Health and Hubcaps

The US State Department runs a very comprehensive website devoted to international travel information for each country in the world. The site is full of useful information, and dire warnings. We approach Lusaka with a healthy dose of concern, especially since the US Embassy has issued several warnings about carjackings in Livingstone and Lusaka in recent months. We have to navigate from one side of the city to another, with maps with conflicting information. The route is laced with several roundabouts, adding to the challenge of driving on the left in city traffic.

Vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian traffic all increase as we approach the city. The west side is the industrial side of town, as we started to get hemmed in with high walls surrounding large buildings and mountains of scrap. Building materials are piled along the road, and in places women are working, breaking larger rocks into smaller gravel by hand.

The congestion increases as we approach the city limits, as vendor stalls stand cheek to jowl outside the factory walls. They leave only a small pathway bordering the paved road, full of pedestrians, bicycles and carts. Many stalls sell clothing, cell phone minutes, shoes, tools, plastic baskets and buckets. One stall advertises “Traditional Medicine and Hubcaps.” One man goes by with a wheelbarrow full of cattle heads. Vendors on foot walk between the stopped vehicles hawking shirts, hats, or anything else they can carry. We did as advised by the State Department and Safari Drive: we kept our windows rolled up and doors locked.

My job was to keep us headed east, helping Steve exit each roundabout at the right spot. We watched for the big shopping centers, since Lusaka was our re-supply stop, but we missed them while trying to keep track of traffic and pedestrians. Soon we were at the Lusaka airport, so we knew we were not far from our stop: Pioneer Camp. We kept going, knowing that we had a short drive the next day. We would have plenty of time to backtrack to Lusaka for fuel and groceries in the morning.

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