Sunday – our day of rest!

After a very labour-intensive and busy week, we were treated to a day away from the build site on Sunday. The team had provided input on things we were interested in doing and Joseph arranged our day.

Zambia is a very religious country and declared Christianity as the official religion in 1996, while upholding the right of every person to enjoy that person’s freedom of conscience or religion. There are many denominations of Christianity and Joseph arranged for us to attend a one-hour Pentecostal service in the morning at the Tabernacle of David Assembly in Lusaka. We thought there would be more singing and response from the congregation but after a choir performed one song, accompanied by a band, Bishop Harrison made a few announcements and then introduced Pastor Elijah Nyirenda who preached and ministered for over an hour and a half! That was not what we expected! The video is not from the service we attended but gives you an idea of what we experienced! When he (finally) finished, Bishop Harrison and Rev. Elizabeth Sakala extended a lovely invitation for coffee and tea.

Our next destination is the one that I looked forward to the most. Just outside of Lusaka proper, in the Lilayi area, is the Lilayi Elephant Nursery which is run by Game Rangers International (GRI), a Zambian conservation organization. GRI implements five projects, which includes the Elephant Orphanage Project, rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing orphaned elephants back into the wild. Orphaned elephants stay at Lilayi Elephant Nursery until they are three years old. The nursery ensures they receive adequate nutrition and medical attention, socialization with other elephants and wildlife, and round the clock devoted care. GRI currently has three elephants under the age of three and over ten elephants that were moved to Kafue National Park to the EOP Kafue Orphan Release Facility. Regretfully… I did not get the names of the three elephants we got to see as I was too busy watching them and forgot to write the names down. There are 2 males and one female and they range in age from 1 ½ years to 2 years old. All tragically lost their families somehow, often due to poaching and human conflict.

After lunch, we went to an outdoor market to explore. Many of us had hoped to go to a street market where the locals would shop. We passed one on Saturday but Joseph felt we would be safer at a ‘curio’ market (tourist market). I was disappointed with the vendors’ wares as they were all the same with very inflated prices. I did buy the one item I hoped to pick up on this trip, a chitenge, after negotiating the price with the vendor. I also found some small cute bags made out of chitenge fabric. Now, I’ll have to see if I can pull off a chitenge once back in Toronto!

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