18 March 2015

Mid Phase Review: The Smoke that Thunders

After an extremely busy week of two Community Action Days, one that coincided with International Women's Day and the other with Zambia's national Youth Day we headed to Livingstone for our Mid Phase Review (MPR).

It toke just over two hours to arrive at Livingstone Backpackers, an incredible hostel even by UK standards. The swimming pool and luscious scenery felt like a dream after spending five weeks in a host home. It wasn't long until we used the well equipped luxuries. A hot shower in the morning felt like a god send, it has been a long time since I felt so clean. We even had the opportunity to go to an Italian restaurant, something most UK volunteers have been craving ever since being here. However, in order to keep the experience unique I ordered a pizza off their specials menu... a corocodile meat pizza.
The meat was rather chewy but tasted delicious! That is now the second new meat I have tried since being out here, along with fried caterpillars!

With our curfew lifted for both nights we were able to experience what Zambia's night life had to offer. The best way of describing the whole affair is by calling it interesting. It felt surreal wearing flip flops and shorts to an outside club and being the centre of attention while the floor was mopped around us at the indoor club. It felt extremely liberating to have the freedom to go out and enjoy ourselves without a curfew after such a long time.

It wasn't long till our MPR weekend was over, with the rest of the time spent completing MPR sessions (evaluating how the whole journey has been so far), lounging round the pool and visiting the local arts and crafts market. However there was one last activity planned before we traveled back to Choma...

Victoria Falls
It was organised for us to be able to see one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, the Victoria Falls, also known as Mosi-o-Tunya or 'Smoke that Thunders. Originally I had never been into sightseeing and the viewed the whole ordeal as rather pointless, however experiencing the Victoria Falls has completely changed my opinion.
Witnessing the sights the Falls had to offer from multiple vantage points really did take my breath away. We began the excursion from the top of Falls which provided incredibly stunning views.
A state of euphoria spread throughout the group as we passed over the small Knife bridge linking the mainland to a small island carved by the water while we were pelted and soaked by the heavy rainfall produced by the Falls.
We then ventured down towards the famous Boiling Pot, an area where two streams of water collide and pass under the large bridge that connects Zambia and Zimbabwe. The trail downwards was pretty tough going but provided some amazing sights.
We were surrounded by baboons and monkeys running amok, ready to steal your belongings at a moments notice.
After a 15 minute trek, ducking under low hanging branches, through overgrown terrain and over streams, we were finally greeted by the breathtaking sight of the Boiling Pot.
What was originally an adventurous exciting atmosphere quickly became peaceful and tranquil. Everyone was speechless and taken aback by the incredible scenery presented in front of them. It was the most perfect way to end our MPR and mark the halfway point of the whole journey. It has left me wanting to visit other such wonders, an ambition I hope to achieve soon!

Twalumba for reading!

Luke. T

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