As you know through bits and glimpses now I went to Livingstone for a week to plant trees with Greenpop at the beginning of the month. The idea came up after I managed to survive the weekend at Platbos, realizing that maybe it was time to face two of my biggest ‘fears’: Camping and sharing close quarters with someone I don’t sleep with or who is not on my top ten friend list. I was fortunate enough to never have to share a room with a sibling and the only time I had to team up was for one year in the dorms. That went alright till my roommate decided to pick up a stranger in a bar one night and take him home. I was greeted by his sight in her bed the next morning from across the room. Awkward to say the least and I am still wondering till today if a stranger admired my uncovered butt at some point during the night. After that it was no more room sharing for me so the prospect of sharing a tiny tent, well, to call it even worse would be an understatement.
Though this time I didn’t even think about it too much, I just really, really wanted to go to Zambia and plant some trees. It helped to be overly well prepared, as I usually am, and to take a sleeping bag the size of a toddler (I am still surprised the airline didn’t charge me extra to take it…), but I can proudly report I was the only person not cold! Also a big thank you right here goes to Micah, my tentie for the week, who made it cool to share a tiny tent and who just overall rocks.
What can I tell you from my trip? I kind of don’t know where to start as there was just so much… stories experienced, stories told, newness which became daily life overnight, sunburned shoulders and a fat Labrador doing yoga, Nshima for lunch and the pleasure of a slice of orange on a hot day, lions touched and elephants ooohed and aaahed over… little things coming together in one big bubble like a dream when it happened and still like a dream now that it’s over.
Excuse this story for being a bit incoherent, but I find it hard to wrap such week with so much here and there, this happened and then that happened, into one neat package. I’d rather tell you how I remember it. The little bits. Like the one time when we took the bus to the Victoria Falls to see the lunar rainbow, which I didn’t even know existed. How lucky did we get that there was a full moon when we were there! Or that day when we came to a school that gets frequent visits from elephants passing by and we had to ‘hide’ the banana tree saplings from their view.
Then there was the afternoon we went to play soccer at the local club and all ended up dancing like crazy people, which sort of didn’t stop when on the bus back to camp. Then the bus broke down. But that was another night and it wasn’t the same old crappy, but beloved party bus, it was the fancy one. Go figure.
New friends were made immediately after I managed to get through immigration despite my expired dollar bills. More on the first bus ride to camp and then each day after that. Muscles popped up we didn’t know existed, greeted with joy the first time around and cursed when they started to ache.
Lots of talking. From early mornings till late at night, in the showers, overlooking the crocodiles, on the bus, off the bus, during breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Even I talked in the morning though not before 7am. Baby steps, people, baby steps. As you know I am more of a sit around the camp fire (yes, the campfire is a new addition to the routine), drink whiskey and then talk – in the evening/at night – kind of girl. There was plenty of that too. Which would explain the adventure smell on the blanket. There was also lots of dancing by the campfire. Also applauding for various reason or just because we could and hurrahing too.
Of course there were trees. Baby trees and grown-up trees, magic trees and thorny trees, leafy trees and painted trees, trees on the bus, trees on my lap, trees in the ground. Mr. Shorty and Mr. Tall tree and their neighbour the honourable Mr. Annika Bran tree. Tree stories were followed by tree songs and skits, often funny, always smart, and sometimes a tiny bit sad.
Then there were the people from Zambia we met. The kids who showed us naughty dances, the boy who declared “I’m the handsome one in the class” only to be met by roaring laughter from his classmates, and Philippa who went mulching with me and called me her daughter. There was uncle Benge who draws the best warthog ever and Kebby who has planted 9 million trees in his life. New friends who immediately became old ones. Stories, handshakes, and laughter shared while we all gave little trees a new home.
So now you see how it was impossible for me to try to put such a trip into a nutshell, right? I don’t need to tell you that it was probably one of the best weeks ever. Or how grateful I am to Greenpop for making it possible and being all around awesome. Or that if you laugh at the picture below, I shall never ever speak to you again. Right?
Do not judge! I was really hot and probably severely dehydrated and didn't know what was happening to me.
The handsome one. But which one?
Just another ordinary rainbow.
The capes are not a money making scheme. You will need one or other.
Baby banana tree.
Trees riding shotgun on the party bus.
Good yoga motto.
Dangerous lions to be found everywhere.