Zambia is about one and a half times the size of Spain and has a population of about 18 million people. Sadly, life expectancy is only a shade over 50 years and there is a high prevalence of both HIV and Malaria at around 12% and 15% respectively. The main attractions are Victoria Falls and the various national parks (e.g. South Luangwa National Park).
Lusaka has something between 2 and 3 million people and is sprawled out over quite a large area. There are several malls near where I am living and the nearest one has a KFC, Nando’s, and a Pizza Hut. It feels pretty safe out during the day and most people smile and/or say hello as you walk past them. It does have the feeling of a place that is growing and developing. Eventually I should get a chance to go out into the more rural areas with one of the sales teams from Sunny Money so it will be interesting to see the difference.
Every day at the moment we have electricity blackouts due to “load shedding”. This stems from the fact that the country relies predominantly on hydroelectric power mainly from the Kariba Dam. Low rainfall has caused decreased output from the dam and so in Lusaka the elecricity is switched off for four hours on a rotated timetable, today it is 5pm to 9pm and I am writing this page in the dark (with a solar light to help me see the keyboard). I am getting used to this, I have to remember to charge my mobiles and laptop in time and have to plan the cooking of my meals a bit more precisely. The load shedding is rumoured to be increasing in the next couple of months to 8 hours! But at least its not as bad as in Zimbabwe (who also rely on power from Kariba), they are on 17 hour blackouts, with power only on during the night.