Saturday, April 10, 2010

Dreaming, flying, living....

Well, well, another day in Africa. And by another day, I mean another adventure. We finally have a bit of time off, finishing our lessons early today, and had the entire afternoon free. With a bit of change in my pocket and a notion in my head, I and a few of my fellow trainees have taken authentic Zambian public transportation into Lusaka for a bit of well-deserved R&R. It’s rare, and it’s amazing what a bit of retail therapy and real catsup on your chips will do for a person…

Second site visit was AWESOME!! I love my village, I love my site, I love Mansa, and I love all of the other PCVs I’ve met (although honestly I have yet to come across a not-totally-awesome Peace Corps person). Luapula province is even more beautiful than I was led to believe. We have gorgeous lakes that are so big and blue that it looks like a sea shore, the dambos go on as far as you can see, and it looks like someone painted the landscape into existence around you. It’s the Africa that I had hoped to see, and I am lucky enough to get to live in it for the next two years. But enough gushing. I am the first PCV that my village will have had, which will undoubtedly lead to some great stories later, so stay posted. As it is, they are sooooooooo excited to have me. Intense is the only word I can use to describe site visit. When I was first arrived, the cruiser pulled up to my house where there was, sitting in the middle of my yard, a table and three chairs arranged throne-like facing a bank where the ENTIRE village had congregated to greet me. Count: at least 52 children, plus adults. After the cruiser left, we sat staring at each other for a good twenty minutes, on record as the twenty most awkward moments in my living memory. Literally, I was like the polar bear in the zoo. They were all so eager to make me feel welcome that the only time I was alone for the two days I was there was when I managed to hide in my icimbusu. I’m sure that by then end of my stay they probably thought I had a bladder infection or something, I was escaping off to “go to the bathroom” so often. But it was fantastic at the same time it was exhausting. I was walked around to all of the surrounding villages to greet the headmen (and a headwoman!), and we made quite a little parade, me, my hosts, and a band of at least 15 iwe at any given moment. Meeting my counterpart was exciting as he told me straight up “We will make you work hard for us!” Exactly what I like to hear. My only hope was that I would have a community that was excited to have me and use me as a resource and listen to my ideas, and I am so glad that it appears that I have found that. Enthusiasm is what will make our work successful. :D

Anyway, things are winding down (sort of) at Chalimbana. There is a buzz in the air like the last two weeks before a graduation, which swearing in kinda is. Lots of studying Bemba in my future. We swear in on the 23 of April and then move out the next day. Bitter sweet, I have made so many new friends that have become my new family here. I know there are more waiting for me, but all the same, I will miss my host sister and family, and my trainees and trainers. But for now, I will take every moment as it comes, just riding the ride and living the dream…


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