The Things People Do On A Sunday


This blog entry about the events of Saturday, April 17, 2004 was originally posted on April 20, 2004.

DAY 182:  “We have to do something exciting today, so Erik can have something to write about,” Shelle told George in the car as we were driving to the market to get fresh vegetables.

“Where should we go?” George asked me.

“It doesn’t matter,” I said.  “I can always just write about The Things People Who Live Here Do On A Sunday.”

“A CASTLE AND A MOSI,” I ordered at the bar of the Family store, which was part grocery, part cafeteria, part liquor store, part casino if you can imagine that.  It was Sunday, but I’m sure any day was good enough to sit around with a round of cold ones.  We were waiting for a guy called Love, who usually sold handmade cards at the nearby Northmead Market, to finish washing George’s car for a quick kwacha.  It was at the Northmead Market that we had come to buy fresh vegetables for the dinner Shelle and George were going to prepare that night.

This was just one errand in a bunch of errands we ran that morning, which included grocery shopping (I stocked up on tuna and ramen noodles for the inevitable departure from the ZEHRP house); buying my early Tuesday morning bus ticket to Chipata, the Zambian border town with Malawi; eating a familiar tuna sandwich from Subway (once it hit my lips, it was so good!), and withdrawing three times the maximum amount of cash out of The Magical ATM that could accept MasterCard-based bank cards in case I wouldn’t find another for a while.  If Shelle had her way, the morning of errands would have included going to all the “TO LET” signs around town (that’s how they say “FOR RENT”), so she could paint an “I” in the space between the “O” and the “L” — after of which she’d snicker and giggle like a little schoolgirl.

The Things People Who Live Here Do On A Sunday would have regularly been an entry about hanging out at the Hooligan’s bar all day.  We were thinking of “going for one,” but as anyone knows, “going for one” really means “going for at least five,” or in some cases, staying out until 3 a.m. and waking up in a van down by the river!  This is why Shelle advised against Hooligan’s as fun as it was, since she and George had bought a big angel fish to make for dinner — people were invited as well.

What turned into an “Off-Sunday” of the people living in Lusaka turned out to be an episode of The Things I Might Have Done On A Sunday Back In My Old Apartment If I Wasn’t On This Trip.  I realized I could directly connect the ZEHRP ethernet cable into my iBook, and so I sat in a familiar scene, on an easy chair with computer in lap to write, IM and surf the web, all in front of a TV and DVD player.  Meanwhile, Shelle did some Tae Bo.

MAKING ANGEL FISH, a delicious fish with the density of turkey, and trimmings was also a part of Shelle’s and George’s Off-Sunday.  It was Shelle’s first time baking fish but not George’s, so he did most of the cooking.  However, Shelle impressed us with her culinary skill with her tomato coconut curry sauce, which accented the fish and rice perfectly.

“We’re going to a concert if you want to come,” Megan asked us at the dinner table.  She and other fellow ZEHRPer Kevin were our dinner guests, along with Cristina and Jens who had finally made the move to their new home and were no longer residents in ZEHRP Flat 2.  While Cristina and Jens packed and moved out their room with their final belongings — so that I could move in since Helen, the occupant of “my room” was coming back the next day — Shelle, George and I joined Megan and Kevin in yet another Off-Sunday event:  going to an orchestral and choral concert in a church.  (Were you expecting the Red Hot Chili Peppers or something?)

LUSAKA HAS A FAIR AMOUNT of Muslim residents.  In the city center where in a Western city you might find a cathedral, here there was a mosque.  In fact, Emmasdale, the neighborhood where ZEHRP was located, was a big Indian Muslim community (picture above, taken by Deann) where there was another big mosque.  Everyday the prayer chants were broadcasted over loudspeakers for everyone in the area to hear.

Christianity was spread during the colonization of Africa centuries ago — from what I’ve seen, mostly sects of Protestantism.  Christianity has woven its way into modern society in subtle ways (i.e. the “In God We Trust” grocery store) to really obvious ones, as seen in a billboard campaign seen all over town:

HELL is covered in old worn sheets…
HEAVEN is covered in HARVEYTILE!

The only thing between you and God should be…

The Cathedral of the Holy Cross, an Anglican church, was where the Lusaka Music Society presented Bach’s St. John’s Passion and Michael Tippett’s Five Negro Spirituals, both parts separated by a twenty-minute intermission.  Conductor Paul Kelly led the South African soloists, music society choir and instrumentalists, a mixed group of Africans and mzungus.  There was something great about the acoustics in the nave of the cathedral; despite the lack of carols, it felt a little Christmasy in the middle of Africa, and in April too.

IN ONE LAST OFF-SUNDAY ACTIVITY, we went to a pub that wasn’t Hooligan’s:  the “Irish pub” McGarit’s in the local Holiday Inn.  I put “Irish pub” in quotes because the only thing Irish about it was the Irish blessings and other paraphernalia hanging on the wooden walls — they didn’t even have Guiness on tap. 

Drinking Castle beers was about the only usual Thing That People Who Live Here Do On A Sunday, but I’m sure that’s an event that could be enjoyed any day of the week.

Next entry: Orphans

Previous entry: Last Day With ZEHRP

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Comments for “The Things People Do On A Sunday”

  • ERIK - main pic - “muslimkidsD” is not working

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  04/20  at  01:55 PM

  • wow…that’s SOOOOOoo exciting! (he he)....maybe you guys should have painted “I"s in between “TO LET”

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  04/20  at  04:06 PM

  • I’m impressed with Shelle’s culinary skills also—she sure didn’t get them from me!  Nice hearing what she’s been doing; you write much more than she does.  Thanks!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  04/21  at  01:46 AM

  • That detailed description of the Angel tukey fish with “Shelle cury” is making me hungry!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  04/21  at  03:19 AM

  • kids pic is so cute. it’s nice to know that even in an area plagued by disease that children can still be just kids.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  04/22  at  09:06 PM

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This blog post is one of over 500 travel dispatches from the trip blog, "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World (Or Until Money Runs Out, Whichever Comes First)," originally hosted by It chronicled a trip around the world from October 2003 to March 2005, which encompassed travel through thirty-seven countries in North America, South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. It was this blog that "started it all," where Erik evolved and honed his style of travel blogging — it starts to come into focus around the time he arrives in Africa.

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