Speaking to Sam last night, she said she received my postcard from Zambia. On it I wrote: “This is my favorite place! It’s fabulous! You would love it too!”
Apparently, I write the same exact thing on every postcard I send her…But it’s true! I do love everyplace that I’m visiting and at the time I think it’s simply wonderful!
And Zambia was no exception. I spent 10 days in Livingstone – the longest I’ve spent anywhere in my 9 months on the road. So I guess, I really do love it in Zambia! Here’s why:
MEET (Cool Meet Ups) – David Livingstone Hotel Veranda. Swanky! The continental breakfast was $15, but it was worth it for the fresh brewed coffee alone (a luxury in these parts, since most coffee is instant). I stayed and had about 4 cups, watching the Zambezi River float by.
EAT (Tasty Eats) – Lunch at YCTC. The lunch was simple: chicken and rice, but it was prepared by the teenager caterers at the Youth Community Training Center (YCTC). YCTC runs training courses in 4 industries: carpentry, textiles, plumbing, and catering, and then places the youth with apprenticeships. A great program working to help provide valuable skills to youth as they enter the job market in Zambia.
SEE (Must-see Sights) – Victoria Falls – Zimbabwe View. A couple of friends and I decided to cross the border to Zimbabwe for the day to check out the famous falls from this rival vantage. The view was impressive!
Known as “the Cloud that Thunders,” Victoria Falls separates the two countries of Zimbabwe and Zambia. The falls are fed by the Zambezi River and are considered the largest falls in the world. The falls are 108 meters (360 feet high), with more than 38,000 cubic flow of water per second.
The spray from the falls usually rises to a height of over 400 meters (1,300 ft), and sometimes even twice as high during the wet season. Luckily we were visiting during the dry season, which meant we actually got to see the falls (sometimes you only see mist). Standing at twice the height of Niagara Falls, Vic Falls was truly a spectacular sight!
SHOP (Gotta Have) – Bark Purse. Bark is used throughout sub-Saharan Africa for clothing and bags. I got my first bark purses in Uganda’s Sse Sse Islands, about 5 years back. I thought this one was kind of sweet (and the right size for a credit card / ID), so I bought it!
ACTIVITY (Gotta Do) – Devil’s Armchair. I’ll admit, this wasn’t one of the smartest things I’ve ever done. I didn’t even know where I was going, but just followed along when a group of my friends started to wade across the Zambezi River.
There were about 10 of us and we hired 5 local guides $21 each for them to guide us across. At first we had to walk sideways on a beam about 3 inches wide, then we “hippo-ed” across some open water, and finally scrambled over some rocks to a place called “Devil’s Armchair.”
We were at a swimming hole with a waterfall, about a third of the way across the lip of Victoria Falls. The armchair itself is a hole in the rock – about a foot from the edge – where you dangle yourself. I did it, but it was terrifying.
Afterwards, when I viewed where we were from the opposite side of the falls, I became positively sick. In fact, just seeing myself perched on the edge of the falls in this video is gut-wrenching…and I’m laughing and smiling like I’m not 6 inches from plunging to my death. Really, it boggles the mind.
Watch my giggling stupidity:
Can’t see this video? Click here: Erin at Vic Falls
I found out later that 2 elephants had actually gone over the falls the week before. Ay caramba!
GIVE (Greatest Need) – Lushomo & Lubashi – two charities founded by my good friend Antony.
Lushomo is a residence for sexually assaulted girls, some as young as age 7. They come to the residence after they are removed from their families and are awaiting their court cases to come to trial. In many cases, they never return to their abusive homes but live at the home, attending school and receiving counseling.
Lubashi, which means “family” in the Silozi language, is a residential care facility for orphans and vulnerable children. They admit children between the ages of 5-10 and care for them until they are taken in by families or can sustain themselves. They have about 60 children in residence now.
To honor Antony and support his great work, the GoErinGo! Fund made a $500 donation to Global Partners for Health (the organization’s fiscal sponsor in the U.S.). Care to make a donation too? Visit: www.spreadhealth.org
ENJOY (Extra Fun) – Microlight over Victoria Falls. I had never really heard of microlights before, but then my friend Lucy signed up for it, and I thought I needed to go too!
Basically, you’re sitting in a paraglider with a motor, flying about 50 feet above the Zambezi River and Victoria Falls. The view was unmatched! Especially at sunset when we went up. We saw rainbows over the falls, as well as crocodiles and hippos in the water below.
(Note: these were the waters we were swimming in earlier to get to the Devil’s Armchair. Yikes!)