Warthogs and waterfalls

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It is the beginning of my second week in Africa and I am already getting used to life here. People are never in a rush to get anywhere and will always stop to speak, ask how you are, find out where you are from and how you are finding Zambia. So far I can say that it has been incredible.
I have taken a trip to Victoria Falls which is about 8km away from where I’m staying. It was the most awesome sight I have ever seen. It is just at the end of the rainy season so the Zambezi is at its highest and as you approach you can see the giant spray from the road and hear the thunderous roar when you get out of the car. The power and size of the falls are unbelievable. Water crashes down as far as you can see and the spray is so dense that you can’t see the river below. When crossing the bridge it is like torrential rain pouring down and I was drenched from head to toe! In some parts you can see Zimbabwe across the river. I am going to try to go across to Zim next week to see the falls from that side.
I spent the weekend on a safari in the Botswana Chobe national park. Botswana is only a 1 hour bus journey from Livingstone so as I have a multiple entry visa I thought I may as well make the most of it!
We spent the morning on a boat safari on the Chobe river. It was just stunning. As the boat cruised along under the perfect clear blue sky we saw hippo basking in the shallow reeds and baboon, elephant, antelope and crocodile on the shore. On the afternoon game drive we spotted more elephant, some so close to the van that you could almost touch them! Impala, Kudu, giraffe, warthog, buffalo…….. so many! I absolutely loved it.
After a night camping in the bush (I thought there was a warthog right next to my tent so didn’t sleep that well) we got up at 6 for our early morning game drive. It was incredible, we saw a pack of lions out hunting in the early morning cool air. They were fascinating and actually not scary at all even though they came right up in the road between two 4x4s at one point. We also saw a huge group of zebra down by the water. I love how they are so un-camouflaged and how their ears twitch round in all directions to hear because their eyesight is so bad! Although not camouflaged, their stripes are to keep off the mosquitos because apparently mozzies can’t see stripes. I’m considering dressing in only stripes from now on they have already feasted on my legs.
On the way back a fridge just flew off the back of the truck in front of us and was about a meter from hitting the front of our bus! Pretty scary but you just have to laugh at these things here I guess. No health and safety!
As well as all of these excursions I have actually done some work this week! The School Club Zambia (SCZ) are looking to apply for tax exemption as an NGO so on Wednesday we went to see a local accountant in his nearby office. He chatted to us and explained that SCZ must register with the tax authorities, submit an annual return and apply for tax exemption at the ministry in Lusaka. I might be able to help with getting some of the documents in order that they need to apply for the exemption.
Also this week we have counted every asset in the school and given the office a good tidy so now all the books are in one place! It was a pretty laborious process but by having a good stock listing and fixed asset register Indeco can put a value to its resources and budget for what it needs in the future. We have also seen that the Divine Hands tailoring department has bags and uniforms in stock that can hopefully be sold soon to raise money for the school.
I have also begun the process of transferring the paper based Indeco School accounts to excel by setting up a simple cash book and income and expenditure ledgers so that the school has all of its finances in one place. This will not only help for budgeting but also for reporting to donors who want transparency. I will be spending the next few days talking Kay through the process and being on hand for any questions on how to record data. I hope that what I have put in place will make the accounts easier to record in the future.

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