My “Urban Stay”

A common part of Junior Fellowship with Engineers Without Borders Canada is a week living in a rural village, often dubbed a “village stay”. Many of EWB’s African programs engage with rural and agricultural sectors and so these “village stays” are intended to provide a chance to contextualize their work and make a more intimate connection with the stakeholders of their projects. JFs may learn about a particular area, follow up on a project, or just find a broader picture and personal connection through their exploration. A few occasions have also merited some not-so village type stays, where the pursuit of an understanding of a different community and lifestyle was in the mind of the JF.

Living in an urban setting is already less common as a JF, and there isn’t as much knowledge of urban systems within EWB as compared to rural ones. So after a discussion with my coach, Brian, we concluded that making the most of my urban living would make more sense than to travel to a rural place just for the sake of tradition. Instead, I would try the venture of an “urban stay”.

Lusaka is the dynamic heart of Zambia and one of most exciting centers of growth in Southern Africa. 1.8 million Zambians beat a deep, cultured pulse of the city, blending sharp contrasts and seamless commonalities. In this snapshot one sees saturated colours of Zambia’s past, present and future. It is my goal to better understand the livelihoods and lifestyles of the many different people living here. In this, I hope to craft an insightful mosaic of personal stories and national trends that can allow all of my audiences to see urban Zambia in a clearer light.

This blog will be a space for me to share some of these experiences with as much creativity as I can. I hope to make this a chance to have my audience (that’s you behind the glass there…) connect with what I am doing and feed their curiosity into my own. Some new ideas beyond just posts, though they’ll be here too, are soon to come so stay tuned and I hope you will feel engaged!

And it wouldn’t be a proper blog post on here if I didn’t give the closing push to post up comments and thoughts about what you are reading here. Even if it is just “Hey Zac, what is an example of a sharp contrast in Lusaka?” I’d be happy to answer. In fact someone should ask that because I want to go back and revise that part with some more detail now… go!



7 responses to “My “Urban Stay”

  1. Hey Zac, what is an example of a sharp contrast in Lusaka? 🙂

    Also I thought you were in Lusaka already? Or is this just to better understand your area?

    • Haha thanks, one example could be wealth between neighbourhoods in Lusaka, some even immediately beside one another from high to low. Another could be cultures of productivity in different workplaces. I have been in Lusaka all this time but not necessarily making the intent to dig into these topics.

    • I wish I knew for sure 😦 They are either some variation of the Jacaranda tree (though everything I find is just the purple ones) or the Sausage tree (but they have a different fruit than the ones I see online). If you find out let me know!

  2. Hey Zac! Hope you are well and thanks for all the Zamfacts. I was wondering if there are sidewalks in Lusaka and if people have a view to the street from their windows (or if the street is easily viewed by people at all times in some other way)? Thanks!

    • Outside of the downtown centre they quickly disappear. Where I live there aren’t any at all unless a small set of shops has made one at the front of their property. So people tend to walk a perilous dance with cars and bikes on the road shoulder if paved. It isn’t uncommon in particularly congested areas for minibusses to make a new lane where the sidewalk would be. Needless to say the road network here wasn’t build for 1.8 million people.

      As for the view of the street, it would depend on the area? People in single homes, who can afford it, have wall fences which block out the street. The downtown core has little to no residential so those streets become ghosttowns and a bit dangerous a night. Those in highrises it just depends on the way they face!

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