*If you don't feel like actually reading this skip to the bottom for fun links!
First and foremost I would like to state that I am extremely excited to be serving in Zambia. It is a country of rich history, beautiful scenery and it it will be challenging (which is good).
Where is Zambia?
First we need to go to Africa!
There it is!
There is Zambia!
It's a Landlocked country in Africa bordered by Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, Malawi, Angola, Zaire and Tanzania (does anyone else have the Animanics song in there head now?). The capital city is Lusaka, located in the south-central part of the country. Zambia itself is divided in provinces (seen below)
Where are the People?
The majority of the population are centered in Lusaka and the Copperbelt. There are many scattered tribes throughout the country. Each of the provinces have there own traditions and culture.
There are 72 documented languages in Zambia despite English being the official language. The most commonly spoken are Bemba, Nyanja, Tonga, Lozi, Lunda, Kaonde, Luvale. The official currency is Kwacha which roughly, 1 US dollar = 4,900 kwacha.
Why do People Come to Zambia?:
The most commonly visited site in Zambia is Victoria Falls, made famous by Livingstone.
Issues in Zambia:
- About 68% of Zambians live below the poverty line
- Life expectancy is 40
- High infant mortality rate: 68.4 deaths per 1,000 live births
- Most children (especially girls) drop out of school in their 7th year due to economic issues
- Zambia currently has one of the highest incidences of HIV/ AIDS in Africa. About 16 percent of men and women between the ages are HIV positive.
What I will be Doing in Zambia:
I will be working with RED (Rural Education Development) project. Which is working to improve education in Zambia across the country. Working with the Ministry of Education (MoE) staff at the Zone Center School (ZCS) and Zonal Resource Center (ZRC). With counterparts, Volunteers assist in implementing educational initiatives, such as the "Learning at Taonga Market" interactive radio instruction program, zone-based teacher trainings and other continuing professional development opportunities, school monitoring visits, community literacy classes, and school clubs for HIV/AIDS, girls' empowerment, and environmental awareness. They also engage with interested rural communities to develop and support their education infrastructure through sensitization and training of parent community school committees.
Most Volunteers live in earthen houses lighted by kerosene lamps. Meals are cooked over wood or charcoal. Typically, Volunteer sites are in villages where there is neither plumbing nor electricity. You will have your own mud brick/ thatch roof house, pit latrine, outdoor cooking area, and shower area. Drinking/washing water may need to be carried from as far as 30 minutes away by foot. Some sites will be very isolated and the closest Volunteer may be 40 kilometers or more away.
The mainly cited foods in Zambia are: Nshima (cornmeal porridge), cabbage, and kapenta (fish), as well as other staple foods like local leaf sauces and smoked fish. Fruits such as mangoes, guavas, and especially bananas, can be found commonly everywhere, but mangoes are seasonal; vegetable variety is generally good, but can be seasonally difficult, and meat is not readily available for Volunteers while at their site (WOOO!)
Travel:Due to Peace Corps polices, Volunteers are not allowed to operate motorized vehicles of any kind. Zambia itself is a rural country so many volunteer find themselves traveling by bike extensively many bike up to 30 miles a day - and traveling to the capitol can take days.
*Much of this info was taken from the Peace Corps welcome book for Zambia.
Other People in my Group:
Blogs about Zambia:
- Amazing movie about PC service in Zambia
- Life in Zambia (Interviews with PC volunteers in Zambia)
- Tour of Couples House in Zambia
- Tour of Single hut in Zambia (Very cute!)
- Another Hut in Zambia (Sorry I'm addicted)
- Zambian Singing
- You Know Your an African Volunteer When...
Glimmers of Hope: Memoir of a Volunteer in Zambia
(AWESOME BOOK! Memoir of a volunteer teacher in Zambia)
Cultures and Customs of Zambia
Globetrotter Zambia and Victoria Falls
The Ugly American
Offical Peace Corps Zambia Page
Peace Corps Wiki Page on Zambia
Wikipedia - Zambia
Lonely planet - Zambia
National Zambia Homepage
African News - Zambia
CIA Factbook - Zambia
Zambians for Empowerment and Development