Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Last Coaching

Tuesday 9 November: I think this was supposed to be a grand finale to the Zambian adventure but neither of us had much to say - or really knew what we were there for. Or were at cross purposes - I resisted saying much about the first coaching session too.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

The Photographs

I finally got my photographs sorted out - it's back to my own web site if you want to see them. Click here:


Tuesday, 5 October 2010


Tuesday 5 October: As I forewarned in my last post I did a spot on Tuesday telling the next ILO intake about my experiences. Apart from a problem with my memory stick, it seemed to go reasonably well. And on Friday I had a sandwich with someone from the same intake as me who is going to Lusaka this weekend and passed on to her a bundle of kwachas and my unused inset repellent! She will also be working at PPHPZ - with a different organisation but one that is closely linked to them. Now, after a few days to rest and recuperate, I am being assailed with evaluations! It's a fair cop - but not as exciting as pre-assignment briefing. I have though more or less completed the article for The Slate.

Sunday, 26 September 2010


Sunday 26 September: We were offered 'dinner' at about midnight in Addis Ababa. I am not sure that is what I would have called it - lamb (more bone than meat - a lot more!) with some sauce and vegetables - but it was quite nice all the same. This was followed by a visit to a fascinating 'religious' tourist gift shop (yes, in an airport) where I was seduced by a hand crafted crib!

Then at around 4.00 we took off. About an hour later I was dragged from my slumbers by the question "Chicken fish or pasta?" I declined. Purple parking was generally uneventful and this was followed by the mild drama of the M4 being closed due to an accident.

And there I suppose ends this story - except that there are bound to be a few consequentials and follow ups - for a start I have on Tuesday to give a talk about my experiences to the next intake. And there is the final coaching - cf 16 July - was it 10 weeks ago?! And I have promised the office an article for The Slate. So maybe there will be a small amount of 'mopping up' yet!

Oh, and having returned home, it is such a joy to have an internet connection that does what you expect it to!

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Homeward Bound

Saturday 25 September, Addis Ababa airport: Addis Ababa airport at 10.30 in the evening is a lot more inviting than at 7.30 in the morning. I had been idly thinking that it probably would not be raining – and it probably isn’t – but I had forgotten that at this time of night it is dark. This is an interesting place. All prices are quoted in Birrs, Dollars and Euros and you can also pay sterling. But what is particularly interesting is that some places take coins and give change in the different currencies too – rather than demanding high value notes and giving change in the local currency.

Last night’s meal went well in what I can perhaps best describe as a kind of ‘fusion’ restaurant. Between us we had sushi and chicken wings to start, followed by fish, pasta and chicken schnitzel. It was very good – I also had my first Mozi beer – beer from Livingstone ‘The beer that thunders.’ We then concluded the evening saying nice things about each other, and how much we had enjoyed the last few weeks. (Which, from my perspective, I know to be true.) I returned to the apartment thinking that it was some days since I had seen a power cut there to find a note on the mat saying that due to low pressure the water would be cut off for about half of the day (in 3 periods) – it did not say for how long.

Today packing was relatively straightforward and, having a couple of hours to spare, I called a taxi and went to the City Centre market for a (very) quick look around and a few snaps.

Here are a couple of shots of the outside area:

This next couple cost me K2,000 – the lady (the one on the right) wanted K5,000 but was willing to negotiate.

However, having got my camera out, I began to attract a crowd and local lads began queuing up to be photographed free of charge. (If I had been thinking, I suppose I should have charged them to offset the cost of the chicken photos.)

And then to Lusaka airport and a cheese and tomato toastie with some of the best chips I have had for years. At the time of drafting, my 2.16 flight from Addis Ababa to London is scheduled not to leave until 3.30 – that is another 4 hours – so off to the Internet Café to post this. (In fact, the Internet café let me down and this has had to be posted the following day!)

Friday, 24 September 2010

Last day

24 September: This is my last day at PPHPZ and will have to be my last post before leaving for Britain. It is also going to have to be a lunch time post as I have to see someone out of the office this afternoon and am not planning to return. But that is not guaranteed – there seemed just a hint of panic to finish a few things before I leave today which might just cause me to have to return. Someone keeps asking me what time my flight is on Saturday!

The plan is later to go out for a meal to celebrate (mark? – it depends on your point of view) my departure. I am not sure where we are going or what type of food we will be having. It is interesting how the guide books and even the Zambian Tourist people talk about the fine range of food available in Zambia: Indian, Chinese, Mexican, European … . I should add that the Zambian food I have had has been pretty good too!

(not taken in Lusaka, actually.)

I feel I should end with some reflections on the month but it is too early for that. And anyway it might not be raining in Addis Ababa where I have a five hour wait between flights. And then I have to find my car in the purple car park …

PS. I have just discovered that the purple trees that have so impressed me are Jacaranda trees.

PPS. Monkey update: I also told someone local about my experiences with the monkeys. He was not quite as sanguine about the encounter as I was and said they can be a bit ‘cheeky’. I suppose I should be grateful that it was a hot day.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Two days to go

23 September: I have just looked at the weather forecast for the next 5 days: the pictures show a 'cloudless sun' every day; max temperatures 31 or 32; pressure 1014mb – 1016 mb and visibility very good every day. Must be a tough job being a meteorologist here in the summer. (I did just look at Cardiff for the weekend too – it is going to be back to the real world soon!)

Sign at a hairdresser’s round the corner : Hair Treated, Dyed and Freezed – I wonder if the latter is what we would call a perm? Another offered Nails, Weaving and Fish tails – and another Dreadlocks.

And the coffee has returned – we ran out for a couple of days!