September Fades and October Looms


My favorite month of the year is October.

Pumpkin pie, orange surrounding me, and crisp air flowing around me. Fall is not found here under the sun. No leaves fall but instead dry up as October is the hottest month in the year. So hot that stepping on the ground was enough for one to dash inside under shade.

I miss you, October. The October of my home when the wind would turn on us and push us with force. I would only rejoice feeling my bones waken when it came by. But no breezes exist here. Not for the Zambian October. In these differences, I miss home the most.

Homesickness came by once in a while and especially when it came to food. But I have never seen much longing until this month. To see so much of home. To see so much of the people I miss too dearly. To sleep in my own bed and walk to the fridge and open it only to realize I don’t know what I wanted to get in the first place. To hear Lovely bark when she saw me. To drive down Mallory Road and speed up a bit when I felt no one was looking. To walk by a Cinnabon and contemplate how special that day was to deserve a splurge of that cavity filled magnitude. To see my mother laugh non stop on something not at all funny only to see my brothers shaking their heads with me, still bewildered at the fact that this dork was our mother. To watch my lavender plants grow and my rose bloom. To sit outside and wish to be somewhere as magnificent as Zambia.

How I crave to be home…My first birthday and I am to be alone, far away from the huge Costco cake my mom would buy for me even though it was only for 5 of us. And my brothers and my cousins and I would finish that thing in a week. To see my cousins come around to see me but especially for the food…I miss it too greatly.

How I crave packages now. I crave pictures and little things of home so much this month. For I need to be reminded of how home feels and to be strong as my new place is not so lonesome. I am blessed for my family with eight children all older than me and grandchildren a plenty, three quarters of them are born in October. Every day will be celebration with Zambian frosted cake and fried dough. My youngest host sister’s daughter Asha was born on the 23rd and the Zambian 50th Year Independence Day is on the 24th and the day after I become 23.

I miss you home. Pumpkin pie and chocolate. Halloween parties and the movie Hocus Pocus. I miss you too much and it makes me cry to know I will be far from the orange and gold leaves flying about on the winds. But for the rest of my life, I can say I was 23 when Zambia turned 50 in its freedom, or My family here celebrated their new daughter’s birthday with the rest of their October babies. For the rest of my life, the years 23 and 24 of my life will always belong to the golden, heat-drenched, shade-sought after October months of Zambia.



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  • 2 weeks ago

Mr. Stone, Rocky Stone


Today was another day for cycling but a sore throat bothered me. The night had gone cold and it worsened my throat. Saltwater helped but I had plans today to meet the community school of Ifikoko. Lunchu has a school but run by the government and staffed under incredibly roofed buildings. Though there is overcrowding, students only have to pay a small fee for the year. The community school has thatched classrooms and only two certified teachers with two others volunteers only passed the fifth grade. The children pay a higher fee. 10 kwatcha a month for each child. Imagine a family with three kids paying for each month when you earn less than that per year. Where every year depends on your crops. Here only down the street from the Lunchu government school, more girls are married off and gotten money from their bride price than wasting money on school.

We talked about clubs and the amount of time required for each workshop and planned to take our time as there is too much to do and we should not rush.

As we cycled to the school, Violet’s bike pedals came loose and so she found a stone to hit them into place. Until she realized how often it happened, she picked a new stone every time. Until the one stone that kept the pedal in. She smiled at me and says, “This one wants to come with us!” And she tied it to her bike rack.

As we rode on, she called out to the stone,

Mr. Stone? Are you holding on? You’ve fixed my bike and I will go fast now so make sure to stay!

I couldn’t breathe from laughing at this woman sing to the rock. After we had left the school, we rested on the side of the road under a tree from the hot sun. The stone fell down and she shook her head.

You came here with us and you will go back home! Stop fighting, Rocky!

She tied it right and we rode back talking about planning how the clubs will work and timing as well as if it will work out. Violet was positive and I was pessimistic.

Who am I to say and teach? My counterpart knows just as much, maybe even more. These are one of many questions that flood our minds.

But it is up to us to make the structure and figure out what to do.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, Violet reminds me.



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  • 2 weeks ago

Almost a month in Village


The eggs are hatching today. I’ve been here three weeks and the chickens laid these eggs when I arrived. Little annoying chicks will be crossing into my yard soon and it will be great throwing rocks to condition them to not grow up into roosters and crow near my bedroom. I’m not a rooster person in Zambia. All the testosterone and scratching and crowing and chicken chase. Nope. Not into it.



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  • 2 weeks ago

Singing to Techno: My African Alarm


Waking up near a family of radio owners and dancers and children a plenty can be draining to many especially starting at 6 in the morning but they start off slow and burst into club music, waking you softly that you roll off bed smooth and slow. Waking up here has never been quiet and I’m thankful for that because it makes more sense to be aroused by small noises then to be shocked awake with a blaring sound in a quiet area.

Except the greatest moment is eating breakfast and seeing your nephews dance to techno with no effort, you laugh into your tea. The chickens are even surprised at how well they can freeze it and lock it.

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  • 2 weeks ago

Onward to Lunchu


As soon as we moved out of the hotel, we packed our cruisers and said our goodbyes.

Crying was hard for me as I had made some amazing friends who were going somewhere different. Unique people who stood by me and thought friends are there to be your companions, not entertainment. Of course we made each other laugh but they were the people who chose those who were one of a kind, not just cause they made them laugh.

Those kind of friends you keep close. And I avoided saying goodbye till the end. Every time they came close, I shifted the topic or started to back away. Imagine having such great people for three months and not seeing them or talking to them frequently for another three…I know I will see them at Inter Service Training but to not see them through community entry…

Suffice to say, I cried. I cried too much.

The problem was that what are we supposed to do during community entry exactly? I was frozen. And frightened. And I won’t have my support group to help me. To aid me in my times of doubt.

But of course, they got into cruisers and I’m about to run after them… But I was strong. It’s the next step. The next movement.

A second later, I was in my cruiser driving away with the rest of my Central volunteers. We arrived at Serenje Provincial house before I knew it and after a long nap on the cruiser. Unloading the cars was difficult but helping each other was the best way to make the job easier. Then we were free.

To relax after three months. Bunk beds and open doors and internet. It’s a small America in these walls made just for volunteers.

I went to introvert mode immediately. The people are great. I just was tired. So I sat and used my computer in silence. Enjoyed the quietness in my head. We’d be here for two days and on Monday morning, we’d be out.

Those two days, I did nothing. AND I Loved it!!!

Of course, my heart was frightened of being so alone and away from what I know. What if my friends move on and leave me? Thoughts like that were compounded with anxious thoughts of inadequacy. What if I am not good enough? Who am I to tell people to change? Just a girl. A young girl. How can I change a village with just words?

But I dismissed those fears. I’ve made it this far and I figured our everything on my own. This will be no different. But of course I said this now. I’ll be lost once I’m in village of course…

The next two days were for shopping. We stayed at a lodge as we dropped off everyone. One by one and we bought paint and cement. Wire and hammers. Tools and curtains. Pots and pans. Stoves. Citenges for curtains and blankets and mattress. I was broke at the end. Completely spent my monthly salary. I am a first generation so I needed to get all new stuff like furniture. So all my money is gonna be spent on this house. But it was worth it.
In this world, I have my very own home. Home to Mapalo. they will all know and now you know. I own my very own house and I can’t wait to make it better and truly mine.

Shopping went by quick but it was incredibly stressful and I’m not good at money so of course I had a lot of trouble. I wish I wasn’t so frazzled but it was stressful. I got dropped first on Wednesday, September 3rd. We drove by a Twenty minutes and everything was unloaded and no one stayed to help me set up. Hugs and then I was watching the cruiser drive away. That was it. Like a bandaid being ripped apart.

Lots of sitting after that. But I went to work. Unpack. No shelves or furniture so stuff went back into bags but in order of kitchen, bathroom items, misc, and hardware.

Then my bed and mosquito net and I was done. Except there was late lunch with the family and I was alone.

It was so unbelievable that I was too shocked to be afraid or surprised. Not afraid, just wow.

Wow is All I felt for days. I’m finally here.



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  • 2 weeks ago

Swear In


It was a late night for our intake as we hung out past ten but we all were planning for something greater the next day. We were gonna become volunteers.

For the last few weeks, we were eagerly awaiting this great moment as we prepared ourselves, bought icitenge outfits and filled ourselves in excitement.
I woke up so tired at five to get ready and eat breakfast at 6:20. They wanted us to be out early and ready for the ambassador’s house.
Changed into my citenge outfit and dazzled myself up, we were out of the door and into cruisers before I knew it. I found this design for my dress and I was excited to showcase it.
Yellow frill one sleeve dress with a citenge pattern on the bottom. True Bemba princess material according to my Zambian friends. My days have started to become more meaningful. I wasn’t going to be drifting anymore as now my actions have to have impact and purpose.
Today my purpose was to meet as many ambassadors and influential people at my swear in. To talk to them of the work I will do and to see what they can provide us volunteers.
We celebrated the ceremony with speeches in the local languages we all had to learn depending on our region of work. 60 People ranging in age from 21 to 56 clapped hard, presented cultural dances and swore their paths as peace corps volunteers under a bright sunny day.
As beautiful as it could be, we couldn’t stop celebrating. We made it and it was hard for many of us. But we are the capable of the Americans. The ones who can make hard decisions and can do something so frightening. We have already lost a few of our people since three months ago and we will still lose more. But we made it this far and that is what counts. Wednesday: arrived around 3pm and unpacked slightly. No furniture except my bed so pretty much separated luggage. Read. Watched tv show. Listened to music till I fell asleep.

Thursday: first morning in Lunchu. Dust in my bed. Need to put a citenge over my mosquito net. Body pillow was a great purchase. (go Meghan!)

Friday: swept the house like four times today. Dust just doesn’t go away. Need a Zambian broom. Western brooms can’t handle this much air pollution.
Sorry, have to go sweep, again!

Saturday: got my clothesline up and curtains up in my shower and bathroom. Beautiful white lace. Let’s watch it turn brown in the two years….
Put two poles for my tippy tap. It’s a large jerry can on wire connected to a plank on the ground with string. You step on the plank pulling the mouth of the can down to pour water into your hands like a hand washing station. Using village materials only for sustainability. Hand washing etiquette achieved!

Sunday: sick. Cold? Flu? Nope. Sneezing, congestion and fatigue. Yes. Stayed in bed. Family was worried. I need rest. Sneezing. All this dust!!!! Sweep. Sweep. Sweep. Sleep. Sweep. Sleep.

Monday: woke up at 6:30. Damn!!!! Got up at 7:00. Made breakfast. Oatmeal and potatoes with green beans. Did dishes. Put out solar. Sweep and sweep again after the wind blows. Made my cooking area taller so I don’t have to crouch. Played with my kids and ran the rooster out of my Insaka. It’s a mud floor and he’s scraping to apart to make a space for his weft to lay her eggs. Nuh uh! Not here, you gigolo. Hate the roosters here. Gonna condition them to stay away from my house by throwing rocks whenever they come near. But they are too stupid to connect the dots. Can’t wait till I get my dog. Got some broken and old things I can fix up like a wicker basket I can use for….something. Gonna be the first Zambian hoarder. I mean it. I might have to fly in the crew of Hoarders. I keep everything and revamp it. I took a tin can with holes in one side, sewed citenge fabric over it and strung it onto my shower wall to be my soap and bottle holder. So I am a resourceful hoarder. ;)
Plans today: go out and talk to one person.

Tuesday: went to clinic. Village already has a great set up already. Every day in a week is a certain special day. Antenatal or post, etc. every second week they go to a certain village and set up under five clinic checks. Every last Thursday of the month is under five day.
Rained a thunderstorm and it scared the bajeezus out of me. First rain I’ve seen here and it’s crazy loud. I darted outside and marveled at this wondrous moment. I haven’t seen rain in so long. I played music and swirled around before rushing back into the house before I got soaked. People who came to see me laughed calling me, “Itenga. Kwati Itenga.”
They said I am like deep water. Silent and quiet and like itenga or deep water, you cannot see completely through unless you dive in.

I felt so touched to be known so well. Deep water is exactly what I am.

Wednesday: it has been one full week in my village. Damn. Time goes by fast here. Went to see headmen but they were dealing with some family court cases going on in the village. It was trivial stuff but deeply believed by my village.

The court cases took up most of the time so the headmen asked me to come next week. They told me to set up an appointment but then my counterpart explained it is because they want to be ready to give me a chicken or gifts. Some complained corruption and other words but Violet dismissed their worries. She lied saying I’m a student just studying and teaching our village with no medicine or money and only here to help. To tell the headman is to make sure the headmen know who is in their village. Violet takes care of me greatly and I felt so proud and secure when I heard her talk. She knows what I do and what the village needs: sensitization. She doesn’t ask me to be any more than that or has wild expectations.
How great of a person to work side by side with?!
We cycled back together after an unaccomplished day but that day I finished my tippy tap. My hand washing station was finished and I was so thrilled. Violet was thrilled as well saying how clever we are to use village materials to make this. She used it four times before she asked for some lotion for her dry hands while I laughed hard at her excitement. 42 with five kids and still a child at seeing marvels.

Throughout my week, so many proverbs came to my ear. Violet is so wonderful at proverbs I carry a book around to make sure to keep them safe and close to my heart.

When it rained, she said it was the opening of the sun for the hot season. Not a proverb but she continued to say, “The rain today only highlights the shine of the sun in the morning.” The pain today only makes the happiness later worth it.

Riding our bikes to the headmen started off horribly. Violet’s bike gain broke three times before we stopped at a neighbor and she took theirs. Two proverbs this time. For the broken bike she said, “You start the day with a good idea but you end it with a bad one.” Laughing at our change of plans and road, we realized our plans always will change. After we took from or neighbor on a moment’s notice, she laughed at my confused face wondering how long prison sentence is in Zambia for theft. She said, “remember this, Mapalo. Before your family and relatives receive news and come for a funeral on your home, your mutuko (nearby relatives or neighbors) come first.” She continued to explain. “When you wail and cry before your relatives come, your neighbors come and take the body inside. They cook and clean when you are too much in grief to do anything. Until you relatives come, they are your family. So be friends, great friends with your neighbors. For they are the relatives you call in need.” With that she tapped the bike. “I like a mile from this family but they are still my neighbors. A mile away and they are still family. So I can just go to their house and request an egg or flour or a child to help me or a bike to move on my way without anything given in return. That is a true Zambian neighbor.”
How incredible is that relationship? Neighbors bonded on trust and familial duty. A village is a family who looks after one another as best as they could, try to avoid conflict and take care of each other’s kids. Family is always right next door, Ba Violet continued.

When introducing me to the headmen, they asked if I eat Zambian food. He laughed and answered,”Yes! The visitor of the monkey eats what the monkey eats.”

When I told her about the hand washing station, she was so eager to see it immediately. She said, “If you are to follow the teacher, you must do what the teacher does.”



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  • 2 weeks ago

Snow Flower and The Secret Fan


Finished my first book this week and it took less than twelve hours. A good read and really moving. It was not the greatest I’ve read but definitely a book that keeps your attention.

A great read.
Good for the first week.



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  • 1 month ago

First Week In Village


Wednesday: arrived around 3pm and unpacked slightly. No furniture except my bed so pretty much separated luggage. Read. Watched tv show. Listened to music till I fell asleep.

Thursday: first morning in Lunchu. Dust in my bed. Need to put a citenge over my mosquito net. Body pillow was a great purchase. (go Meghan!)

Friday: swept the house like four times today. Dust just doesn’t go away. Need a Zambian broom. Western brooms can’t handle this much air pollution.
Sorry, have to go sweep, again!

Saturday: got my clothesline up and curtains up in my shower and bathroom. Beautiful white lace. Let’s watch it turn brown in the two years….
Put two poles for my tippy tap. It’s a large jerry can on wire connected to a plank on the ground with string. You step on the plank pulling the mouth of the can down to pour water into your hands like a hand washing station. Using village materials only for sustainability. Hand washing etiquette achieved!

Sunday: sick. Cold? Flu? Nope. Sneezing, congestion and fatigue. Yes. Stayed in bed. Family was worried. I need rest. Sneezing. All this dust!!!! Sweep. Sweep. Sweep. Sleep. Sweep. Sleep.

Monday: woke up at 6:30. Damn!!!! Got up at 7:00. Made breakfast. Oatmeal and potatoes with green beans. Did dishes. Put out solar. Sweep and sweep again after the wind blows. Made my cooking area taller so I don’t have to crouch. Played with my kids and ran the rooster out of my Insaka. It’s a mud floor and he’s scraping to apart to make a space for his weft to lay her eggs. Nuh uh! Not here, you gigolo. Hate the roosters here. Gonna condition them to stay away from my house by throwing rocks whenever they come near. But they are too stupid to connect the dots. Can’t wait till I get my dog. Got some broken and old things I can fix up like a wicker basket I can use for….something. Gonna be the first Zambian hoarder. I mean it. I might have to fly in the crew of Hoarders. I keep everything and revamp it. I took a tin can with holes in one side, sewed citenge fabric over it and strung it onto my shower wall to be my soap and bottle holder. So I am a resourceful hoarder. ;)
Plans today: go out and talk to one person.

Tuesday: went to clinic. Village already has a great set up already. Every day in a week is a certain special day. Antenatal or post, etc. every second week they go to a certain village and set up under five clinic checks. Every last Thursday of the month is under five day.
Rained a thunderstorm and it scared the bajeezus out of me. First rain I’ve seen here and it’s crazy loud. I darted outside and marveled at this wondrous moment. I haven’t seen rain in so long. I played music and swirled around before rushing back into the house before I got soaked. People who came to see me laughed calling me, “Itenga. Kwati Itenga.”
They said I am like deep water. Silent and quiet and like itenga or deep water, you cannot see completely through unless you dive in.

I felt so touched to be known so well. Deep water is exactly what I am.

Wednesday: it has been one full week in my village. Damn. Time goes by fast here. Went to see headmen but they were dealing with some family court cases going on in the village. It was trivial stuff but deeply believed by my village.

The court cases took up most of the time so the headmen asked me to come next week. They told me to set up an appointment but then my counterpart explained it is because they want to be ready to give me a chicken or gifts. Some complained corruption and other words but Violet dismissed their worries. She lied saying I’m a student just studying and teaching our village with no medicine or money and only here to help. To tell the headman is to make sure the headmen know who is in their village. Violet takes care of me greatly and I felt so proud and secure when I heard her talk. She knows what I do and what the village needs: sensitization. She doesn’t ask me to be any more than that or has wild expectations.
How great of a person to work side by side with?!
We cycled back together after an unaccomplished day but that day I finished my tippy tap. My hand washing station was finished and I was so thrilled. Violet was thrilled as well saying how clever we are to use village materials to make this. She used it four times before she asked for some lotion for her dry hands while I laughed hard at her excitement. 42 with five kids and still a child at seeing marvels.

Throughout my week, so many proverbs came to my ear. Violet is so wonderful at proverbs I carry a book around to make sure to keep them safe and close to my heart.

When it rained, she said it was the opening of the sun for the hot season. Not a proverb but she continued to say, “The rain today only highlights the shine of the sun in the morning.” The pain today only makes the happiness later worth it.

Riding our bikes to the headmen started off horribly. Violet’s bike gain broke three times before we stopped at a neighbor and she took theirs. Two proverbs this time. For the broken bike she said, “You start the day with a good idea but you end it with a bad one.” Laughing at our change of plans and road, we realized our plans always will change. After we took from or neighbor on a moment’s notice, she laughed at my confused face wondering how long prison sentence is in Zambia for theft. She said, “remember this, Mapalo. Before your family and relatives receive news and come for a funeral on your home, your mutuko (nearby relatives or neighbors) come first.” She continued to explain. “When you wail and cry before your relatives come, your neighbors come and take the body inside. They cook and clean when you are too much in grief to do anything. Until you relatives come, they are your family. So be friends, great friends with your neighbors. For they are the relatives you call in need.” With that she tapped the bike. “I like a mile from this family but they are still my neighbors. A mile away and they are still family. So I can just go to their house and request an egg or flour or a child to help me or a bike to move on my way without anything given in return. That is a true Zambian neighbor.”
How incredible is that relationship? Neighbors bonded on trust and familial duty. A village is a family who looks after one another as best as they could, try to avoid conflict and take care of each other’s kids. Family is always right next door, Ba Violet continued.

When introducing me to the headmen, they asked if I eat Zambian food. He laughed and answered,”Yes! The visitor of the monkey eats what the monkey eats.”

When I told her about the hand washing station, she was so eager to see it immediately. She said, “If you are to follow the teacher, you must do what the teacher does.”

IMG_1301.JPG

IMG_1307.JPG



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  • 1 month ago

Days Only Drag

Every day here has been a mess of changing situations. The night can differ
from the morning you woke from. Changes happen quickly when abroad and
decisions made are decisions forged. Make a choice and stick with it or be
considered horrible at your job. I had no choice the last few weeks. I had
to go through a turmoil of turn around personalities and mass confusion and
I’m glad to say it will not stop me. I love this job.

Remember one important thing when winds change. When decisions made are
given up. When days differ from the nights. When you want to take back
words or wish you had said more. Remember those are the waves that pelt
you. Except you are behind the wheel. Don’t let the cold spray frighten you
or let the cloudy sky lose your way.


Trust the strength inside you and if the waves push off course,
have that strength to accept the change.

And if that strength never fades, then who cares of the waves push too
hard. Who cares if the shore you dreamed of disappeared back into your
mind? Why would it matter if it took you longer across then you planned?

Because if the waves tested you, and they changed you, you were always
meant to be where you end up.

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  • 1 month ago

Rituals in Zambia

Dating and Marriage


There are many rituals that occur in an indirect culture.


Words and conversations change as people stop and avoid certain topics when
coming from a community based culture. Indirect culture is respectful and
mindful of the larger picture but the larger structure gains the attention
away from the individual.

During training, we had a sessions called Rituals By gender. We were
separated by gender and we were told that usually Unmarried women never
hear this in fear of being shamed or considered unclean. It was special
information meant to be transferred only at the time of marriage.


The language trainers began with a skit that drove us in laughter. Seeing
our Zambian companions pretend and act made me incredibly happy. It was a
long day and to see them act as father and mother, grandmother and
boyfriend and girlfriend made me laugh hard until I bruised my insides.


It began with a mother and father concerned about their daughter growing up
and wondering if she will be a woman soon. (A girl is considered a woman
after she has children). They called their daughter and of course she told
them nothing substantial but in a shy manner. She was told to aid her
grandmother. The daughter goes to her grandmother who she does confide in
about wanting to marry someone but she doesn’t know if it will happen cause
it was a small going love and her guy is America. The grandmother laughed
and wished her the best but asked to get her some water.

Then at the “well”, the main guy appeared, the twenty four year language
trainer in our training known for his sassiness and his lines. He comes in
and talks to the daughter saying if she remembers the love they had for
each other as he mimics pumping water for her. He carries the pail while
trying to hold her hand. Ah, how we laughed!!!!


The main girl says she doesn’t want people to think bad of her seeing her
alone with him and holding his hand. So the main guy then told her that he
will make contact with her family in the next few days and to expect for
them to continue. From there, she goes to her grandmother who them goes to
her parents. All so indirectly.


He then goes to his uncle and tell him of a “flower” he had back an that he
wished to plant her. Never did I hear the shrieking cries of laughter.
He paid some money to his uncle. His uncle brings the covered plate
of money to a headman who goes to the family. The father and mother act all
surprised about the news though the grandmother had let them in. They sneak
a peek at the money and happy they agree. The headman also agrees and
reports to the uncle and soon the main guy and main girl are now engaged.


This scenario was filled with Zambian culture though we laughed. It was not
because we were insensitive Americans but because we have come to know
these trainers as close friends and respect them as teachers and elders.


Marriage is a family affair. It is the joining of tribes and names. It is
the melding of villages. Girls are to be shy and not wanting attention.
Hand holding is as far as they will go and that even is too far. Marriage
is discussed by others and wanted by others. Discussions are never face to
face (family to headman to family) to avoid disputes if the girls’ family
doesn’t accept.


Divorce is a hard topic here in Zambia. That does not mean it does not
happen. Divorce is discussed and mediated by the man who came with proposal
of the wedding. Divorce is breaking up of families and they tried to avoid
it as much as possible. If married at civil and government level, divorce
is possible. If married at village level, it is increasingly difficult.


We of course talked about scandalous topics as separate groups but of
course as respect to Zambian culture and their importance on valued
information, I will not type it.


In Zambia, women and men share the same feelings as women and men do in
America. The same fears and pains and wants an desires. Except they are
behind close doors. That does not mean it is better. A husband can stop his
wife and a cheating husband brings fault to his wife for not keeping him
around. She has to defend him through it.


Women get rights but their voice is heard second. Their lines and family
tree is important as their children are matrilineal but in a divorce, the
men win the child.


Cultures are different but none is better the other. All we can do is not
wish for a universal system but learn and understand the differences
between each other. Enjoy our world, don’t ignore it.

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  • 1 month ago

Crystal Clear Sounds of Silence

On Sunday mornings, I am excited for my extra hour of sleep under the black
tarp over my bed that dims my room to perfect sleep inducing temperature
and solace. I jump for glee in my mind for the Sunday Morning.

But my mind turns.


During the week, I am awake and running around and talking to him an her
but all from America. I always knew I would love my group of Chips but
Sundays remind me of the remote life I will be living. Friends will not be
half a km away, or even a bike ride away. Church cannot be with them at
your site. You can turn to the only American and roll your eyes at your
shared experience. Your giggles cannot be so uncontrollable that you and
they are shushed. Inside jokes fade away. They will. Memories fade and it
will get harder.

My mind streams fast on thoughts such as these on a cold morning. My family
do not leave for Church. But I will have to join the family at my site.
alone. No more Americans from training to run to and dispel my daily
activities and cultural exchange.


When I walk, excited for my Sunday, I am to remember the Sundays, our bikes
whizzed on the fresh tarred road as our names were called out by school
children. Where we felt together and happy part of something rather than
hearing out words alone. Answering them in broken Bemba and not be able to
laugh at ourselves and almost fall off our bike.


Social groups are important. They help you sustain and keep yourself sane
in a world where everyone’s eyes are on you.


Training has been a hectic schedule with studying and lessons and sessions
taking every moment of the week away and leaving Sunday to drain us and
bore us. So many sounds outside and I only hear silence.


Sundays bring out the voices inside your head. It poisons your confidence
and eats away at your loneliness. Your need to speak English bed you to
find someone who understands.


But hold on for the breeze will tear into the cold you feel and the warm
sun will suddenly be blinding and the room you have will seem the safe home
you should stay until you can sleep and bring tomorrow closer. But do not
despair.

Do not despair. For you will harden. You will create and you will find to
fill up that Sunday. With people of your country and goals. Small at first.
One at a time. You will no longer feel that Sundays trick you with their
time. Find that you wanted time and then too much time. For your service
will test you. Test you to search the the heart that wants to hide in the
shadows. But step out, into the blinding light and find no fear there. No
fear if you don’t speak English for three or four hours or even the day
until night releases you. Do not fear being free. Do not fear freedom in an
unknown land.


For it may even heal you.

View text
  • 3 months ago

Site, MY VERY OWN Site!!

Finally as a Bemba while others knew where they will be located, I did not
know. I had three choices: Luapula, northern, and Central Provinces.


I say choice because it is more than the others got even though I still now
choose my final site.


I am first generation volunteer at Lunchu B in Central Province. My closest
family will be John Bwalya with ten people in his family.


Distance to nearest school: 800M

Distance to nearest clinic: 600M

Distance to market: 800M with vegetables, grocery foods and goods
available.


My water source is a mono pump and it is 600M from my site.


I am so excited that I cannot believe that I have a home in this large
country. I have a home here now in Zambia and I am so excited.

View text
  • 3 months ago

Crystal Clear Sounds of Silence

On Sunday mornings, I am excited for my extra hour of sleep under the black
tarp over my bed that dims my room to perfect sleep inducing temperature
and solace. I jump for glee in my mind for the Sunday Morning.

But my mind turns.


During the week, I am awake and running around and talking to him an her
but all from America. I always knew I would love my group of Chips but
Sundays remind me of the remote life I will be living. Friends will not be
half a km away, or even a bike ride away. Church cannot be with them at
your site. You can turn to the only American and roll your eyes at your
shared experience. Your giggles cannot be so uncontrollable that you and
they are shushed. Inside jokes fade away. They will. Memories fade and it
will get harder.

My mind streams fast on thoughts such as these on a cold morning. My family
do not leave for Church. But I will have to join the family at my site.
alone. No more Americans from training to run to and dispel my daily
activities and cultural exchange.


When I walk, excited for my Sunday, I am to remember the Sundays, our bikes
whizzed on the fresh tarred road as our names were called out by school
children. Where we felt together and happy part of something rather than
hearing out words alone. Answering them in broken Bemba and not be able to
laugh at ourselves and almost fall off our bike.


Social groups are important. They help you sustain and keep yourself sane
in a world where everyone’s eyes are on you.


Training has been a hectic schedule with studying and lessons and sessions
taking every moment of the week away and leaving Sunday to drain us and
bore us. So many sounds outside and I only hear silence.


Sundays bring out the voices inside your head. It poisons your confidence
and eats away at your loneliness. Your need to speak English bed you to
find someone who understands.


But hold on for the breeze will tear into the cold you feel and the warm
sun will suddenly be blinding and the room you have will seem the safe home
you should stay until you can sleep and bring tomorrow closer. But do not
despair.

Do not despair. For you will harden. You will create and you will find to
fill up that Sunday. With people of your country and goals. Small at first.
One at a time. You will no longer feel that Sundays trick you with their
time. Find that you wanted time and then too much time. For your service
will test you. Test you to search the the heart that wants to hide in the
shadows. But step out, into the blinding light and find no fear there. No
fear if you don’t speak English for three or four hours or even the day
until night releases you. Do not fear being free. Do not fear freedom in an
unknown land.


For it may even heal you.

View text
  • 3 months ago

Site, MY VERY OWN Site!!

Finally as a Bemba while others knew where they will be located, I did not
know. I had three choices: Luapula, northern, and Central Provinces.


I say choice because it is more than the others got even though I still now
choose my final site.


I am first generation volunteer at Lunchu B in Central Province. My closest
family will be John Bwalya with ten people in his family.


Distance to nearest school: 800M

Distance to nearest clinic: 600M

Distance to market: 800M with vegetables, grocery foods and goods
available.


My water source is a mono pump and it is 600M from my site.


I am so excited that I cannot believe that I have a home in this large
country. I have a home here now in Zambia and I am so excited.

View text
  • 3 months ago

Attitude Counts

Living life out in another country broadens and stretches your inner tranquility. It pushes you to be incredibly different and react different. Traveling is not changing addresses or food habits but having the right attitude. Having the attitude that strives after defeat, that cares for each and every one more than yourself and to see the silver lining instead of the dense fog overhead. Zambia is no different. One month. One month I have been here and attitude is the one thing I am proud to have brought in my suitcase. One month and I have been robbed. One month and that same day, my host sister passed away with mysterious malaria like symptoms. One month and I have cried. One month. It was enough. Zambia did not wait for me to be ready or for me to get used to Zambia. Zambia did not wait or surprise me before I began to love my host family and my loving sisters. Before I helped take care of my host sister’s child. Before I compared the life of a twenty two year old traveler out of college and a twenty five year mother of three year twin boys and a seven month old baby boy with smuggled nuts in his cheeks like a squirrel. I loved them and shared so much with my family than I ought to. I lucked out with my homestay. I am so lucky and in one month, I fell. After that horrible twelve hours, the last thing I wanted to think about was the girl who stole money from my window. Money can be returned. Jewelry can be remade. But losing a sister I actually loved… Be careful of wanderlust. A drug so powerful can break you and force you to push yourself and your bank account. But if you have the right attitude, you can ride its highs and brave it’s lows. This week has been too hard on me. And sometimes I cry at night for her. I cry for being so helpless and then when I think that there was actually nothing I could’ve done. She was 25. Attitude counts. In twelve hours, Zambia has tested me and through a flu, I had to mourn. Zambia has tested me but I will brave this.

I’ve packed light but I sure as hell packed well.
View text
  • 3 months ago
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