State of Zambia

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It’s been two years now that we’ve called Zambia home.DSC_0825

Our life here has been blessed with almost magical simplicity, like a step back in time.  We wonder if life was easier in the “olden days” and it seems like this is true!  With no preoccupation with the internet and cooking almost all of our food at home, we ride bikes in the neighborhood and visit friends on the weekends.  It does seem kind of easy, to keep our kids close and have time to be a family.  I might have believed this couldn’t exist in our modern world except I’m watching my boys live it, right in front of me.  We like it.

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And even simpler yet is the life that surrounds us.  A subsistence economy, little cash in the villages, and a culture that holds greetings, religion, and personal interactions sacred.  No electricity or running water, very little value placed on time and its passage.  What an incredible life experience to also see this being lived right before our eyes.

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But lately, Zambia has been having problems.  The currency started sliding earlier this year, and it is now worth about half of what it was when we arrived 2 years ago.  The President died, a new one was elected, and it’s unclear whether his interests include doing what’s best for the country.  A combination of bad decisions and too little rain has left the reservoirs low, which means there is not enough electricity to power the copper mines that support Zambia’s economy.  The people who actually have electricity only have it 30-40% of the time.  This includes our neighbors and fellow ex-pats.  Our house, however, is on the same grid as the President’s house, so guess what?  Our electricity never goes out.

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I guess all governments can be accused of sacrificing long-term security for short-term gains.  They are made of humans, after all.  Does this explain, too, why the animal poaching continues?  Why rich foreigners are allowed to swoop in and “buy a hunt,” privately of course, even though all the animals are disappearing?

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Do they ever wonder if people will come to Zambia anymore, after the animals are all gone?  Because with no water, no electricity, no animals and an AIDS epidemic, they might need to consider another plan.

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