Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Window Wednesday- Safety

Sometimes people ask me questions that surprise me. I think it's just that life here has become so normal to me that the out of the ordinary things don't seem as such to me now. I've forgotten some of the shock and newness of basic things about my life here. So in an effort to have enough blogs to write until I reach 20 :) and to answer questions people have asked about the day-to-day happenings of life here, I'll start giving you Window Wednesdays (or at least this Wednesday- hehe. And I like alliteration, so the window is like a little window into my life here- get it??). .


Something people wonder frequently it seems is about my security. Am I scared? Do I have a guard? Do I have a concrete wall surrounding my house with broken bottle glass lining the top?

 Rarely. Yes. Not at all. Well that was fast! :)

But really, Zambia is a relatively safe, peaceful country. And because we live in the "bush", or basically out on a big farm, we are even further removed from the crime that may happen in a city atmosphere. And the city that we are near is a small town really, as opposed to a bigger city. So all in all, I'm in about the safest place possible if you live in Africa. I can't remember the last time I felt scared (safety-wise, anyway). I have no gate around my house, just a bunch of friendly neighbors on either side. I do have a night watchman, and I sleep so much better when he is here than when he isn't. He's off one night a week (and he hates when I tell anyone what night it is because he thinks it puts me at risk! :)

My night watchman is Patrick, and he's been working with me since 2007! He used to be the village policeman in his small village, so he was primed and ready for a job like this. He usually gets here about dark or a little bit after. He lives 17 kilometers away in a village called Kasibi, and he rides his bike in or walks every day. He usually heads home when the sun comes up. He is fiercely protective of me, my house, my car, and whatever baby is living here at the time!

Patrick and Catherine
Patrick and Cathy reading a bed time story
It's so reassuring to me that he's out there and would hear if anything needed attention. He makes rounds around the house every hour or so, checks for snakes and other creatures, and usually cooks a nighttime meal of nshima on his brazier. During cold season, he keeps a charcoal fire going through the night to stay warm. He uses a "catapult" or slingshot to kill snakes, and he's unbelievably successful at it. Early on in our relationship, I made the mistake of telling him I wanted to see any snake he found, especially if it was a kind I hadn't seen before. So even to this day, years later, I'll hear a little tap on my window in the middle of the night. "Come see the snake I just killed!" I don't have the heart to tell him I've seen all the dead snakes I need to see to satisfy me for a lifetime!
Patrick ('s legs) and my brother Ben dissecting a mamba
Black Mamba
8 foot cobra (and an awesome all brown get up for me!)
To keep from boredom, he reads his Bible, he colors in a coloring book sometimes, and he listens to the radio. He also has some fellow night guard friends who pass by and they shoot the breeze.
Patrick modeling with his tea tray, his bible, and his radio on the seat
Armed with his bug spray and catapult!

I am so grateful to have such a trusted friend and protector in Patrick. He makes my life better and safer, and I love him and his family so much.


  1. What a great description of how special the night watchmen are! I know even in the short time we were there, and even though we didn't feel unsafe, it was reassuring to know Webster was out there (and he too was pretty protective of all of us!). :)

  2. Now Meag, I am so happy about Patrick being there for you. . . But you are are way too audacious about these snakes! Haha. I loved this post. Seriously though, please regard the fact that these snakes represent almost instant death! I get disturbed every time I see those pictures.