Zambia – milky beer, witches and marasmus

Having received Zambian visa ironically easily, after all back-and-forth flights over Atlantic, we finally made it to Africa. We have been waiting for it so desperately, and now crawling into the waiting area of Lusaka airport, we dropped our backpacks and ourselves onto the benches. So what is next. Have to put ourselves together and finally go out there where we wanted to be. We just couldn’t imagine getting ourselves into the capital chaos anymore, so directed exactly opposite way. Out to villages and lonely roads. Hitch hiking here is not a big deal, we are soon crammed with locals on the back on the truck, all under the wood and among sacks of maize and loaves of bread. Soon we learn here about the farmer’s countless family, local life, ups and downs.

Gražūs ir linksmi pasirodė pirmieji Afrikiečiai. Mus pavėžinusi moteris. | Pretty and happy Zambians from the first minutes. The lady that gave us a lift.

The roads cars and police people

A young lady of businesswoman posture quickly waves to get in. After having reached ten kilometre distance, the police stops us. It seems this profession could be described similarly in many countries using the same tricks and needs, let it be Russia, Columbia or the village of Africa. Fines do not exist here, only bribes depending how sinful you were at the moment of the act. Debora cannot find her driving license in her wallet, and that could get her into big financial trouble. ‘I terribly don’t want to pay them’ she sounds desperate, so the entire car team is in search of the document. It was found soon under the seat, which causes a deep relief sigh.
But many policemen on our way will be creative in being suspicious even in the fact, that ‘how on earth is possible, that the black gives a lift to a white person’. But so far we are not a trouble for ourselves neither to a driver. So far.

Visi labai smalsūs ir norintys pašnekėti. | Everyone very curious and wanting to chat.

After such a rusty beginning Deborah is happy to chat about the poor rights of Zambian women, who are not able to own the land, and the rest of the issues. She works with American organisation, so for this moment the issues will be looked after. The Zambian women will be neglected as soon as the funding will run out.

This is going to be the first night on African soil. Every time after getting to a new continent or even a country, new questions arise, how we are going to find the calm place to rest. Locals warn immediately – there are lots of national parks, which means there are hyenas, lions and elephants which can cause problems. We guess the gas against the bear would not be enough against the lion. So we decide to stay closer to villages. And after first successful night staying close to the park officers homes, we get into routine of staying close to the schools, churches, and local home gardens. It gives us a bit of an insight how local live and have a chat with them.


Į kadrą įsėlinęs driežiukas. | Lizard crossing the street.

After hearing our unpractical offer to get the truck cabin for free, the drivers just looked us giving us an impression of ‘what on earth you think you are talking about’. But after a moment they stopped again, and a hand waved to us, meaning get in.’When I looked through the mirror at Karolis surprised face, I thought why not to help you. Money comes money goes.’ So we continue our couple hundreds journey with those drivers transporting white beer to the villages.

‘There is a joke’ Wezzy tells, ‘that if your friend is sick, you go to the witch, she gives something to drink or so, and then your friend is healthy again. You might think, that this is a joke, but in reality people still heavily rely on witchcraft despite the fact that education and church have a certain part in their lives. ‘Look at those trees, they are called mooleza, the leaves of those trees are used for every sort of treatment. They even heal STDs and AIDS. People don’t use condoms here, they are afraid of cancer that condoms may give. AIDS after all is a curse, so you better go to the witch to be treated. What is the advice she might give? Maybe go and sleep with a virgin eight year old girl. And if the husband dies, certainly his brother will take his place, to take away the curse. It doesn’t matter that the husband might have died from AIDS.

Žmonės maistą šildosi anglimis, kurias patys pasidaro iš vietos krūmų. Kodel ne pačius krūmus degina taip ir nesupratom. | People make their food by burning coal that they made from the surrounding bushes.

And if in the city you don’t know the local witch, you only need to look into the newspaper ads page:

Dr. Rashid from Malawi is in Zambia to solve all your problems 100% natural, you can choose the partner of your choice the same day result. Pay after success. Call 0972…

Dr. Chinyama 45 years experience will bring back lost lovers within hours, enlargment of man organ, financial. call….

Have you tried every where for help and failed: The solution is mama Faith, a woman with experience of 25 years in herbs that can solve and women problem with same day results pay after success mama Faith.

Ads from Post newspaper March 14, 2013

Even if Wezzy and Chuck are a bit silent at first, later you can hardly stop their chatter. The road is even as a table – the gift from China. The valleys and mountains are all snoozing in the heat, and the the breeze gets briefly through the window.

Milky beer

‘You probably will tell everyone and write that the truck drivers here drink strong alcohol with coca cola while they drive’, laughed they after opening yet another cocktail bottle under-covered as a simple coke bottle. Even the most complicated turns don’t seem to bother them. In fact, the alcoholics are on every corner here, called chackolua. They normally drink white beer, which looks rather like milk than the beer. The first time we saw guys with cartons in their hands, thought they drank milk, its just that it have a strange effect on them, they can hardly form a sentence. Its chibuku, according to the others, a horrible taste beer made from maze, yeast and sorghum.

Naktis mokyklos bibliotekoje. Pietų ir Centrinėje Amerikoje miegodavom šalia degalinių, o čia mokyklos kiekviename kaimelyje, tad visada esame maloniai priimami. | Night in a school's library. In Central and South Americas we slept close to gas or police stations, but here schools are at every bigger village, so we are welcomed everytime for a stay.

The truck slows down, until it stops completely. The driver preys on the police. If they are there, two of us will need to get out. If there are more than two people in the cabin, it means the driver gets extra cash. And that has to be divided between him and the official. As we don’t give any money to the driver – ant that would be unheard to the official – we need to reduce the number of the passengers. So one of us and the driver help walk through the little town.

Walking through the village you can observe the fans of the white beer society and loud woman selling fish and other things in the kiosks. Some compassion wave follows us. Nianja language is still like a bubbling pot for us, so the drivers helper explains the content of the sorry sorry sorry and of what follows. They inquire whether the mosquitoes were after me. Huh, how to explain that might be them or bugs in Brasil caught up and made those nicely lined awful bubbles on the hands and legs. To explain the trip becomes harder and harder, so we only tell we are on the way home to Europe by land.


Bibliotekoje: Marasmus - kūno išsekimas dėl maisto trūkumo. Simptomai: Visada alkanas, plonos išvaizdos, nervingo žvilgsnio, didelis pilvas ir seno žmogaus veidas.

Wuzzy and Chuck go very slowly as they stop now in every village to supply it with the desired chubuku. So after finally seeing a school in the distance, we decide to get out. The sun was setting and we needed to pitch the tent before the dark comes. The random guy comes to us and promises to lead us till the school, and so rightly does it. The school teachers listen attentively what on earth we are doing in this gods forgotten village, and instead of allowing to pitch the tent in the garden, they offer us a heart of the knowledge – the library. The school teachers houses are as good cement quality like school which you can distinguish from the mortal ones. To a job teachers go like to a special event, all dressed up in silk attire. We guess, despite not the big salary, they are the wise people of the village and the only ones to bridge the locals to the outside world.

Oras vėsus, o mašinų nėra per daugiausia, tai kam gi sėdėti. Pirmasis kontinentas, kuriame daugiausia tranzuojame eidami, o ne stovėdami. | Cool weather and a few cars, so why to sit waiting. It's the fist continent that we are walking while hitch-hiking.

In the library we quickly settle cozily on the carpet, and look through the books and pictures on the wall. There is one that attracts our attention. The drawn boy in the picture is with a big belly and old man face. Marasmus – its a physical exhaustion, or malnutrition in this case, might be quite a common thing. The porridge of maize, called nshima, might be a fulfilling the hungry stomachs but not nutritious at all. So locals are taught that nuts, dark greens and vegetables with oil needed to be wholesome. It seems the education works well, as the greens and tomatoes can be easily and cheaply bought everywhere. We follow their advice carefully.

In Zambia we got the feeling of a necessity to walk. We wake up in the morning, the sun shines over the fresh green hills and bright red soil, and we just walk and walk. We sit down to have a rest in the shadow near the tomato seller shed, we buy a home cooked donut and we proceed further.

Guatemala – temples in the jungle, a night stay in a police station and hippy meeting in the rainforest

Tikali temples

Šeima sekmadienio rytą skalbia Peten - Itza ežere. | The family is doing its laundry in Peten - Itza lake.

We got to Tikali rapidly and unexpectedly – a Spanish-Mexican couple took us directly from Palenque (Mexico) to Tikali (Guatemala). We were still happy getting out of being illegal into being totally legal. We arrived to Peten Itza lake. Whilst the sun was setting down, we had a chat with German bohemian artists telling about their experiences living in Guatemala. ‘I don’t want to come back to the prison. No way, I’m going back there’ it sounded like a nightmare for them. ‘Every night you got to find a place to sleep. You got to buy protection for yourself, too. 200$ fee is enough’. With their partner, who was in jail too, they communicated using a mirror over the fence. Such stories were an interesting introduction into Guatemala.


We pitched a tent near Peten-Itza lake. Glow-worms had their usual light dance party, a pig decided to visit us at midnight, and the full blanket fog covered the lake at the dawn. We swam whilst the sun was rising, seeing the bottom of the lake so clearly. Even thougth El Remate is quite a touristic place, no one, apart a local family, washing their clothes, are here to meet such a beauty.

Piramidžių viršūnės, matomos nuo aukštai iškilusios šventyklos | The peaks of the pyramids, that can be seen from one of the temples.

We dedicated a day for Tikali pyramids, which turned out to be an expensive pleasure, 21$. Tikali – or the place of sounds – can easily be called the most picturesque mayan place. The pyramids shoot out from the jungle. It got lost after the Mayan civilization got exctinguished, and then was rediscovered and unearthed. Later getting out of the town, one biologist and guide showed us a hill similar to hundreds of others :’it’s a temple yet to be unearthed’. The North of Guatemala abundant of such temples. ‘But why Maya disspeared, we still puzzled until today’ the biologist-guide tells us. ‘Didn’t conquistadors put their finger to it’. ‘When they arrived, the mayan were far from being powerful, only few groups were left. Maybe, there was some sort of unknown desease’.

The steep pyramids truly amazing. When you get to one of them up high, the full picture of jungles with shooting out peaks is reaveled. Tikali is one of the places so popular for upcoming ‘End of era’ events. We have to get out quickly, before the masses arrive to see what happens at the 21st. December, 2012 waiting to be saved from nature cataclysms or end of the world.

Smagiausias pasivažinėjimas - ant pikapo, bene populiariausios transporto priemones. | The coolest way of traveling is on the pickup, it seems the most popular vehicles over here.

The moments from Guatemala roads

What are the most evident signs of globalisation? Mobile phone im masai man hands, a cocacola bottle or chicken leg in the little Guatemala kid hands, and lots of the different churches. It used to be catholic some time ago, but now all sorts of churches, assemblies, groups, missionaries pop out, and the colonial church are not as much in use as simple sheds or windowless buildings, where you can hear loud singing and praying. USA or Europe’s job, nobody can tell.

It’s easy to hitch hike in Guatemala. You often jump into a pick-up, and travel happily over the mountains, jungles, cook in the sun or shiver in the clouds. In the evening you will be picked up rarely, people are scared. Once we got stuck in one village. The policemen wanted to hitch us a bus, but when the matter went astray (the bus was full), we continued to stand on the road. The sun goes down, and we go to the same police station to ask for the safe place to pitch a tent. They offered us an old trailer, and then their police station room to stay overnight. Bunkbeds and shower, and needed electricity. Can it get any better?

Rainbow susitikimo kai kurių dalyvių autobusiukas. Iš piešinių matosi, kad šie žmonės už taiką ir meilę. | Some people reached Rainbow gathering by such a truck. You can recognize from the pictures, that these people promote peace and love.

Rainbow gathering

We finally reach Sanchicha river, known to a rare Guatemalian. We came here invited by well known traveller in Lithuania, Justas Ketlerius.

We walk along river among the mountains and rainforests. We are curious and anxious a bit, too. It seems like we are coming back to western world, otherwise always surrounded by locals. But can we really call those gathering attendees westerners, if they run from whats so common to a usual American or European: buy, consume, run from yourself and otheres. This community, or else family as they call themselves, promote peace, love, harmony and community.

We are looked after from the very beginning. Some of them hug us, welcome us. We don’t have anything to eat with us, but we are assured we will get food later on.

Atogrąžų miškai. | Rainforest.

On the information desk there are three clear no’s ‘No drugs, alcohol and meat. The latter one is observed scrupulously. Alcohol consumption went unobserved, too. But what is drugs in this community, is highly disputable. Often, this community gets into trouble by mass media for it.

At first it was a bit uncomfortable to see lots of naked people, but soon after getting used to it, it was natural to communicate with any – dressed or undressed – member. We were the only ones with the watch on the wrist. Others do not count the time, they live it. Our attire was a bit different, too. Walking boots against the bare feet, dread-heads and loose eartly colour clothing. All looked very relaxed, living here and now. There is lots of freedom, spontanous creativity, and things happening out of the attendees experience: yoga, music therapy or massage.

Šiame susitikime visi pabrėžtinai malonūs ir svetingi. Iš karto, jautiesi it savas. | In this rainbow gathering everyone is especially pleasant to each other and welcoming. You feel ok from the very beginning.

So, there are two food cycles. The breakfast should be called lunch, and you get dinner nearly at night. In the kitchen everyone helps who feels like doing it. It’s a nice experience, good way to get to know each other and savour something only available for kitchen helpers- like just freshly made chocolate. It was painful at times to wait for food. The first call ‘food circle’ didn’t mean you will get it soo. And the last call to eat now, it will only mean you will get it in an hour. People stand in a circle, and sing songs, which you want to hum all day long. The lyrics sounds very much like pagan songs about love to nature, fire etc.

The meetings take every year since Woodstock all month long, celebrating full moon in the middle. There is a huge bonfire, lots of songs and instruments, dances and fire. The atmosphere of a momentum might describe a scene: a japanese woman feeds her child, around the big soup pot an international folk circle, someone prepares coffee with cardamon, someone plays violin or didgeridoo, someone makes a massage.

Lijo keturias dienas. Kažkaip bandėm saugotis nuo visiško perlijimo. | It was raining lots four days. We tried not to get totally soaken.

Our tent was pitched among yuccas in the rainforst. The wet climate washes away paths turning them into the mud baths. If you decide to go the big waterwall, you need to overcome the muddy dough, sharp vulcanic rocks, but you will be rewarded by an emerald water and a loud waterfall maybe even solo swimming. But the river flows near the campsites too, so everyone can easily go to the river in the morning. You undress, listen to the loud birds, see the sun among the leafy jungle, and dive into the clear water.

After four day stay before leaving, we decided to try music therapy session. The vigvam all covered in rugs, and there was a variety of instruments in the midle. Everyone lied down, and soon the musicians began the symphony of the sounds, carrying them all around letting the sound to cover you fully. Someone in scented hands did a head massage. After such a two hour session, which might cost you lots in the west, you feel like a feather.

Justas Ketlerius is a well know traveler in Lithuania. He is a frequent attendee of Rainbow gatherings. There are lots of lithuanians traveling across the world. He crossed Africa, criss crossed Asia and Australia, hitched even in Afganistan or Pakistan. ‘Why don’t you write, Justas. I would read your stories.’ ‘I like them telling alive’. We glad we had this opportunity.

On the way to El Salvador

Miela moteriškė mums pasiūlė nebaigtą namą. Mums tai buvo rūmai. | One sweet lady offered us to stay in the unfinished house.

From Sanchicha to EL Salvador we made it pretty soon. One night near the gas station. The cold morning in the clouds and fog, and then a sudden heat going down. In Hutiapa we found a small path near the forest to pitch a tent, but the locals warned us ‘it’s unsafe here. Drug users will rob you’. So we go searching some safer place. We see a place full of trucks. Trying out our luck there. The lovely lady, not only allows to pitch a tent near her little shabby house. She offers to stay in unfinished house, where we accommodate ourselves like in a castle. She treats us with a tea-soup incarparina in the evening, and cofee in the morning. She prays for us and gives us a Bible in Spanish. Now we got them two – a cowboy one (a gift by Canadian family) and Spanish one.

Demetrio brings us straight to the border, treating us with egg-beans-cheese breakfast first. He is a typical Guatemala inhabitant – smiling, happy, warm and good hearted. We liked this country, full of vulcanos, temples, jungles, and lakes. We want to go back some time, but now we are heading south to El Salvador.

Diktophone #18 – Mexico

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