Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Traveling to Zambia and Our Hotel

We left DFW Thursday night at 6:45 pm.  I had 200 pounds of luggage - 3 huge suitcases, a carry on, and a backpack!  A lot of it was supplies and donations for the teachers/school. 

 I flew with Amy for both flights, and Kenley was with us until London.  She had to fly to South Africa then to Zambia since she signed up for the trip later than us.  Our flight was fine (just long), and we landed in London around 3am our time.  It took a couple of hours to clear immigration and leave our bags, but we were finally able to leave the airport and go into London.  We rode the Heathrow Express into the city, and then we got on one of the big red bus tours where we could get on and off.  We walked around a few sights and took pictures, but we were so tired, so we stayed on the bus most of the time.   It was good to see the sights again since it has been several years since I was there.  We had all been before, though, so it was okay to just do a quick tour of the main highlights. 

After a few hours, we headed back to the airport for our flight to Zambia.  Everything went fine, and we got there about 8:00am Zambia time.  Allison and Kathryn came to meet us, and there were also about 100 other Americans flying in with us for Camp LIFE.  They got our bags all loaded up and took us to the hotel where we were staying. 

Our hotel was called Chamba Valley Exotic Hotel, though there was nothing exotic about it! :)
Hotel Sign at the end of the road

We were originally supposed to stay in another hotel that was being built.  The owner kept promising it would be ready, but in true Zambian style, it was nowhere close to being ready for us to stay!  So, the owner, who also owned this hotel, let Family Legacy take it over for the entire summer.  They said it was actually not a great business move for him, though you would think he would love having it rented out all summer.  He had to cancel many of his regular businessmen from South Africa and even had to cancel a wedding 2 weeks out!  We were just glad he honored his commitment to Family Legacy because there is really nowhere else in the city that can accommodate all of us.  They even let them transform one of the villa rooms into a kitchen where Cynthia could cook each day for the 100+ people.   

Our hotel was in a nicer area in contrast to most of the city.  The hotel looked nice on the outside, but many things were broken or not finished.  The pool had no water in it, most of the lights in our room had no light bulbs, the water never worked right, and there was a huge hole in the wall as you walked into our room.  There were no clean towels when we arrived, so they gave us bath mats!!  We had to go to the lobby to drop off dirty towels, and they never came to clean our room because they only had one key to each room (which we had with us).  We had to leave our key with them one day for them to come clean.  The mattress was also interesting.  It was like sleeping on the box spring.  It was one thin mattress on top of basically a wooden box.  You might wake up with a circular pattern on your arm from the springs pressing through all night!  Another thing we take for granted here is something as simple as the rise and run of steps all being the same.  We were on the 2nd floor, and the steps leading up were all uneven.  Some steps were short, some were tall, and it is just random so you have to be careful not to fall!
We definitely could not complain about staying there, however.  It was nice, overall, and especially for Zambia!  It met the needs of the ministry, and we were thankful we had somewhere to stay!   

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