Wrapping it Up

Well, our tour of duty in Zambia officially ended late January, when Thom returned home for good.  It was a busy autumn for me, going back and forth from here to Zambia, and supervising the building of our barn and remodeling of our new home here in Northwest Michigan.  During this time our oldest son also got married (to a wonderful woman!) in Colorado and we spent Christmas with relatives in North Carolina.  Thom was even busier, organizing workshops and conducting research in Lusaka, while giving some side talks at Cornell and in Washington, D.C.   I quickly achieved Gold frequent flyer status and Thom’s a Platinum member now.  We’re ready to stop traveling for a while and are really ready to come back and live in the U.S.!

How to sum up our Zambia experience?  It was very different for Thom than it was for me.  For him, it was incredibly busy with boatloads of meetings, politics, research, analysis, writing, travel and much more.  It was rewarding for him too, in that he accomplished his goal (with lots of uber qualified colleagues, of course) of establishing an independent, Zambia-based and run, agricultural policy center.  The Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute (IAPRI) was launched a full year before schedule and is now run under the able leadership of Chance Kabaghe.  Chance and Thom are truly peas in a pod, brothers in heart.

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For me, it was like a wonderful, magical vacation on a remote island.  I gardened, baked bread, made cheese, got a puppy (our beloved butterball Boerbel Coco), explored the area and enjoyed the company of some wonderful women (esp. Emily, Cassie and Tendayi).

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But, sometimes no matter how wonderful a vacation is, you just get to the point where you’re ready for it to be over.  I got to that point about 1.5 years into the experience.  It’s actually pretty boring in Zambia (safe, but boring).  I had done what I could to improve someone else’s home but I got very itchy to get back to the U.S. and set up our new homestead and start building our gardens and raising animals.

A lot of information given in this blog is probably out of date now. For example, as of January 1 this year (2013), the government rebased the currency by dropping the last three 0’s, such that 50,000 kwacha is now 50 kwacha. You have until June 30th to turn in all old currency for new.  Here is what the new currency looks like.

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Now that I’ve been back for a few months I find that I sometimes miss our sunny easy life in Lusaka, especially with the amount of snow we had this winter.  I also miss our wonderful guard Bernard and Danny the gardener who, with the savings they made working for us, quit their jobs and opened a pub together.  If you can believe it, Bernard the guard worked a full two years for us (or really G4S, the security company), 6 days a week (including holidays), 6 am – 6 pm, and missed only one day in two years (when his family got malaria).  One missed day in a 6-day workweek, 12 hours a day, over a two year period!!!!  Amazing.  (Photo: Bernard on the left and Danny on the right, sorting clothes we brought for them to distribute to their community.)

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So, this post wraps up “Letters for Lusaka.  Thank you for joining us on our African adventure.  I’ve appreciated all of your comments and even better, made some new friends through this blog that will last a lifetime.

We’re beginning to enjoy our new life here, and liking our homestead more and more each day.  More importantly, we love being near some of our kids, who are an absolute joy to have around (we love having adult children – they’re so pleasant and helpful!). Perhaps it’s time to start a new blog – something on starting a new homestead (with animals, gardening, friends) in rural northwest Michigan?  Here are some photos marking the start of this new chapter in our lives.

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Thank you for your love these past two years!  May your lives be full of joy and peace.

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About Kimm X Jayne

Gravatar Photograph from the exceptionally talented Ben Heine. http://www.flickr.com/photos/benheine/3794765860/
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14 Responses to Wrapping it Up

  1. Heather Kulaga says:

    Such a nice ending 🙂 You did a great job, Kimm!

  2. Beautiful home! Beautiful Family! and Beautiful Ending to your wonderful Zambian blog. I will miss your humour and wisdom and I am sure that you will be getting yourself into situations that you will have to share, do more experiments and the teacher in you will not be able to resist sharing your gardening triumphs and sorrows. Keep well. It was (is) a pleasure to have known you through your blog. I hope we shall meet again. Say hello to Thom and tell hi that while doing my research I found some papers he had written I think in 2006. All the best! Joanne
    PS. Check out http://www.seedambassadors.org.

    • Kimm X Jayne says:

      Thank you! You’re one of the ones I was talking about meeting through my blog and being a life long friend. Love the work you’re doing! You’re a wonderful gift.

      • Thank you! I am writing proposals now for grants. Luckily I have partnered with Ellena a PhD Candidate at Western who is helping me. We shall see how it goes! I will keep you posted on my blog but I am so busy I have not had a lot of time to write lately. I thought of you when writing the blog about the seeds I am saving. You have taught me so much! My nephew and his new wife bought a house in Port Huron so we may be in Michigan more. I will let you know if we will be there for an extended period and we can come to visit. Here’s to Spring!

  3. Maureen Witte says:

    Please, please, please start a new blog about your MI adventures, etc.

  4. No more vicarious Lusaka? 😦
    I agree with your mum — start one on homesteading in Mishy-gan!

  5. Lisa says:

    Great final post! So much good and development came out of the trip–to leave a living legacy like that to empower a nation is transformational. To think of how many lives were touched during the process and into the future! And both of you are incredible ambassadors from our world to there’s. I think that’s why this experience was so enriching for the rest of us, or at least me. You found a way to speak to others hearts, created friendships, and then share all aspects of that journey–the smooth path and the potholes. Thank you for sharing the journey. And yes, start a new one for Northern Mi!
    My love to you all,
    Lisa

  6. Anonymous says:

    Welcome home my dear friend

  7. katview says:

    We may be moving to Lusaka in the coming months. Would love to speak to you directly!

  8. Tim H says:

    Sounds like you had a pretty interesting experience. I have just arrived in Lusaka and I must admit, I’m rather happy to be avoiding the snow this year.

    • Kimm X Jayne says:

      I’d be interested to hear what it’s like now. The only things I hear is that the rolling power outages are still the norm and that the traffic is getting worse! What area did you move to? Good luck!

  9. Pingback: Victoria Falls, Victoria Fail! | Justice Living Out Loud

  10. Joe Pinzone says:

    Hey Kim,
    My name is Joe Pinzone and I’m casting an international travel show about expats moving abroad. We’d love to film in Zambia wanted to know if you could help us find expats who have moved there within the last 1-2 years or have been there for 3-4 years, but recently moved into a new home. The show documents their move to a new country and will place the country in fabulous light. I wanted to know if you could help spread the word to expats living there or are close to moving. If you’d like more information, please give me a call at 212-231-7716 or skype me at joefromnyc. You can also email me at joepinzone@leopardusa.com. Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Joe Pinzone
    Casting Producer
    P: 212-231-7716
    Skype: Joefromnyc

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