A few weeks ago, Tim and I were out of the hospital, running errands. There is one main road in Lusaka, running North and South – the Great North Road. It changes names several times, and in the middle of the city, it is quite crowded – street vendors, turn lanes, traffic circles, robots (traffic lights are called “robots” here!), pedestrians, etc. (I’ll try to post pics of this sometime in the future!) In an effort to prevent even more congestion, a bypass road was built to serve industrial traffic (big trucks) to the downtown area. I had never been on this road, so Tim drove us that way – to bypass the midday traffic jams, and to show me a new-to-me area of the city.
There are huge trucks driving along here, so there are also huge potholes, road construction, and blocked-off lanes. In addition, there are a lot of small stalls set up along the curb. Many of these are right in front of stores, selling the same goods. This is a popular area to shop, to find a bargain, although I have to admit that it intimidates me – the crowds, the pile of goods, and the reputation of pickpockets all serve to make me more comfortable shopping in the more “western” parts of town – in malls, with cash registers, fixed prices, etc.
Although it is very crowded and busy, it also seem so precarious and temporary. Goods for sale are tossed over a fence or piled on the sidewalk. The number of shoppers varies by time of the month (very few still have money at the end of the month), time of the year (fewer people are out during rainy season or cold season). I was reminded of the verses in James 4:13-15 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” I want to live with an awareness that my days and plans are dependant on what the Lord wills!