If you’re visiting Zambia, you’ll probably arrive by air. In a landlocked country there aren’t many practical alternatives.
I remember my first visit – collecting my luggage after landing, passing through Customs, the warm welcome. It was September and there’d been no rain for several months. The rainy season used to start around Independence Day – 24 October – and finish in April. But with climate change, the old certainties have gone.
As we left the airport that day in September, the land was brown and parched. To reach Lusaka, you drive through the Police checkpoint, before taking the Great East Road into town. This huge, colourful chicken is your first major landmark, standing proudly in the middle of its own roundabout.
Taking a decent picture of the chicken was harder than expected. I had to go back several times before I was satisfied with the result. Whilst the subject cried out to be shot in colour, a plain blue sky felt bland and uninteresting. Not until my third or fourth visit was I blessed with white, puffy clouds to liven up the scene.
Zambia’s Golden Jubilee has come and gone – it was celebrated in 2014. But if you take the Great East Road into (or out of) Lusaka, you’ll still find the big friendly chicken watching the world go by.