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, February 26, 2011

Host Family and PST (part 5)

Alright and that brings us to today. So after a few days I managed to make it to, my host family. They were very excited to have me arrive. My hut came complete with curtains and a lace room divider. My family is comprised of my Bamayo, Batata and many small children. My compound is about 2k from the training center and about 6k from the boma (town). I live with not electricity or running water and honestly it hasn't phased me yet. If anything its fascinating to actual monitor the water you use and all the things you need to go about your day.

And our days are busy... on a typical day I wake up at 5:30-6am and got to classes until 6 or 7pm, I generally pass out by 8. I am currently learning Bemba so that means that I will be placed in either Northern, Luapula, or Central province. Anyway times up. I just want to say I love you all and facebook is all that is available on my phone so hit me up there!

Staying at a Zambian Hospital (part 4)

Alright as some of you know, after first site visit I managed to catch a case of dysentery (what am I playing Oregon trail?). I btw didn't just managed to catch regular dysentery oh no... I got amebeotic dysentery which means mine came with parasites woo apparently I was the first case in Peace Corps Zambia. Anyway so many would thing getting a horrible illness would scare me off... if anything it made me more excited. Not because I was sick, cause trust me it was horrible... but because of the nurses at the hospital.

The women working there were some of the most intellegent and kindest people I have ever met. Because I was in bad condition when I first arrived the women looked out for me, coming in and out just to talk and keep me company. There was even a little bit of cross cultural exchange. Apparently ginger ale is not a common drink of upset stomach, because I couldn't eat for a few days all I could keep down was liquids, which in Africa means coke. I kept asking for ginger ale and I got many looks as though I had 10 heads, but the nurses went out on day and surprised me with ginger ale, mango juice and apples. They were wonderful and trust me being sent to a hospital with a bad illness in a strange country and scary but they made me comfortable and truly motivated me to want to work with the people of the this country. I can't thank them enough.

Intresting cultural observations (part 3)

Here is a list of things I have learned about Zambia so far...

-> It is day/month/year
-> You eat with your hands
-> You great with you right hand not your left
-> Thighs are sexual not breasts
-> You have to carry toilet paper with you because bathrooms don't supply them
-> All Zambians dress better then you
-> The currency is Kwacha and to simplify things instead of saying 20,000 kwacha you say 20 pin
-> Zambian children are fearless soccer gods many make their own balls with plastic bags
-> Plugging something in can kill you... you have to stick something in the top plug.
-> Polygamy is acceptable in some Providences
-> Hand-holding among same sex is a sign of friendship
-> Smoking is illegal but seems to be accepted in the capitol
-> Homo-sexuality is also illegal
-> Christianity is VERY strong here people often ask you name then you church...
-> There is no work for please in many of the Zambian languages being polite requires modification of the word.

First Site Visit (part 2)

Very early on in PST Peace Corps wants you to know what you are getting into. So they have designed things called site visits which involve actually staying with a current PCV and living with them for a few days. We were lucky enough to go stay with Maria and Marshal who were fantastic. We stayed in the Eastern Providence in a little village called Jacob (pronounced Jah-co-bo). It was a real eye opener to stay in a village. Everyday we got water from a borehole, used a braiser to cook, bucket bathed, and of course became good friends with the pit latrine.

We also got to go look at the schools we could be working in, there is a lot of work to be done in the rural schools and we attracted a lot of attention from the school kids. Some members of our group took part in the slaughtering of a chicken for dinner, I watched from far away and ate my vegetables. I'm happy to say its been very easy to be a vegetarian in this country.

I'm very happy that Peace Corps has things like this established in the program, it really helps you be able to visualize your life in Africa for the next 2 years. Staying there was a privilege and it made me even more excited to enter my own village.

Staging/travel (part 1)

Alright I finally have some free time in Lusaka and full internet so I can update, I've decided to do multiple subjects and instead of one big update here are a few highlighted posts.

So staging, we started off in Philly where I finally got to me meet my fellow trainees. We were 29 strong excited and ready to head to Zambia. After some training sessions in Philly we were quickly whisked away to JFK airport to try and beat the bad weather, amazingly we managed to make aboard South African Air. Our flight was great, we were feed well and entertained by safety videos. I personally enjoyed finally getting to watch the social network and the guardians of galhoul (sp?)

We ended up missing our connection in South Africa so had some time to kill in Johannesburg, I was amazed by how westernized that part of Africa was. South African influence can be found all over Zambia, our pens and many of the more western products are from there. Anyway eventually we made our way to Lusaka where we were reunited with our things and got to meet some of the staff, the cruiser ride to IFT where we stayed was one of the many "Oh my god I'm actually in Africa" moments I seem to have. We ended up staying there for a few days getting to know one another to prepare for site visit which I will talk about in the next segment.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Hello from Lusaka!

Alright so I only have 5 mins left at the internet cafe so I need to quick - here is a quick summary...

Traveling/Staging -
- My group is great, they come from such different backgrounds and experiences it's very enriching to be working with them.
- We had staging at Philly which was fun I got to see the liberty bell and all the historical sites.
- We ended up driving up early and spending a night at JFK witch was funny.
- We missed our origial flight and had to stay for a while.

Ahhh I'm out of time, Zambia is wonderful! We wont have internet for awhile so I'll update in a few months with pictures and video! Love you!