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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Mensa, a witch doctor, and the fax machine

Where did I leave off…okay, I was talking about the amazing people I met.  There were many but for the next 4-5 days I spent my time sharing stories and learning some amazing things.  I met Annu, Anna, and Joakim at the hostel.  Annu is a journalism major at GW and Anna just graduated with a degree in photojournalism from GW (George Washington).  Where, Joakim graduated with a degree in biology, was born in Malawi, and was in Zambia on an internship working with lions at a gamepark.  It was luck meeting them because they happened to be heading to Livingstone on the same day and as a result they offered me a ride.  Joakim's mother worked for the Finish embassy and so we were able to use a private vehicle for the trip.  This came in handy partially because instead of being hassled for tolls by the Zambian oleic, when they take a look at your license plate you quickly become very important and are allowed to pass.  Secondly, you have more room and the absence of little kids peeing on your lap is just icing on the cake.  

Along the way to Livingstone we caught up on each others lives and played a fe games to pass the time.  Upon arriving to Livingstone, in particular, Jollyboys Backpackers (an oasis of living and good karma) we got situated in our rooms and headed to the restaurant at Jollyboys to have a quick dinner.  This quick dinner turned into hours as we vegan playing the game-2 truths and a lie.  Having not played this before, I was a little slower than the others.  While playing this game, I learned that Annu was in Mensa, Anna's grandfather invented the FAX MACHINE and Joakim was kidnapped by a local witch doctor in Malawi after he was born.  I know…quite some impressive stories.  

The next day we all traveled to Victoria Falls together and had an amazing  experience.  After some time we parted ways-me, to jump off the bridge over Victoria Falls and the others to swing into a gorge a ways up the Zambezi river.  I also was able to visit the dam just opposite of Victoria Falls-where Livingstone and the surrounding areas including many of the schools get their electricity from.  The rest of my time in Livingstone, Zambia was spent researching Lion and Rocket stoves as well as researching ways to convert areas of the desert into a semi-habitable  place and how to generate electrical energy from sand.  I read an interesting article online concerning the Chinese and how they were turning parts of the Sahara into forests through a process involving converting sand into silicon and using this silicon to produce conditions that are conducive to creating forests. 

1 comment:

  1. Hey Alan,

    I came across your blog the other day and I just wanted to tell you that I think what you're doing is amazing. I spent 3 months living in Moshi this past January. I was doing an internship through Cross Cultural Solutions. I worked at Faraja Orphan Center, Neema Orphanage, and BCC, Building and Caring Community Center - a daycare for kids with special needs. It was the most incredible experience of my life, and to be honest, if I didn't have to come back for school (and if I hadn't ran out of money!) I'd probably still be in TZ right now!

    But I hope you have a wonderful trip! You're really doing something great over there and you should be so proud of yourself! All the traveling you're doing sounds amazing! I never got outside of TZ due to all the work for my internship, but I did make it to Dar for a bit, and also a bunch of trips to Arusha and surrounding villages, and then climbing Kili! I miss Africa so much! But good luck with everything! You're really doing something truly inspiring!

    Hongera on Kili! So cool!
    Bahati nzuri!

    --Caitlin

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