Life in Kalabo - a Rural Town
In the late 70's I spent three years as a teacher in Kalabo, a rural town in the Western Province of Zambia, situated between the Zambezi flood plain and the Angolan border. There are five things I miss about life in Kalabo.
Crossing the Zambezi flood plain: I will never forget the first time I flew, on a Zambian Airways flight, over the flood plain, landing in Kalabo's airport, an hour's walk from the school. I've also crossed in a 'banana boat', with an outboard engine, which takes six to seven hours, giving you plenty of time to take in the wonderful scenery and bird life. Crossing by speedboat, which I did twice, was very exciting.
The African night sounds: at 10.00pm the school generator was turned off. After some reading. by oil lamp, I would lie in bed listenin g to the Zambian night sounds. There were the shrill chirrups of the Cicadas, the bull sounds of the male frogs during the mating season, accompanied by the sound of distant drums from traditional celebrastions in the local villages. One sound I did not appreciate was the humming of the mosquito, the carrier of the malaria parasite!
Traditional ceremonies: public holidays were taken up with celebrations which included traditional dancing and drumming. One of the highlights was the agricultural show in which the schools participated. Unique to Western Province is the Kuomboka. This is when the Barotse King or Litunga moves his household using the royal barge, the Nalikwanda, from Lealui on the flood plain, to Limilunga near Mongu. This annual event takes place at the end of March and has become a tourist attraction. (to be continued).
Life in Kalabo - a Rural Town (continuation)
The onset of the rains. By the end of October the weather was so hot and dry that people were literally praying for the rain. Preceding the rains were the lightning storms over the flood plain coming closer every day. When the rains were heavy vast areas would be flooded with only the tops of trees showing above the water. One teacher from England named his houe 'Sea View'
Snakes. There is something about snakes that excites as well as well as frightens me. Kalabo had its fair share, including gaboon vipers (I saw one), adders, boomslangs, and cobras (one was killed in a teacher's toilet). The trees, such as mango, banana, and bougainvillea, povided shelter and a source of food, such as insects, frogs, and birds, for them.
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