DanIsh Diary Entry 2

This week you find me luxuriating in what is a five day Easter holiday here in Denmark, more bank holiday week than weekend. When you are new to a place free time can be something of a rich dish, beautiful to taste but best served in small quantities. That said, all my belongings finally arrived … Continue reading

A warm welcome to my frozen home

I am pleased to report that the numbness enduced by my dramatic switch of homes is starting to thaw at something like the same pace as the snow and ice are receding from the lakes and bicycle lanes of Copenhagen. Before leaving Zambia, I was flicking through one of those books of national statistics and quickly … Continue reading

History Repeating?

“It all goes in cycles you know, when I first arrived twenty years ago, water was big – every proposal had a sanitation component to it, then is was agriculture, recently it has been HIV and AIDS but I have the feeling that we might be getting round to water again soon.” This casual observation … Continue reading

Feeling comfortably numb

Folks, you will have to excuse me if I have lost some of my ability for prose this week. I have the kind of cotton wool head that can only be generated by switching from one of the world’s least developed nations to one of its most advanced in under seven days. Let me limit myself to … Continue reading

Dreaming of a brighter future

Leaving Zambia this week, it is a challenge to feel brightly optimistic about her future. In truth the country has been struggling to develop in a concerted and sustained manner since the oil shocks of the 1970’s. Her economy remains vastly over dependant upon mining in general and copper in particular. Despite a water table … Continue reading

100 things I will miss about Zambia

Excuse the indulgence folks (more a reminder to myself than anything else) but here are 100 of the things that I am going to miss most about Zambia Zambians – nobody could ask for a more welcoming, courteous, friendly and warm host nation. The fabulous staff at Alliance Zambia who have hosted me throughout my … Continue reading

Eyes a little wider; Head a little wiser?

A year ago almost to this very day, I was enjoying a few farewell drinks with colleagues in London when one stopped me dead in my tracks by asking “So… what is the probability you never return to this career?” Despite all the research and planning I had put into my sabbatical, it was not … Continue reading

Not so civil after all?

‘Civil Society’ was not a term familiar to me before my time in Zambia. I have come to learn that is an elegant phrase for a rather inelegant grouping of sometimes strange bedfellows. Essentially anyone who can be said to have a stake in society but is not part of the state or private enterprise … Continue reading

HIV: Looking in the Ugly Mirror

HIV: If there is a more grimly fascinating epidemic, I would like to read about it. Close as I am to finishing my year living amongst this dark plague, I must admit that I still find more to puzzle over than to understand and more questions to ask than I can claim to have answers … Continue reading

Zambia – Love it or leave

Suwi, one of my closest Zambian friends, has a favourite car bumper sticker which simply says “Zambia – love it or leave.” If it were possible, she would like to buy a batch lot of these stickers and use them to tape shut the mouth of any non-Zambian who looked like they were about to … Continue reading