Shifting gear

As someone passionate about photography I know how easy one gets caught up in the “gear race”, constantly looking at what the more established photographers use or what’s the latest release. Well, I’m no different, though I care less about what others shoot with and look more at what suits me. My Nikon D7100 has and is still serving me well, but it’s heavy with my 24-70 mm 2.8 Sigma (my all round event/wedding lens), so mirror less sounded like a more handy alternative. I’ve never been the brand loyal type and I wanted to get myself a Fujifilm, mainly cause it’s not as mainstream and it also stubbornly keeps to cropped sensors, but also because it’s almost like working with an analogue camera, more dials, less menus. As I found myself with some Swedish kronor in my account while we were in Sweden, I ended up getting myself the Canon Eos RP. The little sister to the R5 and R6. Perhaps not the wisest to change system so drastically, if you’re a Canon shooter you can use all your old lenses with the adapter. Now, here I am with only the 24-105mm it came with. But it’s a brand new day. I feel like I’m having fun, even just around the house. The colours are great and the camera is so light I keep checking my bag if the camera is actually in it! Next week I have a wedding shoot (yay, my first since before the pandemic!) and I think I will bring along the Canon, maybe play a little Nikon vs Canon by myself…! Here are a few shots from around the house:

Kabwe in deploring state… again

What is happening with kabwe town centre? It is turning in to a dump! Streets are nearly impassable where vending has taken over to the extent of leaving little more than enough space for a car to pass, on a two lane main city street. And garbage is being disposed of in the “back alleys” (service lanes), soon we won’t reach our shops, trucks going to off load are already failing to pass as there is not only garbage heaps but airtel and mtn boots everywhere, many just seemingly abandoned by these multimillion companies, not their problem it seems. In the middle of a pandemic, that can be slowed down by simply keeping enough distance to anyone around you, we are forced to jump around like fools over goods, garbage, and it is hardly possible to keep at arm length from others. Kabwe municipal council should be ashamed of themselves! Unfortunately this is not the first, and probably not tha last, time I write a similar post (click here for older post). A couple of years ago we had reached a low point in regards to street vending, dirt, lack of general order, and dignity to be frank. That time it took a cholera outbreak to get our leaders to do something. Now with a global pandemic spreading, that’s killing people daily, we see nothing from the political top. What will it take then for people to wake up? Being an election year I have no doubt we will see a clean up campaign in a few months time, but that will at best be temporary, we need long term solutions. Not political games played for personal gain.

Square one

It is exactly three weeks since my last run or any form of exercise. The days that followed I had a slight headache, nothing too bad I thought, though I dont often have persistent headaches. I kept thinking “I’ll be better tomorrow”, but my positive thoughts had no effect and by the following Monday I had a high fever, chills, sore joints and bones and other things I don’t need to mention, and I fainted as my blood pressure has a habit of dropping when I’m unwell. Seeing these symptoms I started a malaria course straight away. Usually you feel an improvement within the next 24-36 hours, however two days after I had completed the course I was still feeling miserable. By then I had passed at the hospital for a covid test, a rough experience to say the least. Two days later I got my results, negative (did the lab get my test mixed up?). I could by then see that it had turned and I was slowly feeling better, but before long it was my husband’s turn to go through almost the exact same chain of symptoms. It took me another week to fully get back, I slept hours and hours and still felt exhausted. (My husband is now in the exhausted stage).

So today’s workout was an achievement. I decided to start slow with a gentle 35 min yoga (Yoga with Adriene 30 day challenge on YouTube). I felt about as flexible as a fridge. Then to add a touch of cardio I skipped for just 30sec x 6, I felt like I was about to have an asthma attack! (And I don’t even have asthma). Lastly for a little strength I flipped my tyre 10 x 5 with 5 push ups in between each set. Incredible how much stamina you lose in a few weeks especially when the body has been busy fighting illness. Talk about being back on square one!

Our trip to Sweden

Yes, despite the current global conundrum we made it to Sweden for a much longed for winter trip. Christmas in Gotland with my parents and siblings plus the two new family members ❤ then new years in the north (Västerbotten) with my husband’s sisters and families. In Gotland we had lots of quality time and as the weather was rather wet we spent a lot of time in the house, the boys spent a lot of time in the garage/workshop making random things. As I already explained in the previous post it was a bit different on this trip. We hung out with the closest family, the people in our “bubble” and didn’t properly meet a lot of other friends. Gotland was very wet and the chances of snow were slim, however on Christmas day we had just enough for the kids to get excited, run outside mouths open and they even managed a small snowball fight and to roll up enough for a snowman that survived a couple of days. Christmas eve (which is the main day of celebration in Sweden) was spent in usual manner with lots of gifts, too much food and some afro beat (ok, that last one was me and my husbands contribution, it won’t hurt to switch up the traditions a little…!). Just in time for new years celebrations we made it up north to where two of my sister in laws live, the third sister had made a special trip just to see us. Our kids were now the little ones to be pampered, in Gotland they had two baby cousins to look after. Up north we had a proper winter experience, the kids got to try it all. Skiing round the house, ice skating in the park and going down the little hill side on a mat or whatever got you down. Unfortunately I got sick and had to be isolated until I could get a covid test done, thankfully it came out negative. But I missed an outing where the kids went ice fishing and just having fun in the snow, it was however -16 on this day… Despite or perhaps thanks to all the circumstances we felt that the holiday really became about having bonding time with our closest family. The kids got to know their new little cousins and hang around the big cousins and just have fun. I look forward to the next time we travel, hopefully things would have gone back to normal in some ways by then. Here are a few photos, if you want to see more go to my facebook album.

No hugs from Sweden

After 8 overcast days we were treated to a few hours of sunshine!

It is already a week and some days since we arrived in Gotland, Sweden. After a journey without hiccups (wasted so much energy being nervous!) we came to a rainy, chilly, and wet island. And dark. By 3pm. As expected, everything is affected by the covid pandemic, we knew there’d be restrictions, but these restrictions kept getting harder. We didn’t travel here to go to malls and day trips to indoor entertainment areas, we came to see family. But even that has changed. People didn’t pop over for coffee once they knew we’d arrived. They waited until we had shown no symptoms. We won’t have extended family over at Christmas. We don’t take the kids to the shops. And people don’t hug. Swedes hug, swedes are huggers rather than cheek kissers. And when you meat an old friend or relative you greet with a big warm hug. So when you meet and keep at a safe distance it feels like you didn’t actually meet, and I’ve come to realise that the hugs serve as an ice breaker as well. With no hug you just kind of stand and look at each other and the whole scenario just becomes stiff. We met a few family friends the other day when we went to look at a Lucia (who’s Lucia?) procession on horse back in town (a village really). Instead of hugging and asking each other about regular stuff in life we just kind of greeted and well, looked at each other. I never knew that such a brief embrace made all the difference. Sweden is much worse affected by covid compared to Zambia and it has really been an eye opener to see how things have had to change here. Once the vaccine is administered en masse I hope Swedes will go straight back to hugging! It’s just not the same without!

We have made the most of the drab weather and few entertainment options by taking the kids to the sea for little outings or just short walks in the area. Here are a few photos!

Covid holiday

We are travelling to Sweden in December! Normally this would only bring excitement but 2020 isn’t normal, so here we are, watching the news, seeing covid numbers rise, and restrictions tighten. We are in for a very different holiday, but what covid can’t cancel is quality time with the family and after all that is why we are travelling. With two new babies in the family, we don’t mind that we can’t even have a meal at a restaurant together (max 8 people per group). With all the cousins to hang out with, who needs to go anywhere anyway?

For a long time I haven’t felt the need to follow the covid situation too closely outside Zambia, but now my ear is close to the ground for any update on further restrictions and regulations. So instead of excitement it’s a rather nerve wrecking countdown to our flight! It’s a strange feeling to be worried about catching a disease going to Europe, it has always been the other way around, people worried about all kinds of illnesses, whether founded or unfounded, people have been scared to travel to Africa. The tables have turned in the strangest of ways. And as much as I look forward to having a Christmas in Sweden and for the children to see snow for their first time, I am worried about the whole situation.

I will end this post with a few photos from the last couple of month:

Back in class!

Looking at my recent post “Open our schools!” you might think I was dancing with joy when the president last Friday announced that schools can reopen. But I wasn’t. I do think it is the only way forward as children in government schools have missed out on six month of learning, but as for me and my youngest boys we were just getting the hang of it. I was even planning how to set up our new “classroom”. You could say I received the news with mixed emotions. And so did the boys. Six months away from what was routine meant it was like first day at school all over again on Tuesday, it didn’t make it any easier that we weren’t allowed to escort them to hostel or class, just drop off and go to avoid crowding. (I know it was all smiles by the end of the day but it was still hard!) My youngest only goes back next week and will hopefully get the excitement up, at least he made sure to load up on snacks today when we went grocery shopping. Thanks to technology and hard working teachers the children at Martin house have been able to keep up with work. Unfortunately, that can’t be said about many other schools that are now looking at catching up on all the lost time. 2020 is really a year for the history books for all the wrong reasons but I hope we can see a silver lining which for me has been all the time spent with my children (though I can’t lie, it’s been challenging too!) Now the question is how do we expect our kids to adhere to social distancing and wearing masks at school when most adults have failed so badly at it!?

My Discover Zambia take-over week

This passed week it was my turn to take over the Discover Zambia Instagram feed. Discover Zambia (Go follow> @discoverzambia) is a page sharing photos of Zambia’s most beautiful and interesting locations as well as of luxury lodges in and around our national parks (and more). During the take-over a variety of photographers, both local and international, get to share their best photos from all over the country. It was a very diverse group this year, both in terms of background and style which resulted in an interesting few weeks (it’s still ongoing). If I was going for the likes I would have shared my photos from our trips to Kafue national park, Samfya beach and the bat migration in Kasanka national park for example. But I decided to go my own way and share a more messy and less pristine side of Zambia, showing the hustle and bustle on the streets of Kabwe. It was fun to have the opportunity to show my photos to a larger audience, I hope people appreciated seeing a less polished but just as authentic side of this amazing country!

Staycation

Besides “lockdown” and “social distancing” one word we will strongly associate with the year 2020 is: “staycation”. I think many have discovered places that were around the corner all along. One such place for us is Mulungushi boat club, though we’ve known this place long before it was a thing not to travel far. It’s a place we used to visit frequently before life got hectic. We used to spend the days on the water, fishing on the good spots, unfortunately the water levels have been far below normal for the last few years and the fish has been netted heavily. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a relaxing weekend here. I started our first day with a run, as I’m used to flat ground the change of scenery also serves up a good challenge a long the dam. The boys climbed down the dam wall, a workout in itself, to fish. As it was my daughters birthday we made time for cake, and managed to visit a friend (though that was a long drive…!). Day two we all hiked down the dam wall and the fishing was a lot more successful than the previous day. I love the rocky terrain in this area, you can if you’re lucky spot baboons in the rocky hills as well as the rather shy rock dassy.

The road has recently been graded, and it now takes about an hour from the great north road to the club. Many club members have built beautiful chalets that are available to rent, you can also pitch a tent as there are ablution blocks. This year’s Mountain bike challenge was cancelled thanks to good old Corona, but that is otherwise a great event for the adventurous that takes place every August. If you’re on a budget or looking for a simple effortless getaway then put Mulungushi boat club on your list.