2008 07 31 …a frustrating ride to the BOMA …left stuff at Dist. ED Ext. office, the went to the market where the one time I hadn’t brought any plastic bags they were out of them …came back and was going to work on my laptop but the power was out. I guess the power always goes out at lunch time. …Tried to buy popcorn but it was dilibe at all the stores. I did find a tea strainer that I will use for the non-instant coffee grounds I bought (although first I need to use the stuff I brought with me from the states) …power finally came back on and I charged and added more podcasts & music to ipod …was about to leave when I got a call from my banja mu America who were on vacation in Maine. Maine is great and this will be the first year I haven’t been there since I was born, something I can’t say of anywhere else. They were doing the usual things we do in Maine and I guess the blueberries are great this year. The phone call needed to be short because they were calling on their cell phone …went to the post office but it closed at 1600 so I biked back. I hadn’t put on my bike shorts so my nether regions were very sore by the end
…woke up pa 530 went to meeting about sanitation andhad a free lunch at the gov. guest house
…waited around at the Dist. ED ext. office and checked email on my phone but couldn’t blog because connection was to slow and I had to view a variation image to use mobal blogging – somewhat discouraging
…talked to district education head and the meeting of all the heads of all the district boards still had not happened because the person in charge was at a workshop mu Chipata
…packed everything up had lunch and took a taxi to the taxi rank, where there was a taxi to Chadiza which was great except it took about three or more hours before it left so I didn’t get home till dark
Am in Lusaka today although will be on the road to Chipata early tomorrow. According to the dentist, the reason my gums have been hurting is because I have been brushing too hard. She prescribed a mouth wash that I am supposed to use after every meal until it get used up and said that I need to brush more… although apparently lighter. Hopefully her prognosis is correct. All this was yesterday. Today I met with Ba Donald, my APCD (Associate PC Director, the head of the life program), and we discussed getting a three wheeled vehicle. Then I tried for a final time to get internet on my phone, going first to one cell phone company (MTN), where it wasn’t successful and I guess they don’t even do email so it wouldn’t be that useful anyway. Then I went to another company (Celltel) where, low and behold – SUCCESS! So I will now be posting a lot more. Put 23 fairly large sized photos on my blog site (see below), couldn’t put them on http://www.otherrealm.org because the Wi–Fi at the Lusaka office needs some parts, but it was nice to have a fairly fast connection with unlimited band width, even if it was on a government computer that doesn’t let you do anything. A longer blog detailing the past two weeks still hopefully to come. Till then!
The Zingalume Basic School where another life volunteer and I were holding a “Chongalowa* Club” meeting *probably spelled wrong The market where I buy my zakudya (food)Ndi banja (my family)Transport Zam style My forestry counterpart at my site when I was visiting it for the first timeThis Landover is on its last ride My Pre-Service Training host familyAll of the Peace Corps Zambia spring 2008 intake and trainers after being sworn in as volunteersOne of the countless lizards that are around my house eating a butterfly “The Men” doing a traditional Chewa dance during my first site visitThe trainees move to where our home stay families will beWhen I arrive at my home stay site, I am greeted by a rainbowMe with where I had tech training in the background My closest LIFE volunteer sitting with the many iwe (kids) during our second site visitSome other LIFE trainees trying to start a fire with many onlookers Just one of countless sunsets A meal at first site visit The azimie (women) dance during first site visitA market place we stopped at on the border between Lusaka and Eastern Provinces on the way to first site visit And the journey begins
2008 07 20 Got up at 345 and got to the bus stop at 515. I was slightly worried when I got there because there was no one there, but I called a number that was on a flier at the stand and he said he would be coming shortly. The bus left at 600 and got there at about 1530 (9 ½ hours if you don’t want to do the math) then I got a taxi to Shopright, bought some good granola, powdered skim milk 1kg of peanut butter and maybe a few other things that can only be found here in the capital. I then walked, carrying my hiking backpack loaded down with everything I brought with me from Chipata plus everything I had just bought, the kilometer or so to Arcades, the other mall, because I remember the grocery store there had good bread. Well they were all out of whole grain just about everything, although I finally bought some whole wheat buns. Spar is basically Shopright except everything is more expensive. Got a taxi to Mogul, the guest house all the PCV’s who have business at the Zambian PC headquarters stay. Checked in, started to walk to the office but, as it was then dark, wasn’t certain where the headquarters was so I went back and met the other PCV’s who was staying there then decided to splurge on Chinese food because I basically hadn’t had any since I left Connecticut, however it wasn’t the best dish I’ve ever had. Got to bed later then I wanted so I probably won’t get quite as early as a start as I wanted.
2008 07 19 Well again the power was out in the morning so I couldn’t work on my laptop without draining the battery. I was also going to go to Shopright, however their generator was broken so they were closed and would not open until 1200. I think the power came back on before 1200 so I might have worked some on my laptop, then I went to Shop when the time was right, packed everything up to leave before dawn tomorrow and did something else which might have involved eating dinner and conversing with other PCV’s, although I’m not sure. I went to bed early
This is a quick blog saying what I will be doing the next few days, a more detailed one stating my resent adventures is to come.Sunday (tomorrow) I will take a bus to Lusaka because the lower gums on the left of my mouth have been hurting me.Although I would have rather not have this dental disaster it will hopefully mean I can get some things from stores that are only in Lusaka and meet with some PC admin people face to face to talk about what I’m doing and get some feed back.Might be back in Chadiza on Tuesday, might be there longer, might even be going to South Africa (I hope not).Anyway, a longer blog to come.
2009 07 18 The first thing we did after a hurried breakfast was to go to the visa office which thankfully was open and four out eight of us got our work permits so we won’t need to go and renew our visas every month. We weren’t sure why the permits for the other four, thankfully not including me, were not there but hopefully they will come soon. That done, we waited outside the visa office for a while to get picked up by the PCVL for out field trip to the farm research place where the former Dovu volunteer now works. We got a tour of the pig barn where there were some rather large hogs, then picked up someone to learn the art of potholing – what, did you think the awful roads in Zambia were simply the act of natural erosion? Just kidding, the potholes we dug are holes which, come rainy season, can be easy places to sow seeds. It also means that fertilizer can be more concentrated, less soil needs to be disturbed and therefore weed seeds have less chance of sprouting and in general less work needs to be done for those farmers who do not have cattle of their own. After that, we learned about why cassava is a good security crop (not as good as moringa in my opinion but probably planting both is the best option) and got a tour of the rest of the research going on before we went back to the PCPH. The next two things on our agenda were how to make beds by double digging, and how to eat lunch although I can’t remember the order of which came first (possibly because I think I ate eggs). The rest of the daytime hours were spent on the second resiliency session, and then we all pitched in for a family style dinner of Indian food (the only other prevalent cuisine other then nshima and relish). When I say pitched in I refer to washing dishes; it was actually somewhat enjoyable as there were others working on our task, it is just that the water was out so we needed to do it dish-pan style. The dinner was excellent and I ate large servings of everything.
2008 07 17 Today was our first day of LIFE training, mainly intended for those PCV’s who are not in the LIFE program, but also to share skills learned in the field for those who are. After an introduction from the previous volunteer based in Dovu, we had a guest speaker from a Conservation Farming organization and then a quick session on composting. After lunch in which I ran to the market to get produce, my intake walked to the visa office which apparently closes at 1230 on Thursdays (I wonder why not Fridays) so we will need to go first thing mawa. The rest of the afternoon was spent discussing “resiliency.” We talked about what our challenges were and then began to try to find solutions. Although I’m not one to go in for discussing feelings and whatnot, it was a well done session and I probably got something from it. I was going to compose some emails and blogs but the power went out (yet another ARG in the technology field).
2008 07 16 Well I got to the BOMA at around 700 hours and got the stuff I had left in my counterpart’s house pa Monday. I got a confirmation of sorts that the AG vehicle was going to Chipata and thus began the wait. Well, at first I was worried that I had heard wrong that it was going, but then a little after 800 hours people finally started showing up, all confirming that it was. But it wasn’t until around 10:00 hours that it, a flatbed truck, finally came. When I learned that my transport would be in the back of this vehicle I definitely wished I had spent the 30,000k and taken a mini-bus. It wasn’t that bad though, I sat on my backpack which cushioned most of the many bumps, and other passengers had equally “pleasant” rides lying on two mattresses. I only had a t-shirt on though and the wind and clouds made it a rather chilly experience. When I finally got to the PCPH it was just too late to call Lusaka about the specifics of when I needed to get there and had to wait until 1400. I guess I’m going there on Sunday and will meet with the dentist first thing Monday. I also talked to my APCD and the IT person to see whether there was anything I needed to do to use the Wi-Fi connection that was being set up just after I got posted three months ago. Well, I wasn’t thinking Zam-Time because they were still waiting for some switches or something to come. This means I might not be able to download the many hours of podcasts I was hoping… ARG! Then I went to the place there is Wi-Fi in Chipata but couldn’t login although I spent a long time trying to connect and was just about to give up when someone else was able to log in, having gotten another username and password. I did the same and checked e-mail but didn’t have time to do much else as I wanted to get to Shopright before it got dark. Hurried to the store but they were out of almost everything I wanted to get, it’s a good thing I am going to Lusaka where there will be a wider selection and whole grain bread! I got a ride back with a friend of the PCV I had replaced. I definitely wished he still worked in Chadiza because he seemed really nice.
2008 07 15 Went to the dimba and watered everything good, some of my squash plants are starting to flower so hopefully I will have squash sometime soon. I asked a villager if she could water my garden while I was away and she said she would. Hopefully this will mean my vegetables do not dry up. Went back and sowed a new button on my pants. It’s the second pair I needed to sew and I used about 20-30cm of doubled thread each time so hopefully I won’t need to do it again. Packed everything up, ate dinner and went to bed somewhat early because I need to get up really early tomorrow and leave as soon as it gets light out because I’m not 100% certain the AG vehicle is going mawa or Thursday.