Spending the weekend in Choma for Provincial Meetings, which means every volunteer in the Province comes to the Provincial House (for now only 6 of us in Southern). And each of the other Provinces around Zambia are also meeting at their Provincials. We had to meet to discuss countrywide Peace Corps information and policies, and then we also had a “House” meeting where we discussed house rules and issues specific to our Provincial House here in Southern. Today, we just have some free time to spend in town, and I’ll be traveling back home tomorrow.
Two good productive things happened this past week. First, I was able to start working on creating a Library/Resource Room at my school. There is an empty office space area within the staff room, that I got permission to use. So, I cleaned it out and set out looking for bookshelves. There are plenty of broken desks piled around the school, so I started collecting the usable wooden planks from the desk benches and tabletops, and then I found some bricks/cement blocks. My administration thought I was crazy to be doing any of this physical labor (carrying wood and brinks) myself and tried to tell me to stop and wait for another time when pupils could help. But, I insisted that I wanted to get it done now. So, I then built book shelves using the bricks and wood planks. When finished with those, I went to the deputy Head and Head’s offices’ to start collecting and transferring books. As of Friday, we have two bookshelves completely full of textbooks and resource books. This week, we are going to attempt to make more bookshelves and then we are tackling the job of cleaning out a certain storage closet that supposedly has boxes of donated storybooks buried somewhere in there. There are also things like charts and posters that can be taken out and used. So super exciting for progress to be happening!
The second good thing is that my school is super excited about me painting world maps, HIV/AIDS, and health messages/pictures on and around the school. And they’ve actually moved past just talking about it and actually gave me the money this weekend to buy paints! Woohoo! Progress!
Other than that, it’s just the same old business- going to school each day, hanging out with the teachers, playing/coaching soccer and volleyball in the afternoons, carrying water on my head, cooking on my brazier, hanging out with my sister Joy in the evenings.
Oh, actually I have a new hobby/coping mechanism! Baking! So, with the help and advice of my friend Heather, I learned how to bake with cooking pots and a brazier. What you do is take the largest cooking pot you have and put it on the fire. Then put some kind of barrier (tuna can, pot lid, etc.) inside the pot. Then place your other smaller pot (with the cake batter or whatever you are baking) on top of the barrier. Then cover with the large pot lid. (The barrier just acts to lift the inner pot off of the direct heat). Then, depending on what you are making, and how the baking is going, you can add fire/coals on top of the large pot lid (then the heat will be coming evenly from the top and bottom). So, far, I’ve made 2 cakes, a shortbread & lemon custard pie, and shortbread/sugar cookies! I would have made more but I ran out of flour! But, now I’ve stocked up on supplies in town and will go crazy baking!