It has been just over a month since I arrived in the valley. A MONTH! I feel like I have been here for a lot longer. So much has happened; it seems like I can barely remember London life. However, at the same time, I am trying to grasp the idea it has been just a month. My brain can't even comprehend what the coming months and years have in store for me.
The past 30+ days have been the most exciting, challenging, testing, and most rewarding days in probably my entire life. I have never thought I would ever EVER move to Zambia. Although as soon as I heard about this opportunity, I knew deep down that I was coming - if I got the job! A few months later, I was boarding the plane despite my shameful fear of flying.
I am so happy to be a part of Mulberry Mongoose! To do what I have always dreamt of and work for a company with purpose and values in line with my own. Even though I knew people are friendly in Zambia and the wildlife is great, I didn't realise I would find a home away from home.
Sound fantastic, right? It is! But first, let me tell you about the not so fun part. Bugs, bats, spiders, scorpions, and that's just to name a few… The first evening in my new home, I was attacked by a zillion of weird things I don't know the names for. I probably sprayed an entire bottle of Doom (the local insect spray) in one go! To top it off, just before I went to bed, I had a bat coming out to say hello. I did not want to say "hello"! I went to bed armed with my bug spray and thought, "what the hell have I done; THIS is my life now".
I am thankful for the people who have prepared me for the worst, except, of course, now I have to live it. I kept my light on at night for good two weeks, I still sleep with my torch and bug spray. I am starting to sit on some soft surfaces, which is a massive improvement. To help me deal with the fear of literally everything, I began naming creatures bigger than 3cm. Let me introduce you to my pet spiders Lucy - who lives above the sink. Dylan, who's unfortunately no longer with us due to me accidentally breaking his leg (I now have a few of Dylan's cousins, so that's okay). My bat Marcus likes bringing his girlfriends at night and chilling on my mosquito net (that is so not cool, Marcus). I don't go to bed before thoroughly checking my bed, my net, and my pyjamas. I don't put my clothes or shoes on; I don't use a towel, toothbrush, cup, or pot unless I check it first bugs, scorpions, or ants. Sun goes down very early, and it's pitch dark at 6pm. We don't walk at night. In fact, no one walks far as it is too dangerous. Elephants are cute, but they are also extremely dangerous if you bump into one. My step count went from 10k a day to 500 at most. I don't cook, the shop offering is limited (me being vegan doesn't help too), so most of the time, baked beans it is. Good thing I'm not picky when it comes to flavours… Another thing I found out about when I got here is load shedding, which means continuous power cuts for few months. On a positive note, it is very acceptable to go to bed at 8pm.
I didn't think much about wildlife before I got here. I knew I'll see elephants and other animals, and I thought that's cool. My mind was set on my dream job at Mulberry Mongoose. But then I got to SEE the wildlife, and it blew my mind. I get so excited seeing all those fantastic animals I embarrass myself every time. I do apologise to all the people who are next to me when I see an animal and start jumping, squeaking, and in general letting all sorts of weird noises. I also apologise for all my stupid questions and all annoying WhatsApp messages with videos, sound recordings, and pictures of animal footprints. I am not planning to stop, so live with it! I've been very lucky with all the animal sightings so far, for example, wild dogs, lions, 15 giraffes just on the way to and from a pizza night, a herd of 20+ elephants crossing the road on the way to one of the lodges. Hippos, hyenas, baboons are waking me up every other night, and I can't complain. Observing, listening to all the sounds, noticing, taking pictures, and learning about Zambian wildlife has become my newest hobby.
I wouldn't survive in this environment if it wasn't for the people I have met. I have now left my family twice, once moving from Lithuania to the UK, and then 12 years later moving from the UK to Zambia. I've left my family and friends behind without thinking much about the people I'll get to meet here. My mind was set on surviving by myself. I didn't realise I will gain the whole community. My team at Mulberry Mongoose has greeted me with the biggest and warmest smiles on their faces (and a cake!). Every day is filled with laughter and giggles, music and dancing. We do work hard too, I promise. I knew I would love working for Mulberry Mongoose as I worked with Kate while I was still in London. We'd be sharing ideas and talking about the business for hours. I believe so much in our little MM team and what we do. Yet, again, I sometimes get overly excited. I can't put thoughts and feelings into words; I end up either talking forever or just letting out some weird squeaky noises that are supposed to describe my passion for the business and excitement. I am truly beyond blessed to be experiencing this fascinating adventure and working for a company that cares. I'm not going to lie; I am always looking forward to the next day in the valley. Life in the bush is far from boring. I honestly have never thought jewellery would take me to such places.
Thanks again, mum, for telling me to study jewellery, it has been the best decision I have ever made.
Shop Vi's Favourite Pieces Here:
The snare chain with fresh water pearls ---> click here
The snare circle bracelet --> click here
The original snare necklace --> click here