My first encounter with fabric stores in Lusaka was with a coworker, and a curtain-sewer/mine share owner!!  The coworker introduced me to a curtain-maker, and together, the three of us went shopping 8Madina Storefor fabric for curtains.  We went to about 4 different shops, each one different.  This particular shop, Madina Sales, has everything from used clothing and shoes, to furniture, foam, and fabric!  There are at least 2 branches of this store, and although some of the selection is available at both places, they are not connected – one must drive to both.

4Lamise pose 4Much of the fabric, especially the drapery and upholstery fabric has bold designs and colors.  I kept trying to describe what I was looking for, and the seamstress understood, but we couldn’t find anything matching my ideas.  We finally settled on a tone-on-tone, pretty boring material for the curtains – and I really like them!  This fabric (left) is NOT what I chose – I was just posing for the fun of it!  We also went into a store that I have since been back to several times, on my own, named “Safiques.” 7Safique outside In Zambia, every letter in a word is pronounced – so while you & I might say “saf EEKS” here it is prounounced “sat-ee-kays.” It took me a while to figure this out – for instance, a local furniture store is “Home Corp” – yes, prounced “home corp” – with the ‘p.’  Anyway, here are pictures of the outside and inside of Safiques.  You can see my “shopping buddies” in this picture – my coworker in the orange shirt and  a hat, and the seamstress in the pink blouse.  Much of the fabric hanging from the ceiling is chitenge  (“chee TEN gay)- 6Safique inside 2cotton fabric, died in patterns, and used in 2-meter pieces for just about everything – a wrap skirt, a shawl, to carry food or packages, or to tie a baby onto one’s back – I think there are pictures of that in an earlier post.  Anyway, no prices, fabric content, or width are marked.  I was followed around by a salesman, who wanted me to buy any fabric I stopped to look at.  I don’t speak the local language, and his English was not always clear to me, so there was a lot of going back and forth, before I finally selected the fabrics I wanted.  The salesman told one of the cutters how much of each fabric I wanted, and when it was all collected, he brought it to the owner/cashier. They discussed the price, but not in English!  Finally, I was told the final cost and I paid – so different from shopping in the US!!  It’s difficult to browse, or hold fabrics up to each other, or figure out if it’s really cotton, or is it 1 meter or 1.5 or 2 meters wide, etc.  sewing tableAnyway, I finally got my borrowed (and wonderful!) sewing machine set up on the dining room table, and went to work!  The sewing machine has all kind of fancy stitches, but I was very aware of my time limit (the friend who loaned it is on a month-long missions trip to Malawi), that I had never done fancy stitching, and I wanted to return the machine unbroken!  I used our new dining table as my cutting board (very carefully), and moved to the wood floor, as the finished quiltquilt got bigger.  You can see some of my supplies – a ruler, pen and tape measure were how I measured the fabric – so the whole project is a bit sketchy!  Anyway, here is the finished queen-sized quilt.

I think the best part was being somewhat successful in accomplishing something.  Changing cultures can be a bit unsettling, and it was encouraging to see that I can still be competent and creative, rather than just bumbling along.  That realization made the whole project worthwhile!










After 2 weeks of being unable to get on the wordpress website, I’m back again!  Any of you who know Tim, know how much he enjoys rowing.  He started with a small piston rower when I was pregnant with Jonathan.  He moved up to a better rowing machine, then onto the water in a single rowing shell.  rower3Then a double, then both got upgraded….  Not only does he enjoy the beauty of the river in the early morning, but he likes the workout.  Well, the shells are in storage, the ergometer (indoor exercise machine) is dormant in our basement in VT, the Zambezi River is a few hours away and filled with crocodiles and hippos, and Tim was missing the exercise!  He ordered a new rower from South Africa – and it took weeks to arrive!!  He picked it up at the shipping company, and brought it home.  Here he is, opening the first of the boxes in our (at the time, empty) home office.  rowerout


You can just see the foot stretchers (foot rests) in the left foreground – on an orange background, and the round thing above the foot stretcher is the flywheel – what spins, and creates the resistance, for Tim to pull against.  The monitor is the little angled rectangle above the flywheel, under the left corner of the window.  It displays the distance he has rowed, the time, the calories he’s burned, and all kinds of technical rowing exercise data.rowing closeup

Here he is, “rowing” on our back verandah.  This machine is different from the one he had in VT.  This is called a “dynamic erg.”  On this, the seat remains stationary, and the slides move forward and backward underneath him.  This approximates on-water rowing more closely.

He is up at 5:30am, and is able to work out, burn off stress, and keep fit!  Now that he has received his Christmas present, Tim is a “happy camper!”