There’s a great little magazine targeted toward ex-pats and long-term visitors called The Lowdown. (Here’s their website, though it’s hopelessly out of date and hasn’t been updated in years.) You can get it at any bookstore in town for less than $2 (7000 kwatcha).
In the “Wot’s Happening” section, it offers a listing of what kind of cultural, sports and other activities are going on that month. There are lots of advertisements of goods and services specific to Westerners’ wants and desires. This month’s Lowdown has articles on the new import regulations starting May 1, a native bird called the Slaty Egret, a couple of non-fiction features about life in Zambia (a rural roadtrip, shipping nightmares), a book review on “African Friends and Money Matters” (explaining African attitudes towards money as compared to Western attitudes), a restaurant review and more.
With a constant influx of ingoing and outgoing ex-pats you’d think there’d be some sort of Craigslist for selling and buying furniture, vehicles, appliances, etc. There’s not. A couple of us have written Craigslist and asked them to open a Lusaka chapter but they have completely ignored us (and we are bitter about that). Only these African countries have Craigslist: Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, South Africa and Tunisia.
For Americans, there seem to be two key ways people sell/buy things. First, you can tack a notice up on one of the grocery store bulletin boards. That’s how we found our Boerboel puppy. Second, you can get a hold of the American International School’s newsletter, called The Leopard’s Tale. (If you don’t have kids going there yourself you’re bound to run into someone who does.)
The Leopard’s Tale offers the best source, in my opinion, of quality items for sale (from ex-pats leaving the country). Also, if you need a gardener or guard, there are often listings in there for those who come with references.
Of course, the best way to find things is word-of-mouth. We found our home because the wife of someone at my husband’s office said her next-door neighbor had a fabulous house that they’d like to rent out. It was fabulous and much better and more inexpensive than nearly all of the places I looked at in town. Also, having a local friend is invaluable — I want to get our water tested and had no idea where to start so I asked Yvonne, our landlady’s mother who lives next door. She not only found out where we should go, she’s personally taking me there on Wednesday. (Since she uses the same water supply, she wants to find out if it’s safe too!)