Zambia: Stranded

 
Zambia had some real highlights. Things I will never forget. The greatest highlight though was certainly our escape from it.
We arrived to Zambia via bus from Lilongwe, Malawi. We arrived in Lusaka, spent a night at Flintstones Backpackers, and then went on our way to spend our whole month in Livingstone, less than 10 miles from Victoria Falls. 
 
What we did this month as a team.
This month we spent the first half of every day as teachers aids at a local school. I helped teach 4th graders basic grammar and math. I helped grade their various types of homework. We also got to spent time with them at recess, mostly playing soccer. It was the highlight of our time as a team. We also spent our afternoons showing up at a dilapidated soccer field, kicking a ball around. It was sort of an aimless thing. We didn't really know what our main goal or point was, as our host was a little "open ended" to say the least. I just shrugged and told my team that we were supposed to just hang with kids and play games. 
LXLMS
I absolutely love teaching the 4th graders. These kids were just brilliant and the most witty kids i've ever met. They were also straight up dirty liars. They constantly cheated off of each other and clutched at each others throats and hair. It was just hilarious. I yelled an exceptional amount those few weeks that I taught, but half the time I was just amazed at their temperament and the anger that they would experience toward each other. "I can't even be mad right now, I'm just amazed", would often cross my mind. I have some of the greatest videos of these kids. One of the videos has two young boys trying to be all macho in a video directed towards my little sister (who was obviously back in the states and didn't even know they existed". These kids brightened my day with their goofiness and their constant incredible excuses and blaming of each other. I hope to share some great videos
I have of them at some point.
Moments I'll never forget
LXLMSKickin it in Honeymooners Pool   
I'll never forget the sunrises I woke up to every morning from my tent that was positioned inside of the Nunnery (yep.) that we were staying at. I had it placed right in front of an open door (to allow for a nice draft of air to keep me cool). I'll never forget the evening jogs that we ran through the fields past the soccer field and across that one one river. I'll never forget the first time I saw Victoria Falls and realized just how significant it was that we went in dry season and not in rainy season. I'll never forget when Kathryn and I snuck away to some lodge and were hammicking in a small patch of trees when we heard sticks breaking and realized an elephant was about 20 feet away from us. We backed away slowly considering it was a male (oh, it was a male alright) by himself... considered to be dangerous. I'll never forget when my friend Marlo almost got viciously attacked by a small monkey that she was whispering sweet nothings to. I'll also never forget when Kirsti had an apple grabbed right out of her hand by a rather larger monkey. I'll never forget basking in the Devils pool, less than 5 feet from a long and tortuous fall that would surely have resulted in death.
 
I'll never forget Kathryn and I being left in Zambia with 2 days left on our visa, as the rest of our squad moved on to Cambodia without us.
Wait what?
Well. There were rules you see. Kathryn and I weren't supposed to pursue our feelings for each other. We tried to be respectful of the rules but to leadership we were still pursuing each other too much. They gave us the ultimatum. Either we would sign another contract saying that we wouldn't pursue each other again (which would include them watching us for sure and making sure we wouldn't for the next 7 months), or we could release ourselves and sign on the dotted line to be free from the trip we were on, and be left in Africa with two days left on our visa.
We had already been through enough long conversations having to explain why we had developed feelings for each other. We had already constantly had to fight for our reputations, hoping people really believed that we really were on this trip for the right reason, and that we weren't just on it to look for romance, but that we actually wanted to do things right.
They told us to go think and pray about our decision for 15 minutes, and to come back seperately with answers. They told us not to talk to each other in the process.
Oh how messy corporate Christian Culture can be.
So did we stay on the trip?
Nope.
We signed that freedom paper, said goodbye to our dear friends, and there we were... at the Livingstone Backpackers hostel all by ourselves. 
Well, a nice guy named Matt was there too.
The whole day, for the first time, we had nothing to do.
We headed to Kubu Cafe where there was wifi, and got onto Google Flights.
If you have never used Google Flights, It is a search engine where you type in your departure city, and bubbles all around the world will pop up with how much it will cost to each bubble. We were on a tight budget, and thankfully I had previously reached out to my cousin (when it appeared that things were about to go down) who was in Bangkok and had ESL teaching opportunities potentially available to us. We chose Bangkok.
Matt helped us board some janky train that felt like it was from the early 1900s. It felt like a prison train. I'll never forget watching my pee fly straight through the toilet and unto the railroad tracks below.
We took the train through Zimbabwe. 
I submitted my resume to my cousins teaching agency while I was in Middy's Cafe in Bulawayo.
We took a bus through South Africa to Johannesburg, and Kathryn got her iphone 5 stolen, dandy.
Our tickets were bought on the spot at Joh-bergs airport. I wasn't about to buy them ahead of time when I had 2 busses, and a janky train to catch before hand.
We submitted Kathryn's resume as we left Singapore, and upon arriving in Thailand, we found out they had two teacher jobs available at the same school in northern Thailand. 
Our new journey began. with less than 100usd to both of our names.

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