Lodge Blog Archive
A diary of happenings at Chanters Lodge, Livingstone, Zambia with reflections on Zambia and personal matters too

MICHAEL BOLLINGER & BRENDA CATHER
Meet Michael Bollinger and Brenda Cather who don't seem quite sure whether they're 'an item' or not! Judging from this photo, taken at Machu Picchu in Peru, they should be! Brenda's a distant relative of famous American author Willa Cather. Michael and Brenda were staying at Chanters Lodge last weekend, arriving late on Friday night. They'd left Kilimanjaro Airport in Tanzania early on Friday morning, flown to Nairobi, Kenya and then on to Lilongwe, Malawi from where they boarded a plane to Lusaka arriving around noon. At 14.30 they caught the Mazhandu coach from Lusaka to Livingstone, arriving at Chanters around 22.15! It's their first trip to Africa.

More surprising perhaps than the '4 countries in 1 day' story, is the fact that by 08.00 on Saturday morning these two were out canoeing on the Zambezi! Oh! And did I mention the reason they were at Kilimanjaro Airport in the first place? It was because they'd just climbed the famous Mount Kilimanjaro, followed by a three day safari in Tanzania taking in the Serengeti, Lake Manyara and the Ngorogoro crater! Apart from canoeing on the Zambezi on Saturday morning they flew 30 minutes each in the microlight over the Falls in the afternoon, which Brenda described as 'a flying lawn mower'. Well they have big lawn mowers in the USA I guess! On Sunday they rode elephants in the morning and then took a more gentle sunset cruise.

Michael and Brenda hail from Denver, Colorado and they climb! Out of 68 mountains higher than 14,000' in the USA, 54 are apparently in Colorado and Michael's scaled 35 of them! Brenda? Oh! Just 11! How do I know all this? Because Michael and Brenda guested on our regular Sunday night radio show The Chanters Lodge Experience with The Milli Jam Ingredient airing weekly on Zambezi Radio107.5 fm, Livingstone's popular local radio station. Great guests they were too!

Michael drives excavating machinery for a living and Brenda works for CIMA Energy. They're both Christians, and Brenda once worked for KPOF one of Denver, Colorado's Christian local radio stations. Micheal and Brenda had originally been booked to fly to Livingstone on Zambian Airways and hadn't heard about the demise of the airline until they received my e mail. As a 'reward' they brought me two CD's - Taylor Swift's 'Fearless' and Beyonce's 'I Am…Sasha Fierce'. We played two Beyonce tracks on the show, and two from Brandy - 'Right Here (Departed)' and 'Piano Man'. We played two Zambian numbers too - 'Naiwe Waya' by Runnel ('you've also gone') and 'Bushe Unikonda' ('do you love me?') by General Ozzy. (Translations courtesy of Milli Jam!) Add 'So What' by Pink (huge in the USA), and 'You've Got It' by Roy Orbison, and that was the super playlist for our one hour show.

When Michael and Brenda arrived at the lodge I'd called Brenda 'Nancy' by mistake and this misnomer continued all the way through the pre-show interview until I suddenly realised that 'Nancy' was really Brenda! What a mess! We laughed about it on air. Then, when we gave away our regular dinner for two at Chanters Lodge (for the first person to tell us by text which country Michael and Brenda came from), guess the name of the first person with the correct answer? Nancy! You've got it! Isn't life odd?

We asked Brenda and Michael whether they thought they'd ever get married and they told us they had a pact that if Brenda turned 40 and wasn't married to someone else, she'd marry Michael! Milli Jam looked bemused. These two have been dating off and on for 21 years - and climbing mountains together for just about as long! When we asked them for their messages to listeners they talked about the friendliness of the Zambian people as well as the beauty of Africa. Brenda added that she'd like to tell the audience 'life isn't about the number of breaths you take, but about the number of moments in life that take your breath away'. Isn't that cute? Judging from the tales of their recent experiences in Africa, there must have been plenty of both in the past week or two!

I sent greetings to my family, our other Guests including Doug Macmillan; Peter Isitow; the Norwegian girls and our Guests from Southern Cross Motors. Then following a question from Milli Jam about a rumour, I was also happy to confirm that Annastasia Katele, Susan Timwindila and Melinda Silubwa, staff at Chanters, had all recently been promoted! Annastasia to 'head girl' (for want of a more professional title for now), and Susan and Melinda to front office (actually a lot more than just front office). I'm delighted for them and for us too, and said so!

Before they left on Monday morning Brenda and Michael did the Zip Line with Abseil Zambia - Peter Isitow was convinced Michael would propose to Brenda on the Whoopie Slide but by all reports he didn't - shame!

Posted: 24 February 2009 at 05:21
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