Saturday, May 14, 2011

Alive and Well

-          Went to town with bataata
-          Toured town- internet cafes, shops, bars, market, bus station, guest houses, district offices, hospital, etc.
-          Was proposed to at least 20 times
-          Rode on an open back truck in morning hitch and a minibus in the afternoon
-          Probably greeted at least 100 people
-          Hand fed the dogs with bataata in the evening to gain their trust
-          1 week today! Has gone by fast!
-          Slept in- until 7:00am lol- everyone- people and animals get up here at about 5:45a.m. each day- it is pretty loud and hard to ignore the noise- you hear kids running and yelling, cattle bells jingling, roosters crowing, pigs squealing, and goats crying
-          The mice in my house go crazy every night, I always expect a big mess in the morning, but it is surprisingly clean when I wake up
-          Started painting 2nd mural- did about 1/3 of it- tree/forest scene
-          Had lunch and waited whole afternoon for bataata to come and take me on tour of village- never showed
-          Started new book “Unbowed”
-          Put potatoes in leftover soup broth from lunch to make potato soup for dinner-didn’t turn out that great L
-          Had high hopes for breakfast- frying leftover potatoes (taken out of soup) & eggs- lol didn’t work so good
-          Started to paint insaka- ran out of paint- very difficult painting on rough bumpy soil walls- need to rethink that plan
-          Worked on 2nd mural again- painted trees and grass- need to finish leaves and details
-          Mouse living behind my suitcase and trying to dig hole in wall- just discovered where the term “packrat” came from- found my mouse’s stash of groundnuts!
-          Attempted French toast for dinner- interesting, but not total failure J
-          Cleaned room- moved/rearranged bags- big mess, but no mouse- found mouse traps and will try to set tonight
-          Finally hung mirror- amazing how good that makes me feel- to walk through the sitting room and see myself in a real mirror! Hope it doesn’t fall!
-          Went on LONG walking tour of Nteme area with bataata- 5 hrs- saw Community Dev. Office, World Vision, Clinic, judicial court, agriculture office, teacher houses, headmen, and the old PCV’s house
-          Very tired, sunburnt, and starving when we got home
-          Got 2 chickens as gifts from people we visited- will eat one and then keep the other for raising more- bamaama #1 cooked chicken for me
-          Sat awkwardly with family for awhile
-          Ready & waiting for church- yard in front of my house is burning- not really sure why? But they seem to be doing it on purpose
-          Sad when I turn on my phone and have no texts from anyone
-          Went to church-not as bad as last time, but still not fun- I also HATE getting home so late- get home at 13 & takes at least an hour to make fire and cook something- I can’t stand eating lunch at 14 or later everyday, but to Zambians it is normal to eat lunch anywhere from 13 up to 16!
-          Cleaned house, did a little RED note taking, helped bataata learn to use his new computer (he has never touched a computer before- I had to start with the ON button)
-          Got ready for evening- went to family compound for dinner, dancing, singing, and drumming- we were having a small wedding celebration for one of my brothers-they do a kind of “capturing” the bride from her parents house and carrying her (covered) into the groom’s family’s house where she must stay locked inside for the night- I stayed until about midnight, but they continued dancing/drumming on into the night
-          School starts tomorrow!
-          2nd part of wedding celebration today- feast- and bring bride & groom out of house & uncover her- more dancing & drumming for them- then they leave to their house
-          Wrote some letters to friends and family
-          Sat with family after celebration, talked and joked, helped peel & cut pumpkin leaves- starting to get a little more comfortable
-          Children getting more comfortable too
-          Spent time with grade 9 sister & got to know her better

-          Went to school at 7:15- kids cleaned and did assembly until 8:15- staff had a “briefing” during that time to decide on time for staff meeting and “what to do with the children”
-          Staff meeting set for 9:00, but started at 9:30 and went to 11:45- students hanging around in classrooms and school grounds
-          Left with 2 teachers to visit their houses- started home at 13:20- first time going home alone, got LOST- luckily randomly came across a man I recognized to be one of my brothers & he escorted me home lol
-          Bad headache and starving again- didn’t eat until 14:30
-          Headache continued all day even after nap- all night- woke up and majorly drugged myself with some Benadryl and ibuprofen- finally got better after that

-          Rushed breakfast and getting ready, then waited for others for a long time as usual- very big lack of sense of time here
-          Feel headache coming back already
-          Went with 3 bamaamas & grandma to funeral- walked to mourning house- cars, tents, and people camped all around, have been there a couple days- body/casket in house in sitting room with wailing women sitting around it- casket then taken to church & we follow behind- have church service similar to funeral service in America- do quick body viewing on way out- then casket and whole procession returns to mourning house & walk to burial place just nearby- put in ground and all sit and watch and sing as men bury casket with cement and dirt- call up various groups to stick flowers in mound- when burial finished, people return to mourning house for drumming & dancing & meal
-          Returned home with bamaamas- ate saampu for lunch- liked it a lot

-          2 weeks today
-          Observed many problems of zambain education today- lack of time awareness (teachers & pupils), teacher absenteeism, overcrowded classes, not using available materials, not having materials/lessons prepared, beating students (have witnessed 4 different teachers doing it already), random assignments (busy work) and grading, district offices unorganized, Head in town all day, Deputy Head absent, etc.
-          Mailed letters in town
-          Tried to meet DEBS in town, but she was not in the office
-          Went to internet café and Facebook is locking me out L

-          Rode bike to school all by myself and didn’t get lost! Too bad I got lost on the way home-even coming on the same path lol!
-          Traveled with Head by car to 4 schools
-          Visit in afternoon from Dickson, PC Zambia Safety and Security Coord., and PC Lesotho Safety and Security Coord.- just showing him around Zambian villages and PCV houses
-          Set mouse traps finally- killed one immediately!!! Yay!

-          Biked EARLY to school, went with Head to 2 more schools- saw a community school for the first time (sort of like a one room school house you might see in a “Cracker Country” exhibit or historical museum- then take it one step down from that- no chalk boards, no books, no materials, no desks, etc)
-          Went to visit/talk with clinic, world vision, and community dev.- but was a community meeting about to start at clinic & I decided to stay- ended up being a 4 hour meeting (from 11-15…again no lunch!)- all in Tonga- finally at end of meeting I got to introduce myself and Peace Corps and what I was doing there (in Tonga)- so was beneficial


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  2. Great blog post Jess! Very interesting and it's fun to follow your adventures. And I'm really glad that you killed the mouse..I've been obsessing about you living with mice! Not my favorite animal as you know. Miss and love you.

  3. Hey Jess glad to get the blog update. Sorry you are not getting my text messages all that much. Just know that I text you everyday usually more than once a day. Love you and miss you.

  4. Enjoy reading your blog. We homeschool and I have decided to study Zambia with our younger children. We will be reading your blog as part of our studies. You are an amazing young woman. Cindy

  5. Jess! Love the update! Love all the little details you give!

    I can barely find my car in the walmart parking lot so i'd never find my way back home like you do! LOL

    Your last paragraph above said something about world vision. is that the same world vision that we sponsor a child thru? pretty cool if it is!

    love and miss you bunches!