Thursday, October 4, 2007

Some statistics...

My friend Rochelle asked me all sorts of good questions about life in Zambia in her last email and it inspired me to offer some statistics that you might be interested in...

Most of these statsitics are from the World Health Organization. If you've got some spare time, check out their website (I've linked it here). Their information about Zambia is excellent and it is a reputable source.

- About 1 in 5 Zambians have HIV or AIDS
- The average life expectancy for men and women is just under 40 years
- 40% of the population is under the age of 16 (I have heard Zambia called "A nation of children")
- It is one of the 10 poorest countries in the world
- In Zambia you have about a 20% chance of dying under the age of 5 years
- Independence from British colonization occurred in 1964
- Since independence there have been three presidents (the national hero Kenneth Kaunda, Fredrick Chiluba (who is being investigated for corruption and fraud) and the current president, Levi Patrick Manawasa)

President Manawasa was in Seattle last week and the Times wrote the following article: Get To Know Us Zambia SaysCheck it out if you like...

Some random factoids about my life here:
1) What do I eat? I cook for myself when I am at home, but EVERYTHING tastes different. Even if the package says it is doritos or rice krispies IT IS NOT THE SAME. And what is with the metric system? I cannot figure out grams and liters for the life of me (pathetic American). When I am travelling I eat standard Zambian fare-- lots of cabbage, fried chicken and nshima (Anthony is pictured here making this delectable corn mush). Many people don't have enough money to eat meat or vegetables regularly, so their standard diet would include scones (biscuits), nshima, casava, or rice twice a day. Lots of carbohydrates!
2) What's the weather like? HOT!!! The rainy season starts in a month, so there is relief on the horizon. Zambia has three seasons-- hot, rainy, and cold, although I have a hard time believing in this mythic "cold season."
3) Do I always drink bottled water? Yes! If I don't drink it bottled, I always boil it.
4) Do I get much free time? When we are in town I work a standard Monday-Friday schedule. I get Saturdays off, which I usually spend at the local market, visiting neighboring compounds, or hanging out at my house.
5) Vacation time? Yep! My friend Peg is coming out in December and we plan to spend Christmas in Zanzibar and Tanzania. Next month I will be in Kenya for a week and I get an additional 4 weeks off for travel. Anyone want to come to Africa? I hope to get to South Africa, Namibia, Malawi, and Lesotho while I am here.

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