Laurel and Associates, Ltd. – Madison, WI



On September 5, 2013, Posted by , In Travelogue, By , , With Comments Off on Lusaka

I forgot to tell you about lunch yesterday. I had quail for the first time and it was absolutely delicious!

My other choices included braised oxtail and bream (a fish, white meat, a trillion bones, complete with head).

I’m actually eating very well at lunch- some chicken, seasonable vegetables, fried rice on Tuesday. Quail, curried potatoes, seasonal vegetables and salad on Wednesday. We eat out on the patio, with a lovely breeze.

Today, Financial Management, went very well. As a matter of fact, we ended at 3:30 instead of 5 p.m. So I’m thinking that I’ll move a complicated costing exercise from Module 3 to Module 4. That will address the stated desire and need for more time on the other content in Module 3.

Vivian and I had a long chat at lunch. She is the youngest of 8 children and grew up on a farm where she worked in the field growing and harvesting maize and carried water on her head.

Four of her siblings died of HIV Aids, leaving 13, 10, 7 and 4 children respectively. Vivian has assumed responsibility for any of the children who want to go to school, paying their tuition directly to the schools.

Here are other snippets from our conversation:

In Zambia, the wedding, the bridal shower and the wedding reception are all held on the same day. The gifts given in the bridal shower are all for the kitchen and may include a $2000 refrigerator! I told Vivian about wedding registers at stores- and that I’ve never seen a requested item of that size on those!

The bride’s family pays for what she needs for the wedding, but the groom’s family pays for the wedding itself.

Pre-marital sex and cohabitation is not culturally acceptable. As a matter of fact, if an unmarried girl gets pregnant, her parents can sue the father.

Vivian is very unhappy about her niece’s wedding. Since she is her late sister’s daughter, Vivian feels responsible for her. Apparently, the girl already has a 1 ½ child with the man she wants to marry. The niece is 27 and works, although not at a well-paying job. Her groom does no work, just lives with his brother.

Vivian said that a lot of Zambians are very lazy. She has a very strong work ethic, due to her rural upbringing. She said that land in Zambia is free- all someone has to do is talk to the village chief and ask for it. But she also said that Zambians in the city do not want to move to the country.

There are about 26 million people in Zambia and 3 million of them live in Lusaka.

On the way back to the hotel, John and Vivian drove me around a bit. I saw the American Embassy, which is an enormous fortified and highly guarded place. Understandably.

The President of Zambia lives in the middle of a huge forested area in the middle of Lusaka. Right across the street is a military barracks and a military hospital. John said that you don’t want to have your car break down there, because the military will get you out of there in a hurry.

Vivian had told me about raising chickens on their farm, which she visits on the weekends. They also harvested 20 TONS of maize.

Other miscellaneous items: John had told me the first day we met that I should hold my handbag close to my chest when I walk. That way, no one will try to steal it.

John mentioned that expatriates live in gated compounds for safety and security. They are too vulnerable living separately.

As in Nigeria, there is barbed wire on top of walls and fences.

A young woman, Lorraine, had very long hair in many braids. I asked her about it- it takes 3 hours to weave in synthetic hair to make it so long. When I said that I would never have been able to bear having my hair pulled so tightly, she told me that it hurts s much that she can’t sleep on it for two days. Good grief! What women do to be stylish.

So, four modules down, four to go next week. The participants have been very appreciative of the programs.

Today was a real eye opener for me. Here they are, running these medical training institutions, worried about financing- and they have no idea what an income statement, balance sheet or cash flow statement is. With the exception of the largest institution, their record keeping systems, if they have even have them, are comprised of paper files in filing cabinets. I know that they left the session with a much better idea of the importance of those documents and a new ability to read and interpret them. They also left with a long list of questions that they need to be asking their accountants on a regular basis.

Tomorrow (Friday), I go to Livingston to spend the weekend at Victoria Falls. My flight from Lusaka is at noon and will arrive around 1 in the afternoon. I’ve got a hotel booked. I’ll be there until 1 p.m. on Sunday. After I get back, John and Vivian will pick me up so that we can go set up the training room again, in preparation for the 5th day of training that starts on Monday.

I’ll tell you about my adventures tomorrow.





Comments are closed.