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May 2007 Travel Zambia 13 Chisenga Bwalanda grew up in the Copper Belt. She came to London 17 years ago, where she now works as a sales rep for a pharmaceutical company. Chisenga (‘Patricia’ to her UK friends) talked to Travel Zambia about how it feels to be living abroad. How often do you go home? About once every three years. It can be a challenge, especially if I leave it for too long (like now!), because everybody wants a piece of me: a two- or three-week visit is just not long enough to spread myself around my innumerable extended family and friends. Also, it can be quite sobering to see others who are less fortunate than myself. I inevitably return with a renewed zest for life, and a desire to get involved in some fundraising project in Zambia. What’s the first thing you do when you get back to Zambia? I go straight to the market to buy all my favourite foods: chapatwa (dried fish), chibwabwa ya kusashila (pumpkin leaves with groundnuts), kalembula (sweet potato leaves), ifishimu (caterpillars, yum!) and chikanda (don’t ask, just trust me when I say it’s to die for!). And, if it’s the rainy season, mushrooms, mangos and all the other fruits. What differences do you find between life in London and life in Zambia? Everything! In a nutshell, I would say the material side of life is very attractive in the UK, but the human side is much richer in Zambia. Back home everybody talks to you – even if you’ve never met them before. Before I came to England, I wondered why foreigners always commented on how friendly we Zambians are. But I soon appreciated what they meant when I first got on a train in the UK: it was deathly silent, with everyone totally engrossed in their newspapers. I found that really strange! But on the flip side, it can sometimes be quite exhilarating to just jump on a train and feel anonymous – to the point that if, say, your wig blew off, you could just place it back on your head, safe in the knowledge that it won’t make the headlines in The Post the next day. What do you most miss about home? The fruit and veg, as I mentioned, and the village chicken (I guess you’d call it free range here), which is just so tasty. Oh, and another thing is that I always feel attractive, no matter how much weight I’ve put on or lost. Zambian men are not afraid to express their appreciation for the female body, whatever its size or shape! Walking down Oxford Street, you sometimes wonder whether passing men actually notice you at all. If you could show a Londoner one thing in Zambia, what would it be? Apart from the usual Victoria Falls and safari stuff, I would take them on a roller-coaster ride to visit all my friends and relatives, and assault their taste buds at each stop with something totally Zambian. That would give them a real ‘taste’ of Zambia – pardon the pun! Chisenga is cycling from London to Paris on 13 June to raise money for the Cecily Eastwood Zambian AIDS Orphans appeal. Find out more at www.justgiving.com/chisenga. Catherine Kakumbi has worked as a scout for the South Luangwa Conservation Society (SLCS) since 2000. She spoke to Travel Zambia about her work. Why did you start working for the SLCS? To help conserve wildlife. Also I needed a job. What do you most enjoy about your job? I enjoy using GPS out on patrol, and working with the information afterwards. What does your family think? They are very proud of me. I am the only one earning a salary, so they are happy about this – even the men! What’s been your biggest achievement? I won a prize at the Zambia Labour Day celebrations, for dedication to work. Have you had any special training? I did ten weeks intensive paramilitary training. This included musketry, ballistics, court skills, GPS, tactical ambushing and tracking. Is your work ever dangerous? Wild animals can be dangerous and poachers occasionally shoot at you. But it is also adventurous. What are your ambitions for the future? To continue working to stop these poachers. I know we can succeed: we just need to keep trying. SLCS works to promote conservation and education in and around South Luangwa National Park. Find out more at www.slcs-zambia.org A London eye RACHEL McROBB RACHEL McROBB Scout and about View from abroad CHARITY PHIRI

14 Travel Zambia May 2007 The sitatunga (Tragelaphus spekei) belongs to the ‘spiral-horn’ tribe of antelope (tragelaphines), along with the kudu, bushbuck and others. It lives primarily in papyrus swamps, where it browses on aquatic vegetation. Unique adaptations to this watery lifestyle include long, splayed hooves for moving over swampy terrain, and an ability to hide from predators by submerging itself with only nostrils protruding. Sitatungas are widely distributed in wetlands across central Africa, from the Okavango to the Sudd, but their reclusive nature and impenetrable habitat means that they are rarely seen. Zambia has a healthy population, especially in the Bangweulu, Busanga and Sumbu regions. The Fibwe tree hide, an elevated viewing platform in Kasanka National Park, offers perhaps the best and most reliable sightings in Africa. February’s record rains brought the Luangwa Valley its heaviest floods since 1978. South Luangwa National Park was hit hard, with many lodges washed out. Tales abound of hair-raising evacuations. Kapani Safari Lodge (Norman Carr Safaris), set on higher land, became a makeshift base for many beleaguered operators, while anybody with a boat was pressed into ferry service up and down the river. Local people had fewer resources to fall back on. Hundreds of huts collapsed, half the local schools were flooded and many families lost their crops. The year ahead will be a tough one, but people are already returning to rebuild their villages. “The positive spirit in the local Rising from the floodscommunity amongst all the adversity is just incredible,” reports Anna Tolan of Chipembele Wildlife Education Trust, who work with schools in the area. The waters were quick to recede. By early March the clean-up operation was well under way in the park and the lodges preparing for the new season. The floods left behind heavy erosion and large deposits of sand and silt. Many animals will have perished, but in the long term many more will benefit. Floods have always been part of life in Luangwa, creating the distinctive mix of ox-bow lagoons and fertile grazing that makes it one of Africa’s richest wildlife reserves. To contribute to the Flood Appeal at Chipembele, visit www.chipembele.org JULIET SHENTON, SHENTON SAFARIS Boys own. Only the male sitatunga has horns. Children in the Mfuwe district stayed at home when floodwaters reached their schools. Swamp walker Wildlife focus