WOW, WOW, WOW!!!! First update in country. Sorry to everyone out there who is counting on this as the frontline for communication on my adventures here. I have an internet phone where I can access my facebook and a new e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org now), but apparently it doesn’t really like blogspot or yahoo. From now on, my updates will be when I have access to an internet café…might not be too often.
So, gosh, Zambia…it rocks. I am loving loving loving it here. Peace Corps has been awesome, the country is awesome and every day is a new adventure. Off the top of my head updates: I’m trying to learn Bemba, failing outrageously every day. I have a great homestay family, my Bamama (grandmother) is so cool and her grandkids are great. I spend most of my time with my 17 year old sister Mweemba, who rocks at plaiting hair. Yes, not braiding, plaiting. And they say bathe and bathing like “baathing”, its awesome. My biggest challenge is that while my Bamama speaks Bemba, the rest of the family speaks Nyanja, which is making my immersion difficult, but other than that, its amazing. I have my own little hut, bucket baths are hands down the best way to clean your body, we have the Chalimbana river just down the hill from my compound, I ride my bike to class every afternoon and the ride is siiiiick (as is my sweet bike), the dirt stains my musungu feet red I don’t think they’ll ever be the same, the nshima is delicious (although I do have cravings for American food that I hear will only get worse over time), fresh picked guavas are the most magical thing on the face of this planet, pinapple Fanta has forever changed my life, and the African night skies are the most breathtakingly beautiful thing I have ever seen. Pretty much my life rocks.
No major culture shock or illnesses yet. Note that I did say major… but really, all is well. I realized today as we were driving through Lusaka that I must becoming villiage-ized as the city is getting nicer and more “bwana” every time we come here. Things like stoplights make me stare now… LIFErs leave on Sunday for our second site visit, this time it will be to where we will actually be living for the next two years, and I’ll find out my site assignment on Friday!!! I really can’t wait. Things that I have learned thus far: Peace Corps doesn’t tell you what’s going on 90% of the time (for those of you who are still in application process this is particularly applicable), but it’s not because they want to torture you. It’s really because they really don’t know what’s going on either. So many details are figured out in country or on the go. It was frustrating until I figured this out, now I just roll with it.
Prevalent things I have noticed upon living here: Snakes of all sorts are the Devil and will be destroyed upon sight, slow jams are always on the radio, Minibuses every where, and tons of salt in the food. Avoiding generalizations, but that’s what I’ve seen. The really cool stuff: like whenever you drink a Coke or a beer, you return the bottle to the proprieter for reuse, there is real sugar in everything (!!!!!!), people walk and bike everywhere (mostly because cars are really expensive), you greet everyone you see even if you don’t know them, and you can ask someone for anything and they will do there very best to help you out. The first hour after we arrived in country, we were driving from the airport and a group of boys hollered “Welcome to Zambia!” as we were driving by. I couldn’t stop smiling.
List of things I’d never thought I’d hear/see in Zambia: Don Williams’ Greatest Hits, Brandi a la seventh grade, Bob Marley, Miranda Lambert and Allan Jackson, Sean Kingston, Lady Gaga, Pringles and Doritos, adorable shoes. Mind you the last few items are rather expensive, but still, it’s here.
Anyway, that’s the best I can do off the top of my head. So much stuff and stories. I will do my best to keep you all up to date with the happenings of my life, but it may only be monthly. Definitely keep checking back… Pictures will come soon.