The content of this blog is the creator's own thoughts and does not represent the views or opinions of the Peace Corps or the United States Government. I would also like to apologize for all my spelling and grammatical errors... there will be a lot.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Hello From America-land!

My family flew me home for the holidays! To be honest it’s a bit strange, I wasn’t expecting a trip home until I was done with Peace Corps, but this has been a nice break from the bugs, and heat. So what do you notice about America when you have been living in Africa for almost a year?

  • - Everyone seems to dislike color (compared to Zambia’s chitenges)
  • - There is so much food!
  • - Why do we need 400 types of everything?
  • - Everything is so easy! Laundry you throw in a machine, you can just turn on a shower, and you can cook for on a stove.
  • - There is constant distraction, tv, internet, ipod, radio, movies, etc.
  • - You rarely interact with the actual climate, the air in our houses, cars, shops all have artificial climates.
  • - America caters to everyone, I went to the museum of sex on one block passed a church and a palm reader on the way.
  • - Transport is easy, if you don’t have car there are trains, planes, buses.
  • - You can’t do anything without money

Most surprising of all was how easy it has been to come back. I was a bit nervous that people had moved on that I couldn’t just glide back into life. It has been very easy, from the moment my plane landing I have been surrounded by friends and family and they want to talk about Zambia more than I do. One of my friends actually introduces me as “This is Lisa, she’s home from Africa!”. Granted it’s a great pick up line “So I just got back from Africa…”

Anyway enjoy the holidays! I’ll be back in Zambia Jan 2 or 3rd.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Camp GLOW!

One of the projects in Peace Corps I am the most excited to be taking part in is Camp Glow (GLOW = Girls Leading Our World). This is a worldwide activity that PCV’s around the world put on every year. It’s a girl’s empowerment project, which is something I think is very important for so many young women around the world. This year I came as a sort of helper/observer, next year myself and 2 other volunteers in my province will be in charge of organizing the camp (yay grant writing!).

This year’s camp focused on so many topics. Unfortunately in Africa girls are lowest on the totem pole. There are a lot of opportunities denied to them, usually their education. Worse is that many are in sexually abusive environments and have no one to turn to for help or even understanding. Things are getting better but it is still a huge issue. On top of that, they have to deal with all the same issues American teens do; acne, boys, getting their period, and weird body changes. This camp is a safe environment to discuss it all.

This year we talked about sugar daddies, prostitution, HIV, STI’s, hygiene, self-esteem, puberty, did condom demos, counseled them on sexual abuse, talked about staying in school, offered STI testing and on top of it all we got to do some rock climbing and canoeing.

It’s a really brilliant program and it is a pleasure to be a part of it.

Video of our slideshow!

Individual Photos Here

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Bats, Ninja Turtles, and Model Competition


Happy Thanksgiving! Its so odd to be in another country for thanksgiving but we are making good times of it. We have provincial meetings this week so everyone in the provice is staying at the house, which means provs parties (we did a 90’s tv show theme this time) and TONS of great food cooking. We even have football streaming online. Amazing what a bunch of determined Americans can do.


Before provs I took my second day trip to Kasanka to go see the great bat migration take place. Each year in Oct/Nov over 8 million fruit bats fly from the Congo to Kasanka national park in Zambia. I went earlier in Oct when the bats were less but I managed to anger a whole herd of elephants. This time the bats were in full bloom, it was amazing.


Completely unrelated business. My friend from home is in a competition for a professional photo shoot. This is the last week that voting is open so if you could PLEASE get your friends/cousins/boyfriend/girlfriend/mom/dad/ anyone!
Click 'like' on her pic here:
And do the same here:
And thank you :)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Vogons, toilets, and condoms.

Fun Things Going On In My Life:

Call my Arthur Dent:

On one particular Thursday I woke up at 5am to the sound of tree’s being chopped down. Wishing nothing further then to ignore it, I tried to fall back to sleep. However it was insistent, I finally realized the tree’s being cut… were mine. I woke up in a fit; half dressed I stumbled outside and tried to yell in fractured Bemba. I unfortunately didn’t know how to say “What the hell are you doing?!” After more frantic yelling a Bamayo came over and translated for me, apparently they are building a road through part of my house, and they were clearing the area. The bulldozer would be coming in a few days. I of course very politely told the road builders to shove it up their you-know-what. This didn’t seem to have the desired effect…

So we had to relocate my toilet and my fence, the building is almost finished. All that’s left is to cement the floor. Ironically the bulldozer came… the road doesn’t even touch my property.

Don't Panic.

Condoms, Condoms, Condoms:

So recently I have been working heavily with an HIV support group. We have meetings consistently (a feat in itself). Have started and maize field and vegetable garden. Our newest initiative is to distribute condoms. As a registered group we get hundreds of free condoms, and are supposed to “educate” the community. Now I have tried to talk about condom use before in the community and have normally been met with resistance. But now that I just walked around with a box, people were practically mugging me for them. I gave a man 10 and he went “Madam are you serious? This won’t last us the night!”. Today I took a bike ride to work at the under 5 clinic, armed with a 300 hundred condoms, a wooden penis and the eye of the tiger. At first the clinic officer was hesitant, but a woman saw the wooden penis and started yelling for me to do a demo. So in front of about 200 hundred women I did a demo for female and male condoms. I was suddenly struck with an extreme sense of awareness. That yes I did leave my home country, travel across the world, to live in a small village, and put a condom on a giant wooden penis for 200 African women… I get paid to do this? My life is great.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Traveling in Zambia

Transportation in Zambia one word… adventure! Now adventure is defined as…


An unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity.

I think that covers it.

There are a few main ways of travel in Peace Corps. As volunteers your money is not infinite. You tend to swap comfort for a cheap ride. So here I will present my travel guide.

Big Buses:

These babies are Zambia’s version of the greyhound system. They are made more for the bwana (rich) and tourists. They run on large pre-set routes across the country, and are pretty fast, plus you get awesome Nigerian movies to watch! A nice aspect is that they leave semi-on time and just go straight to your destination. Unfortunately this is pretty expensive on a PC budget.

Mini Buses:

You have not traveled in Africa until you’ve been on a mini bus. You see them everywhere, painted blue, with fun names on the front and back like “God is good” “Jesus is hot” or “Life Beyond” (I honestly have no idea who comes up with the names). Riding in one is an experience not for the claustrophobic, they are a bit like clown cars I have yet to see a mini bus deny a person. Be prepared to have at least a chicken or a baby on your lap, possibly a full grown person. You also might need to barter a good price; sometimes the conductor might just change it on you. Mini buses are not recommended for major trips, they stop constantly to pick up more people. I have taken one 30km and it has taken hours. They also will not leave until totally full so you can end up waiting hours to go. They are however cheap and great for traveling in Lusaka.


Taxi’s supposed to be selected cars with coloring and such but often turn out to just be some dude with a car. They are really good for getting to somewhere specific at a specific time. Unlike most transport in Africa they leave as soon as you ask them, and will take you where ever. Unfortunately you often have no idea what is a fair price until you have been ripped off once or twice. So just get ready to spend your money, especially if your driver wants to set a “booking fee” which is a “off road fee”.


They number 1 way to travel. Hitch hiking in Africa is a pretty set system, very few people have cars so they ones that do like to make some extra cash picking people up. It’s a pretty straight forward process, stand on the side of the road in the direction you want to go, wave your arm when you see a car coming, and if they stop set a price before hand chowpwa. Hitching is pure luck, sometimes you get a ride right away sometimes your stranded for days, it’s all part of the adventure. The reason it’s so preferred is that it’s the cheapest way to move about; you also get to go as soon as you get a ride instead of waiting for hours to move. You just have got to have an open mind and be prepared for a little surprise along the way. Sometimes your drivers are awesome I have met some of the coolest people on hitches, and sometimes they are creepers… fake husbands are super useful in that scenario. You also never know what kind of ride you are going to get, my most memorable so far have been… and ox cart, a shake-shake truck, in a pick-up with couches, and on top of a pile of maize. Welcome to Africa.