September 21, 2010

Home, sweet home..

Well, I am at home. I had a safe flight back from Lusaka, and only two days later I had a business trip to NYC for a week, so until now, I haven’t felt back at HOME. I want to remember and tell my last hours in Lusaka…My NGO colleagues picked me up in the hostel and took me to Alliance Française to have some beers together. I spent a nice soirée with Nyachi, Carol and Sharon: the Go Sisters girls, great girls, and very good dancers, oh yeah! And with Michael, the director of the Foundation, always with a smile. When they went away, they gave me a very nice souvenir from EduSport (an small soccer ball signed by all of the Edusport staff, and Go Sisters t-shirts from the Program). Then I stayed with Kahale who came to have dinner with me by last time (this year, who knows?). And when we were about to leave from Alliance F I ran into Senja! She is the finish girl who was sitting down beside me in my flight to Lusaka…it was such a big coincidence! It was a sign…I arrived with her, and I left Zambia giving her a hug!
I’ve made many good friends and I hope this friendship never ends.. Zambia treated me so well, I have been very happy these weeks there, even arriving there alone, I have never felt alone.. Somehow now I miss my life there…kind of different to my current life in Madrid …Last week was weird to jump from the bed without mosquito net (specially in NY, in a king size bed in front of Times Square J).
It is not a myth. I’ve been "touched" by Africa. And I want to come back, to Austral Africa. Thanks to all of the people who have supported me from the distance! I strongly recommend to any reader of this blog, and to anyone, to join to an NGO in Africa. No better way to spend a time of your life if you want to know this part of the world, the real life there, and try to help somehow! Before going I felt skeptic about my help in Finance management/ accounting…
But it is a chain…in order to help communities NGO’s need money, and to raise new funds they must provide to funders proper reports, financials, improving their skills..
Thanks to AFID (Accounting for International Development) as by becoming a member of them, I got this chance to join a volunteering ..
Skomo kuambi!

September 10, 2010

Last days at Edusport

After a second computer things look better.I obtained also uK's approval for installing a new antivirus system..We have worked more into Quickbooks as well as hold a meeting with director and the next volunteer of Afid on a periodic basis. Now that we got the internet codes for bank statements it seems not is a very long process! last days at office i have been telling them guidelines not to miss, despite they keep very busy organising community events. Finally I got Kelvin to take me to Kalingalinga for meeting communities, as I insisted them a lot on attending to any activities before coming back to Spain. Kevin is only 17 years old, but he's been with Edusport since 12, as peer leader, as a kind of mentor for youth. when he visits communities many people request him for advice, he is a very good example for youth, very concerned on helping communities even he's been on Tv advertising! I spent a nice time joining kids with peer leader in their games.

In this last week I have gone out a lot!Shepherd (another guy at Connect Africa), Kahale (my japanese mate's brother in law at guesthouse), Dion (he offered me a very very nice bbq at his garden, i shared my Rioja bottle with him), and yesterday Myanda invited me to dinner with him and his girlfriend Audrey who speaks spanish (she went to study to Cuba as Cuban government provides grants to Zambia). I also went with the Edusport boys to have lunch at their favorite place, the Divine Power inside the kabwata market, close to the carterpillars' stall (!!)

Today for my last day at Edusport I dressed myself with the african chitenge. I wanted to do it, and in Spain i know i am not wearing it (except for being at home or at the beach..). They liked it very much! we took many pictures with all the staff...And when i came back to guesthouse i couldn't avoid a tear while i was walking across the people. I am going to miss Zambia and Zambians a lot!

Moreover, I had an appointement with Mike , the guesthouse guard, this afternoon, as I promised him I would visit his compound to know his family...a long trip (two buses and half a taxi) I visited his compound near kalingalinga, and met her daughters and wife, offered them some presents for kids and a mosquito net as well (he told me he didnt use it now as have school expenses bigger..). He looked so proud and happy because I have visited them! He always says he keeps on praying for me :-)

And the formal farewell with Edusport is this evening, so i must go now, and enjoy my last night at Lusaka..i don't know what plans they have for me but must be ready in half an hour!

I'll write again when i have a chance since Europe, and will hang more snaps as a brief of all of the people i've met and of zambia!! fly back tomorrow

September 7, 2010

Awesome long weekend trip!

Note: I am not able to download pictures and I keep on trying since yesteday!! I promise as soon as I can you'll see a lot! ---- I am able now! from Intercontinental Hotel
Thusday 2/09/2010:
So on Thursday afternoon I took a local long/distance bus to spend the weekend in Livingstone and to join any safari nearby...The bus station of Lusaka is a complete chaos of people, fake parfum vendors, cutlery vendors (for foreign i guess) workers, inter/country buses (botswana, malawi, zimbabwe...) Not very confortable for sitting down to wait a bus. However bus arrived on time,..and only 2 hours later it suffered a breakdown. We stayed in the middle of nowhere for nearly 3 hours to wait for a new repaired bus...Meanwhile I started talking with two guys that looked european travellers...and in fact they were staying in the same hostel as me in Livingstone, so we shared amusing trip despite the conditions. The new bus arrived, so continued the trip..and only 20kms before Livingstone the new bus attempted to suffer a new breakdown,..that finally could be amended. So when we arrived at the Jollyboys backpackers hostel, the bar had closed, but one of this guys persuaded somebody to sell us cold we chilled out in the nice African hall of the hostel, before going to bed (after a 10 hours trip..). We shared the same dorm.
Friday 3/09/2010:
Next day we went together to visit the amazing Victoria falls,'s stunning! wonderful..I think I suffered the syndrom of Stendhal again :-) Because of the flows of water falling (900.000 litres per second, i think) it causes a sound called the Thunder. You also see the rainbow in the middle of the falls. See the pictures better...After a long sightseeing walk, we went to the upper side of Zambezi to chill legs into the water for a while. Some local zambians offered themselves to take you (walking into the water) till the edge of falls...I preferred not to risk my life so easily.. Instead, I came back to hostel to have a bath in the small pool. In the afternoon I booked a Sunset cruise in the most charming boat..The African's Queen. Beautiful views along the Zambezi river at Sunset. I always think about "Out of Africa". In the boat I met a couple of spanish people just married! they came from SouthAfrica and were travelling around. As it was the first time any of us met some spaniards in Zambia we celebrated it ordering for Gin cokes with our canapes dinner on board..(included in the price!)
So I came back to hostel so gin/happily that I convinced these guys (the austrian and the german young doctors) to go out. We found a place of makishi dancers (the typical african dancers) very amusing!! They performed most of the time the same song dancing a lot, and next to this group, another performance of an african singer (dressed in chitenge, as most part of women here). So we spent long time in this funny place. tHE only non african people, us.
Saturday 4/09/10: Next day, these guys were going on rafting (I would have loved to join them but I already have booked my activity) so I went to Botswana for a safari day and night. It was so exciting!! during all the morning i did a canoe safari through the river, and from mid/day the inland safari in the Chobe National Park, enormous land plenty of giraffes, elephants, impalas, warthog, birds, and also could see the beautiful leopards (it was a matter of patience and time)! All of the day into a Jeep without velts nor windows and running so fast specially when elephants seemed angry with us...At sunset we arrived to the compound to sleep, in the middle of the savannah. I slept in an individual tent on the floor with the only light of my torch (hopefully I remembered to put it into my bag), and the sound of wild life...The guide men left a fire burning all night to avoid animals coming near, despite they come sometimes (elephants) at night. We were told not to go out from tents to pee until it was extremely urgent .. Before going to bed we had a dinner sitting in the chairs around the fire and with the torch in left hand to light the food dish. I slept very well! and didnt feel afraid of the strange sounds...We wake up very early to see the sunrise, and the lions!! we got to see 5, 2 males and 3 females...But my low battery ran out only few seconds before watching lions. Then, I came back to Zambia, crossed the Botswana border (passing the cleaning mandatory steps to avoid transferring the mouth&feet animals illness), and arrived to hostel. I had a quick lunch with Dara and Davud, and said goodbye with a hug! I really liked these guys. they are travelling around southern Africa now, but in past they did their doctors training in countries like SouthAFrica or Armenia and Barbados. Brave boys! They are invited to visit me in Madrid:-)
Before taking the bus, I bought chitenge materials, and took the bus. This time bus was better, and we arrived on time to Lusaka..I also shared seat with a very kind zambian guy who loves MTV so much! he was excited of having met me , hahahahah!!
Pd/ i am updating posts with pics today, and previous posts as it was impossible before due to viruses in downloading that even attacked my camera !!

September 5, 2010

Unexpected virus...1/09/2010

Hi there, regarding the following days, I started implementing a new Chart of accounts at Edusport structured by allocations (the P&L), and I have been teaching them on using Quickbooks monthly reports, it seems very easy but the problem is that their computer (where the accounting software is located) is very old and so very slow...But also something happened. I thought that we should use the anti/virus for a check as they usually dont do it. Then after spending long time to processing, the scanvirus detected threats, and so apparently eliminated it. But I couldn't imagine that afterwards when we tried to work on this computer it was not possible..all of the icons we clicked on (word, excel, qb..) showed the same message of being impossible to open because of a file... I paniced...They didnt realize the problem ( i preferred no to tell them until I found a solution...) but times went slowly, and I wasnt able to ammend it. I firstly thought about phoning someone in Spain to explain the problem...But i thought twice; And then I turned to be more realistic and find a more feasible solution. Then I decided to phone Dion, a south/african guy very nice that I met recently and who works for another NGO called CONNECT AFRICA (they connect rural areas of Africa) to ask him for help...And his support was so big, ..he came with another guy who knew about computer, then this guy phoned another one who was very skilled on this, and came to the office...and finally ammended it...but the restoring proccesses lasted several hours....For some time before I felt terrified about the fact that the computer turned useless. But finally there was a happy ending. God provides. Apparently the current antivirus any time you execute it if it finds a virus, it deletes the file and in our case at it was blocking the accounting program, it blocked totally. Solution in short/medium term is to disable the current antivirus Karperstky as it is not practical the way it proceeds, and then install a new one.. I paid 70.000kw to John for his work, and invited to dine to Dion (we went to a very nice restaurant called Golf grill...awesome beef!) and the same night I bought my ticket for travelling to Livingston at the weekend.
So next day I could continue teaching them on the use of Quickbooks for providing financial reports..I also have implemented the current bank reconciliation template, to make it easier every month..