoring (or maybe it was Gloria…). We met Timon and Pumbaa, but we didn’t dare to sing songs from the lion king, because of the high possibility that Arjan would start puking. It was an amazing trip which charged us up again like true Duracel rabbits. Although Arjan was feeling a bit homesick due to the lack of nchima.
Now all that’s left is adjusting the flow, monitoring the water and informing the teachers and pupils about the completed installation.
Closing off in Gloria’s way: ‘So guys, I think I am going to zzzleep now…’