I have just completed my Fajr Salaah (prayer at dawn), and am packing last minute things into my cabin suitcase. The sun is yet to rise, and my eyes are still not fully open. I send a message to my mother in law to say that I am up, and get myself ready for the five hour journey ahead.
My feet literally have to be dragged down the stairs to eat something. Mornings are really not my thing, especially when I haven’t had enough sleep. I usually fall straight back to sleep after Fajr, or just relax. on a normal day, travelling is definitely not on the agenda.
I manage to drink down half of my tea before we get called to be quick and leave. This is the point that my years of experience with rushing in the mornings comes in use. I pour cold water in my half drunk hot tea, and gulp it down as fast as I can. I grab something small to eat on the way, and half run to the house where my family are waiting.
The sun is rising as I walk, and looks beautiful. Even in my zombie-like state, I take a moment to appreciate the sun. Because, how can you not appreciate something so magnificent. I take a picture, say a not-so-silent subhanallah, and carry on speed-walking through the cool morning breeze.
When I reach the house, they are already loading up the car, ready for our short break. We are going to stay in a lodge, so must take all of our own food, so there is a quite a bit of luggage. The five of us load ourselves in the car as well, and we set off for Livingstone.
My first African road trip has begun.
As we get into Lusaka town centre, I am surprised to see how busy it is. The streets are absolutely buzzing, and the time is only just past 7am. In Africa, the days start very early and finish early. Children start school at 7am and finish at 1pm. Muslim children who attend madrasah usually do so from 2-4pm, straight after school. Those who go to work like to get home before dark, especially if travelling to out of town areas, as the roads can get dark and dangerous. Not everyone has a car, and many people travel by local bus or bicycle. One thing I have noticed about Africa is the regularity in routine, which is supported by the consistency in times throughout the year. There is no daylight saving time, and sunrise and sunset is at about the same time all year round, which is a big difference to the UK, where summer and winter are drastically different.
There is not so much traffic leaving Lusaka, and we drive past at a leisurely pace, teasing those in gridlock traffic.going in the opposite direction into Lusaka.
We have been driving for about half an hour, and I am still feeling like the morning cursed me. So, I take out my colouring book and colour for a while, not taking part in conversation. I drift off to sleep at some point as well. Zzzzz….
The roads are getting a little bit bumpier as we enter into Mazabuka town, which is our first pit stop of the journey. The journey actually consists of driving down one long road for what seems like forever, occasionally passing through small towns. There is only one lane, with bumps in some places, and police stops every so often. The police checkpoints consist of someone either waving us through, or asking for the driver’s identity, and license. At one point, we were all asked for our passports, and then waved through.
Mazabuka is a nice little town, which I like simply because it has a super cool name. There is a row of shops and places to eat, as well as one shop with a pile of shoes outside, which people are rummaging through to find matching pairs. We go past the busy centre to a small mosque hidden away behind trees at the end of a very bumpy road.
It is still only 10am, and not salaah time yet, so we don’t pray. But make use of the hospitable nature of mosques by refreshing and using the bathroom. Outside the mosque is a small patch of grass with benches, so we have a little picnic. My true African experience is coming alive as the first collection of flies decide to join my snack time. A wasp also hovers over my head, until I run away screaming. This is my initial encounter with lots of insects and to be honest I’m not enjoying it. I do, however, vow to get used to it, and hopefully learn to ignore it.
The journey has continued as before after leaving Mazabuka. One long road with the occasional village passing by, with houses made of thatched roofs and mud walls, alongside elaborate brick buildings.
I drift in and out of sleep.
We pass through a place called Monze.
The next pit stop is in a place called Choma. It looks very similar to Mazabuka, and we make a quick stop at the gas station, and bathroom break.
(Just to make a point here. I am writing this two weeks after my trip, because I am super lazy. Therefore, I don’t really remember what else happened and what I saw etc etc etc. Okay. Thanks for reading. Bye).
We finally reach Livingstone at 1pm (approx). Livingstone is a town near the famous Victoria Falls. It is quite big and has an airport as there are lots of tourists to the Falls.
The road leading to where we’re staying is absolutely atrocious. Even in a nice four by four, I feel like I am being chucked around on a rough quad bike. I hold onto the edge of my seat, silently praying.
We finally reach and it’s only expected that I lie down to sleep.
I don’t actually sleep, but pray salaah, and get my taste buds ready for tonight’s brai.
Read Part 5
Read the previous parts of my Africa Blog here: