Back in Chadi… Ur, Lusaka -Blegh

I got up about a half-hour after my alarm went off and hurried to get ready because I was going to go with my DFO (District Forestry Officer) and a few other Eastern province counterparts. However, when I got down, they had already left. I ate breakfast then went to the main rode with some other PCV’s where we took a taxi to the bus terminal. The taxi driver dropped the others at a bus to central province first, then me at a bus that he must have had a relationship with the driver. I then began to whish I had gotten there earlier when the first group of busses left because it was over three hours before it finally had enough people to depart. The ride was alright, and they showed some movies. I actually slept a little toward the end. However, when I got off and tried to get awake I walked to the cargo area where they had put my bag to find that it was not there. Panicking slightly, I talked to the driver and he said that someone had called and said that a backpack had been left at the St. Francis hospital in Katete (There was another white lady on the bus who got off there and I guess they thought the bag was hers). Hoping that the driver’s explanation was correct and that it hadn’t been stolen, I got the contact information of the bus driver and the person who had called regarding the bag and then got a taxi to the PCPH. Fortunately I had put my laptop in my small backpack I brought with me on the bus and the “Zam-bag” (somewhat sturdy zipper bags that are sold at Shopright and that everyone uses to carry groceries and just about everything else imaginable in and which are really useful) that was not taken off but the only cloths I had were what I was wearing.

I got up having gotten a relatively good night’s sleep although I was still tired and had a slow start – or actually I didn’t really start that day I think because I needed to unwind from the past week of busy schedules and the calamity that had taken place yesterday. I called the number the bus driver gave me who was helpful, and said she would call the driver. Then I txt’ed the driver to see whether he had left yet, and if so whether he had the bag, however he had not left. Still not sure as to what the status of my backpack was, some good luck came my way in the form of the PC General Service Officer (GSO) for eastern province coming and saying that he was going to pick up the Country Director because she would not be flying in on account of the late president being flown in and having a wake Monday. The hospital was on the way and he could pick up my bag, so I quickly txt’ed back the bus driver and told him not to big up my bag because someone else was. I was fortunate that he had not left and picked it up already, now the only question was whether the GSO could find the bag as I had not been able to get a hold of anyone who knew who had the bag. I then brought out my laptop and spend the rest of the day creating a CAD drawing of a cargo trike I am going to have made while half paying attention to the movies that were playing. About mid afternoon, the driver called and said that he was at St. Francis hospital but didn’t know who to ask about the bag. Fortunately someone else in the room who had spent some time there did. A little while later, he called and said that he had gotten the bag!

No one was sure whether anything would be open today, but at about 10:00 I got out and went first to the cell phone store, which was open, and got some more talk time, although I didn’t get that much because I wasn’t sure whether the bank would be open. It was and I got some more kwacha, then when to Shopright and got some eggs and spices. Most of the market was closed, and therefore the stores that were open were selling things for higher prices. I got some peppers, cucumbers carrots and a few bananas but didn’t get a ton because they were really expensive and weren’t the variety that I like. Then I went back and had a little to eat. My next stop was going to be the Wi-Fi place, but unfortunately it was closed. Feeling kind of sick, I walked slowly back, getting some more talk time on the way. That afternoon about all I could do was sit and work on finishing up my CAD drawing. In the evening, the Country Director showed up, along with my backpack. I don’t think I’m going to put my backpack in the cargo area again. I was really annoyed that I wasn’t feeling good because the rest of the volunteers had made a really good meal, and had made an apple pie for desert, but the power had gone out before they could cook it in time for it to be eaten right after the meal.

The country director, my two closest volunteers and the PCVL all loaded our stuff into the bus and left at about 800 hours. We stopped at the other education volunteer in the district’s site and had nshima with the family, then we went to the BOMA and met with counterparts that had gone to ISTT for the last two days for the program development training, one of whom was the DFO. He said that the district commissioner would like to meet the director and so we met him, then we went to my closest volunteers’ site, had lunch and finally went to my site. After the Director, PCVL and the GSO had left, I read a little bit, but not feeling that good again went to bed fairly early. I think the reason might be the water filters at the PCPH because it seems like it is nearly every time I drink water from it I don’t feel my best.

Got up, studied a little Chichewa, read a little on DC electronics, then went to the dimba. A lot of things had not survived my being away, and it looked like nearly everything had been eaten by ngonbe (cattle). Watering went quickly though because I had the help of some Zambians visiting from the Mozambique border. Having more time as a result, I started putting up some DC lights I had gotten in Lusaka. On of the men in my family was very interested and helped me put the lights up. It was very nice to actually be able to read without the use of my headset.

Today I went into the BOMA and met with members of a new organization that is just starting up in Zambia and that I think I will be able to help out a lot with. Then I went to the market and then I wrote some journal entries which I was going to try to post but the cell phone network was going slow and I kept getting Google page load errors so I was not able to post then. When I got done I biked back and started top make a salad for supper. When I had just finished making the salad, my atate/abale (father/brother [apparently the previous volunteer at Dovu and some other volunteers referred to him as their brother but I kind of think of him as a father because he has several children]) came and invited me to share nshima with their banja. In Zambian culture it is impolite to refuse nshima unless you have a very good reason not to eat it (came down with malaria, are deathly allergic to corn…). It’s a good thing that I enjoy Zambian food, although I wish they put less saladi (the Zambian [actually South African] name for cooking oil] and salt in their relish.

2008 08 29
Today I was going to make a solar stove. I somewhat cheated in that I had found one of those emergency blankets that are very reflective (was going to use aluminum foil) and spent a long time trying to make a frame to make the thin mirror like material concave. With some of the boys in my village’s help, I made a semi-semi-sphere by forming a circle out of a flexible stick, taping the reflective material over it, then putting a little bit of water in the bottom so as to make the material concave. When I put my hand over the area, it wasn’t incredibly hot and all my pots are made of unpainted aluminum so they don’t attract that much heat (somewhat silly when you think about it). I will try to get some black paint to paint the outside. After this somewhat disappointing experiment, I headed out to the dimba. When I was only a little ways on my walk there, I got a txt saying that I needed to go to Chipata Sunday to go with the GSO to Lusaka on Monday to deal with looking into getting a three wheeled cargo cycle (a pedi-cab that instead of another seat has a cargo area). This was slightly frustrating because I had just been in Lusaka and wished I had just stayed there but anyway. I quickly watered everything, not having time to transplant some tomato seedlings that were in need of transplanting because it was getting dark.

2008 08 30
Went to the dimba first thing today, calling a Chadiza-Chipata taxi on the way and transplanted a bunch of cherry tomatoes which I hope will survive when I’m away. That took until about 1400 and was fairly hungry as I hadn’t eaten breakfast. I was coming out of the dambo area (an area with a low water table that is where people cultivate) and stopped to great a family that had an adjacent dimba to mine and that of my banja. They invited me to share some nshima which was nice. Then I went back and didn’t have that much motivation, however I finally got up enough to pack and eat some of my perishable food. It is officially the hot season and I was in that transition phase. Therefore I didn’t really feel like eating… or drinking… (although this I needed to do as I was sweating like crazy) or doing much of anything.

2008 08 31
Woke up at 400 and hurriedly got ready, was just starting do drink my cup of coffee when my ride showed up about a half hour early. I hurriedly downed my mug, then got in the vehicle and headed off. We picked up five more passengers. It’s a very small car that has buckles for four passengers and we were six total, seven if you include the driver. My leg was almost asleep by the time we got there because I was sharing the front seat with someone else. I got to the PCPH about 900 and did some laundry, then washed one of the water filters because I think that’s the reason I haven’t been feeling good often when I am there. Then I went to the market, got back and put some ntochi (bananas) in the freezer for a little treat. At about 1500, the to be new volunteers (RAP [Rural Aquaculture Project] and HAP [I think Heath Action Project although the A & P could stand for something else]) showed up and we did our introductions. I will be going with some of them part of the way, then dropping them off and going the rest of the way to Lusaka mawa (tomorrow). It seems like a really nice group of new volunteers and I had nice conversations with a couple of them.

2008 09 01
Well it was about 1230 before we left for Lusaka; the PST’s got dropped off for their 2nd site visit, then the driver came back and loaded nine bikes and we left. We got in at about 2150ish and then my family called and we had a nice conversation.

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