Time is moving quickly, we leave for Zambia in less than 3 months
With a lack of current funding at the moment, we are trying to research how to keep the cost of our trip expenses as low as possible. We are looking for a cheaper option for housing but it's a bit hard to find. We need to stay somewhere that will be safe for both our personal safety, as well as keeping our belongings safe while we are away working at the school each day. We also need to find a place within a few miles of Sylvester's family house so that we can walk each day and not blow all of our funds on transportation back and forth to drop off the kids on the days they can't come with us.
I really wish we could just stay with Sylvester's family but it seems to not be an option. First, there is no room for us. Second, we seem to be a security risk. Mostly I am the security risk... which makes me feel a bit odd to be truthful. I admit that I draw a lot of attention when I walk through the neighborhoods in Zambia. My white skin and my red hair make me stick out like a sore thumb. I am literally the center of attention anywhere I go. I'm more of a background kind of gal and it makes me feel kind of uncomfortable when all the attention turns to me. It's not a negative kind of attention, and not necessarily a positive sort of attention... it's more of an announcement. As I walk down the streets of Kalingalinga (the city where Sylvester grew up and his family still live) people literally turn around backwards to stare at me. The neighborhood children will start yelling "Muzungu, Muzungu!" and chase me down the street. If I stop to speak to them, or shake their hands, they will run into their homes to report the happenings and invite more people to come out and stare at me. Honestly I would prefer to just sort of blend in and go unnoticed but it's not very likely that will happen.
It's this interest in the Muzungu (foreigner usually white) that makes me a security risk if we were to stay with our family while in Zambia. I would draw extra attention to the household and people might think that because of the color of my skin, that I travel with expensive things that might be worth looting from my suitcases. I don't really believe that my children or I would ever personally be in danger, but all of my inlaws still prefer to accompany me anytime I step outside the walls of the family home.
This story confirms that Sylvester, or any of his siblings are not going to allow me to stay anywhere where they do not feel like we are 100% safe. I never really considered myself as a high security risk, but I seem not to get a vote about the matter.