After Weeks of blogging about Zambia, I am actually getting to the end of my Zambia series and regular blogging will eventually resume. That being said, I do promise a round up, with plenty of details for you to join in and be part of the fun too.
I have said it before and I will say it again, when you travel something happens to time and everything changes. It feels as if, while you have been off and discovered new places and things, the folk back home have stood still and not moved. I am sure that for those back home it is quite the opposite… they were busy doing things and getting things done and I had vanished out of time. Needless to say time didn’t actually stand still for any of us…
Se7en + 1 Timeous Lessons Learnt in Zambia:
- There is Time to Plant Trees and Make Friends: The magic of planting trees had me, long before I actually knew how to plant a tree… crazy I know. The thought of planting trees in one of the world’s most deforested areas appealed to my heart. It turns out that in order to plant trees you have to be a people person and I had to climb out from behind a screen and mingle. It was as easy as you might think and there was a whole lot of mental strategy and planning that went into it… and then I loved it. I loved meeting folk from faraway places and spending time with children who had hopes and dreams very similar to my own children. The thing is, you could get professionals to go in and plant rows and rows of tree like machines, and planting with volunteers is a slow process indeed, as each of us has to be taught and trained. But the relationships built while planting and the pride of a school child in owning a tree that will provide fruit is worth taking a little longer. I am not the best tree planter by any means, I am slow and pedantic, but I love it and that has to count for something.
- There is a Time to Just Dive In and Paint Murals: I have painted murals over the years, but I have always been a little anxious about taking that first step. Well one thing about the GreenPop team is that “hesitation” is a word they just don’t know. See a wall and grab some folk and dive right in. The mechanics of splitting warm colors and cold colors and creating a focal point, are nothing compared to spending time with a group of kids and seeing them turn a white wall into a canvas. May I suggest that you grab a couple of kids and go… dive in, it is such fun, and very good for the soul.
- There is a Time to Heal and Learn New Skills: The very first lesson we learnt upon arrival in Livingston, was the “how and why” behind the deforestation. In a nutshell, the cost of a very fragile and unreliable electricity supply in Zambia is exorbitant, so they rely on coal for their domestic power. Coal comes from the local woodlands. Teak trees, that are hundreds of years old, are chopped down and slow-burned in kilns over a period of two weeks. Smoke rises from these mounds as the slow burning fire works its way through the kiln. The wood is transformed into charcoal for domestic use and sold in bags around town.
- There is a Time to Make a Difference One by One: One of the things the GreenPop leaders do to help their volunteers and and the local folk work together as a unit is gather in a circle to begin with and get to know each other. Here we were all learning that every little bit counts. first we clap one finger, then we clap two, then we clap with three fingers, and four and five. Naturally the sound is tiny and finally there is a loud clap.The thing is a forest can only be planted a tree at a time and each of us can make a difference, one voice at a time really can join together to make a difference.
- There is a Time to Take Charge and Make Changes: Years ago I wrote a post that I never intended to be a green mother, it just turned out to be a lot easier. But I can tell you that after a visit in a green camp it was definitely time to up our green game significantly. After years of procrastinating we have a compost pile of note… why oh why did this take so long? Between composting and making eco-bricks our household garbage has reduced dramatically and we are way less than a bag a week. We also made full use of the Yuppie Chef birthday special and grabbed a WonderBag, and it has been working round the clock for us. Don’t even ask why this took so long, I have no Idea. Little things really do make a big difference and it just isn’t hard to implement.
- There is a Time for Team Work Even at Home: In our house everyone does chores and jobs generally get done but nobody, except one player was ever been keen to wash dishes. One child took forever, another is talented at smashing, and all in all dish washing was pretty much left to me and took literally hours off each day. But after spending a couple of days in the GreenPop camp I couldn’t help noticing the efficiency of the dishwashing system. Each person washes there own dishes after each meal. To be honest, the wall of dishes in our house can range from frightening to terrifying alarmingly fast, but nobody is afraid of one or two dishes and even the wildest or the slowest of dishwashers is able to wash the plate they used for breakfast, lunch and supper. I haven’t washed a wall of dishes since I got home from Zambia and I never ever intend to go back to the way things were again.
- There is a Time to Rest: I am the ultimate busy bee… always doing and moving from one project to the next. If I run out of steam with a project, well I know a change is as good as a holiday, so I change what I am doing and carry on with another. But I have always heard that folk that rest are so much more productive. So I took this opportunity to rest and catch up… and without the business of home I slept out all the tiredness and finally worked out what “working from rest” actually means. It means embracing the afternoon nap and if it gets too late and you don’t have a blog post – then you go to bed, because tomorrow is another day and your blog readers… will still be there. For years I just pushed through tiredness as one does… now I don’t even think of it. So blogging less and getting so much more done. There is indeed a lot more strength in rest. If you find yourself battling to just take yourself off to bed, and pushing through just one more thing… then get someone else to send you to bed… do it for yourself and everyone you live with too!!!
- There is a Time to Make Memories: I have never really liked having my photograph taken and the last heap of photographs that I had taken were on our wedding day… that’s more than twenty years ago, not to mention more than half a dozen pregnancies. Turns out the person in my minds eye is very far removed from reality. The fact is I hardly know myself, in so many ways… motherhood can actually do that to a person, without you even noticing. I do realise that our minds are very clever at liking what we look at a lot, so in our culture we see a lot more of other “fake” folk in print that we see ourselves. The thing is those other folk are not necessarily real people… it is time to be in a few more photographs so that I can learn to like the person that I am right now. Not to mention, this is the face my kids know so well… I am always championing their causes and they were thrilled to see a little crazy triumph in my eyes when I visited the Victoria Falls.
The woodlands here need time to recover. There are so many quick fixes… at present foresters break the kilns open when they find come upon them. But that also takes away a livelihood, and a host of dependent family members will suffer, not to mention the tree is already chopped down. Other solutions take longer, find more sustainable sources of power and remove the dependence on coal is a good place to begin.
Previous Posts in the Zambia Series:
- Se7en Stories to Begin With…
- The Journey that is Traveling to Zambia by Bus
- Feasting in an Eco-Friendly Kitchen
- Life in the Green Green-Pop Campsite
- There is so much more to Planting a Tree than Planting a Tree.
- Se7en + 1 Things to Make and Do in Zambia.
- The Incredible People You Can Meet in Zambia.
- A Trip to Zambia and a Market Tour.