A South African’s perspective on Zambians

One thing that I’ve noticed is that the working class is definitely more personal. The reasons I would attribute this to is that the income disparity is not as severe as in SA. The materialistic nature of wealthy individuals is definitely far and few between and not a daily sighting. Sometimes you see the odd 7 series BMW or something similar, and just wonder what an idiot he/she is, to go for such a car with these terrible roads! The GDP per capita is less than a third compared to SA. South Africa is ranked 7th and Zambia 21st out of African countries.

With such a low-income level, a sense of unity is created among the people and are therefore more inclined to lend a helping hand. To give an example, I stopped today at a very small, but intriguing little shop to buy airtime. The friendly owner offered how he could be of service. Unfortunately, he did not have enough change, but without hesitation said that I am welcome to pay later that day when I have the correct amount. He was incredibly sincere and thanked me graciously for being honest when I paid him later that day. Would you find this sort of encounter in SA after you’ve met the person 2min ago…definitely not.

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Another aspect of the people here is that their sense of entitlement is a billion times less than in SA. A car wash here costs 25 Kwacha, that’s about R31. Manual labour is inexpensive and they know the world owes them nothing. There are also much fewer car guards. To create jobs, the broad middleman of national roads are trimmed by a large workforce armed with nothing more than high visibility vests and pangas. I find this quite remarkable! The unemployment rate is 7.6% and this is a problem with which they deal with proactively. (RSA unemployment +-25%) It does wonders to society when everyone feels that they are contributing and being productive. Less time for mischief!

Drop the false pride SA and get the pangas out…or at least liquidate/privatize the national carrier which has cost the taxpayer billions of dollars. I have a special vocabulary chest filled with carefully chosen, articulated curse words for this government organisation. One thing that the history of SA has proven time and again is that these kinds of problems do not get resolved in a timely manner. It is easy to see that the young newly qualified individuals are seeking greener pastures elsewhere and have made it somewhat of a priority to emigrate. As a South African, this is a sad topic, but one that is on many 20-30 y/o. minds. #braindrain

Enough rant for now! Slowly but surely the aircraft and various other small things are coming together. Unfortunately, things get done at a much slower pace here. It’s one of those double whammies for this country; a logistical nightmare combined with a massive shortage of skilled technicians. Even the traffic goes at a snail’s pace. When the speed limit is 80km/h everyone travels at 60km/h and when it is 60km/h everyone travels at 40km/h. Sometimes it gets my blood boiling, but then I tell myself #TIA, this is Africa, and I might as well spend the extra time soaking up the beautiful scenery. The new engine has performed flawlessly with the break-in flights. With 75% power set we achieved Vno speed. In other words, any faster in turbulent air would cause a possible compromise in structural integrity. Coming from the land of sand (Namibia) it was quite a contrast in scenery!

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South West 1 Training area
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FLKK Lusaka on final 10
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Engine break-in flight

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