Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sundays in Zambia

Today we're taking a break from pictures of the gorgeous country and people. I know, I know – why? I promise – there will be some more next week. But this week I want to talk about some of the documents I required to live in Zambia – besides the obvious passport and work permit.

First of all, I had to have an Aliens Registration Card. At the time I not ever heard of a non-citizen of a country being referred to as an alien so I thought that was hilarious. I was an alien. Heh.

 Before I came to Zambia I was issued an International Driving Permit.

However, not too long after arriving I had to apply for a Zambian driver's license. Boy that was a process! Forms and going to multiple offices, and then at the end, an oral exam along with the other missionaries who were applying for a license. I was asked what emotions might cause a person to drive carelessly. I said rage or anger or sadness. Nope, none of those was the right answer. The right answer was joy! The examiner said that a very happy person doesn't pay attention to the road. At the time I thought that was a very funny answer, but later I learned better. My only speeding ticket was a few weeks before my wedding 19 years ago. I was barreling down the road singing to Amy Grant at the top of my lungs. I was going 82 mph. In a 55 zone (it had just changed from 65, but still!). Thankfully I didn't lose my license. Anyway, I managed to pass the driving exam & received my Zambian license!

A couple of other ladies and I decided to get memberships to the Intercontinental Hotel pool. We decided to say that we were a family so that it would be cheaper. Yes, I see the irony that two missionaries and a teacher at the American Embassy School (whose name was also Dana!) were cheating. I even feel somewhat ashamed about it now. In any case, we got our membership. I always laugh when I see the name – Mr. & Mrs. Damawallace. My name was Dana Wallace. Apparently I was taking the fall in this caper.

The last document is my membership card to the Bulldog Den at the local marine base (? I have no idea what it was called – these were the marines assigned to the embassy). We would go to watch movies, eat popcorn and flirt with marines. I saw The Princess Bride there for the first time – one of my favorite movies of all time (next to Joe vs. the Volcano). And I got a date to the Marine Ball with one of the marines from Michigan. We also played softball with the marines (I use the word "play" loosely – I am no athlete). One of the guys was from eastern NC and I loved hearing that voice from home. His accent was so thick that the other marines couldn't understand him over the radio. Made me homesick, a bit.

Come back next week when I talk about my attempt to teach cross-stitch at the Women's Missionary Union conference. Not a pretty picture!


  1. You look so sweet in the member card picture! Anyway, you've aroused my curiosity about Zambia as a country.

  2. Wow! A lot of documents. We only had to get our VISAs for Uganda. But what a chore that was! Even though we'd paid for a year-long VISA in the U.S., when we arrived in Uganda they stamped it as being good for only 2 months. Money wasted; live and learn.

    The mission had a man on staff who worked full-time on paperwork; almost every weekday he spent the whole day in the capital, standing in lines and filling out forms (there were a dozen missionaries and 40 or so Ugandan staff). It took 8 months to get our extended VISAs that made us legal.

    A medical missionary in Uganda wrote a book about his experiences and he called it "The Man With The Key Has Gone", referring to how frustrating it is to try and get the required paperwork done and so often be turned away from an office because the forms or stamps or whatever were in a locked drawer and "the man with the key has gone". LOL

  3. I am still just amazed that you did this. Even a little envious, not of the religious part of it but the adventure.

  4. It's a wonder anyone becomes a missionary. Are all countries this zealous about paperwork?

  5. Never underestimate the power of JOY!!! I had to laugh at that, but I guess it's true. Wonderful memories. Looking forward to cross-stitch drama!

  6. Joy as a road hazard, lovely! Just shows how differently the world is perceived in different places I suppose. Really enjoyed this post.

  7. Dear The Bug,
    Considering how many times my mother-in-law and I went speeding away in her convertible to the sound of the Beach Boys, yeah. Joy is dangerous, especially with a wide flat vista and no obsatacles to happiness!

    Ann T.

  8. I came over from Altar Ego and will return. I am so excited about you being in Zambia. I went there for only one month in 2006 and wish I could go back. I'll have to read more about where you are, etc. We stayed in Lukulu, Lusaka, and Mongu.

  9. Bug,
    Great photos on those documents. You were adorable. I had that haircut for a few years too.

    I love that you guys had enough larceny in you to cheat the system and get the family membership. Gives me hope.

    I used to do cross stitch. Can't wait for that post.

  10. Oh no Jan - I'm not there now. That was over 20 years ago when I was young & thought I could conquer the world! I'd love to go back & see how things are now...

    Kim - I forgot to mention that I had to send my initial paperwork twice for my work permit - they lost the first set. That was before I even made it to the country!

  11. Informative AND entertaining. A really LOVELY Sunday in Zambia. Thank you! xoxoK

  12. Uh-oh. An alien Bug in the Bulldog Den!

  13. Thats some awesome documentation there!!! I love the name too of the married couple! haha!!!


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