Blog 2008 04 27
Well, trainings done (thank goodness, I hardly had time to think). Just have a couple more days of chaos getting the stuff I need (the list is endless) and then I’m going to be posted. During training, what I did in my “free time” was spending it studying chinyanja. Tech was for the most part pretty good although, though called “tech,” it wasn’t technical enough for my liking, but I like to get into the details more then some. The last week has been a whirlwind. Tuesday was the eventful day that we would all be tested on our language. I somehow managed to memorize enough chinyanja to pass. The tech test was a breeze, it just started too late so that it was dark before I had finished. I passed everything though. Wednesday was “Cross Cultural Day” in which we invited some of our host family members to come and hear some presentations done by soon to be PCV’s in the various Bantu dialects spoken where the PCV’s were going to be posted. After the speeches were done, we all ate a Semi-American meal (Soya Tacos and burgers and dogs) which the volunteers had prepared. It was good, especially because I had been eating bread for a lot of my breakfasts and nshima with lapu (rape) or chiŵaŵa (I think I have the spelling correct, think of the small dog and you basically have the pronunciation right – it’s pumpkin leaves) relish for just about every other meal I had with my family. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t bad, just I was used to a more diversified diet.
Anyway, getting back to the last week, on Thursday we put all of our stuff on the bus and drove to the Lusaka main office for admin sessions the majority of the day. Then we moved to a resort/campsite/cattery/bar place for this night and the next, I guess just to relax a bit after training was over.
Friday was our swearing in ceremony in which we all dressed up, some in traditional garb, others with ties/skirts. The ceremony was somewhat formal; the guest speaker was the minister of Tourism, Forestry and Environment which is the LIFE programs department. After the ceremony was over and we had all been sworn in and eaten lunch, I got a driver/admin person to drive me to a solar panel store to buy a deep cycle battery. As it turned out, the address I had been given was the same place I had been before, although having seen the battery I eventually got at action at a wildlife sanctuary we had gone to, I was more willing to get it. This didn’t stop the ordeal from taking 3+ hours of trying to test my various devices on the battery (which is an un-sealed lead acid battery)
Then Saturday, with our Landover’s almost twice their normal height what with all the luggage plus everyone’s bikes stuffed onto them, we set out on the long ride (8-10 hours, depending on whether you get stuck behind a smelly 18 wheeler going 20km an hour) to Chipata.
Today we went to Shopright, the grocery store and one of the only stores open on Sunday save for a few vegetable stands, and bought enough food to last at least a month. The Provincial House is almost just like a college dorm, save for the daily power outages and with them, no running water. It’s a homely place with great people and I wish we would be able to stay a few more days just to relax before the eventful day we get posted (probably Tuesday). Tomorrow I need to buy an insurmountable about of things because I am moving into a bare house. Alright, hopefully I also get internet working on my cell phone so that I can post more regularly.
-Tidzionana (We’ll be seeing each other [again, I think I have the spelling correct, chinyanja is a very vocal language so you don’t see things written a lot])