Monday, March 21, 2011

Sick Sick Sick

I am sitting in Lusaka HQ right now, instead of at site visit. I'll start from the beginning...So, I first got sick on 3/12 (mainly with bathroom issues), talked to the doctor on 3/14- took a malaria test (negative) and temperature (ok) & was issued 3 days of Cipro (antibiotic) for my stomach issues, by Wednesday 3/16 I finished the meds and I felt better on Thursday 3/17. Friday night 3/18 all of my issues came back. Called the doctor Saturday morning and he said to wait it out, my stomach probably just wasn't totally recovered yet. So, come Sunday morning 3/20 my problems are pretty bad and we are getting ready to leave for site visit. We stop in Lusaka because Larry has to see the doctor for his torn up leg, so I took the opportunity to see the doctor as well. So this time he says "I'm pretty sure it must be Giardia", and then gives me a new prescription for a different antibiotic. He also says that I should stay in Lusaka and not go to site visit. But, for some reason he changed his mind 10 minutes later and said "Yes, you should go to site. I think you will be okay". So, I go to site visit, have a pretty miserable afternoon and a very miserable night/early morning. I was very lucky I had bought a new chamber pot the day before! At about 5:30 this morning I call the doctor again and he is very worried and sends someone immediately to come pick me up. So, I take the 2.5 hr ride back to Lusaka, meet with the doctor, do another malaria test (negative), and a variety of other tests, and finally a set of stool samples & a urine test. Now I am staying at least overnight here in Lusaka, waiting for the results or to get better, whichever comes first. Hopefully I will be able to return to my site for the 2nd part of the visit in a couple days. I am really not feeling very confident in the doctors/medical situation here right now though :-(

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Bit of Zambian culture:

·         If you want to buy a chicken, but don’t want to kill/eat it right away, it is totally acceptable to tie its feet together and keep it in your bedroom with you---this goes for other animals and situations as well, such as tying a pigs legs and letting it lay outside the bar while you have a drink, or tying a goat to the back of your bicycle and going for a ride
·         Homosexuality is taboo and illegal- the sentence is 25 yrs. in prison
·         Oral sex is illegal
·         Sniffing or smelling food is not acceptable
·         It is a compliment to be called fat, and if you are not fat, they want to make you fat
·         There are evil mermaids (donafish) in rivers that will snatch you and drag you under water
·         In Southern Province, a typical “bride price” is 4 cows
·         If nsima is not served with a meal, it will be considered that no food was served
·        You drive on the left side of the road, steering wheel is on right side of car

That’s all I can think of off the top of my head, will add more later! Ask if you have any specific questions! I have frequent access to Facebook through my cell phone, so that is the best way to contact me. I can only access this blog on a computer when in town.

I'm in a numbers kind of mood...

We have finished 6 of 11 weeks of training. We have done 2 of 4 language tests (3 are practice and the 4th is the real thing). I got a 5/5 on the first one and a 4.8 on the second. We have lost 2 of 29 RED trainees, meaning they have decided to early terminate and go back home to the U.S. There are 32 new LIFE (agriculture) trainees that arrived 2 weeks after us. 3 REDs and 3 LIFEs are learning Tonga and will be going to Southern Province. I was sick for the last 4-5 days. I took 1 malaria self test (which was negative J), 2 temperatures, and ultimately 6 pills of Cipro (over 3 days) that knocked out the bug. I won’t tell you how many times I went to the bathroom!

I spent the last 2 days at a workshop with my new supervisor from Southern. I will be living in Nteme (village) in Monze (district) in Southern (province). My host family/neighbor there will be the village headman and his 3 wives, and probably a large # of children. There are 8 schools in my zone- 7 government and 1 community school. They serve Grades 1-9, and there is 1 ESE unit at one of the schools. The schools fall between 2 and 15K from me, with the average being about 7K. My borehole is supposedly 300m from my house. The nearest small town/market is about 15K and about 100K? to my Provincial Capital. I will be expected to co-teach with 1-2 teachers in 1-2 schools each term. There are 3 terms in a school year. We should teach at least 4 days/wk, and do community work on the 5th day---except for the first 3 months, which are called Community Entry, and are reserved for observation and integration into the school and community. I will get 2 vacation days per month at the PC Provincial House in Choma. 
***Keep in mind, I am still in training, so the above information about my new home in Southern is just heresy…I have not actually been there yet. I will be moving there at the end of April.

Other random #’s:
·         I eat 2 lumps of nsima at both lunch and dinner each day
·         I eat 2 pieces of bread and 1 egg each morning
·         I bathe 1 time/day
·         $1.00 = K5,000 (Kwacha)
·         I spend K0-K10,000 a day
·         My bamaama is 51 years old
·         It took 6+ weeks for my first package to arrive