Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Get that summer G.L.O.W. on!

In rural Zambia, women are the foundation of the economic, social, and productive fabrics of the community. They cook, they clean, they collect water, they care for the children, they represent their families in church, they control the health care of their families, and they frequently manage family income generating enterprises. However in Zambia, as in many developing countries (and though rarely recognized, even in developed countries), women are generally (although there are some exceptions to this) considered intellectually and socially inferior as compared to men. Zambian women marry young, usually between the ages of 15 to 20. They are encouraged to bear children immediately following marriage, which has resulted in high rates of obstetric fistula and even maternal death amongst young mothers. Because female education is not generally valued, most rural Zambian girls rarely complete their primary schooling.

Traditionally, Zambian women don't discuss issues of gender inequity with men, especially their husbands. They are encouraged to be sexually subservient and cannot negotiate condom use. It is widely accepted for men to openly have multiple concurrent sexual partnerships; in the face of one of the highest HIV/AIDS rates in the world (around 14.5%), women are being infected with HIV at a startling pace. If a women protests it is legitimate grounds for a divorce. Domestic violence is also widely accepted in the community.

As a result of these issues, three of my PCV friends and I are planning a Peace Corps Camp GLOW event to take place in during the second and third week of August in Eastern Province. Camp GLOW, or Girls Leading Our World, is a camp facilitated by Peace Corps Volunteers in multiple countries throughout the world that focuses upon female empowerment, gender awareness, and youth skills development. Thirty-four girls from 17 schools throughout Eastern Province will be selected by their schools to attend the camp accompanied by 17 teacher counterparts. The camp will highlight: self-esteem building exercises, body image awareness, art education, sports, health education, guidance from Zambian female role models and advisors, and leadership and communication skills development. Camp GLOW will also provide the opportunity for the female students to share ideas and experiences with each other ranging from encounters with sexual abuse to the potential for community advocacy. With the assistance of community-based Peace Corps Volunteers, the teachers will return to their schools to begin implementing gender awareness into school-wide curriculum. The PCVs will also support the girls in creating local GLOW clubs that will continue working on gender equity focused activities and promoting dialogue in village communities. Eventually, we hope future GLOW events will also include young male campers and counterparts as well.

We have received numerous donations from the business community of Eastern Province. Individuals have stepped forward to donate food, conference space, and materials. However, we still need to fundraise $3,500usd  (each week) to provide food, lodging, and educational materials for all particpants; we are seeking the support of our friends and family in the United States to make Camp GLOW a reality. We have applied for a Peace Corps grant through which individual donors can contribute to our project online through the Peace Corps website. If you would like to make a donation, please visit this link:
or visit the Peace Corps website, click on Donations, and then click on Volunteer Projects. You can search for Camp GLOW by either typing Davidson into the search box or by selecting Zambia as the search country or using the project number 611-069

Gender inequity and the oppression of women in Zambia is preventing development in all sectors, from the economy to the healthcare system. By reaching out to young women and their teachers, we hope to not only impact the lives of the 65 Camp GLOW participants, but to also start a movement of awareness and dialogue concerning positive and negative gender norms in Zambia. We hope to provide young women with a support system that would help them, if they so choose, to live and think differently than those before them. We hope to prove that the problem isn't that women don't have a voice, but that no one is listening....yet.

Thanks for all of your help and support!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Some things they never change...

So I've recently gotten the "I'm a Peace Corps. veteran" feeling a few times. Hitting my official one year anniversary at site, helping the new volunteers shop for their sites in Chipata (let me tell you, walking around with 15 white people in the city of Chipata is not the least stressful thing I've ever done) and also getting a neighbor within 10k who is full of new volunteer questions have all helped contribute to this experience. I also just had a PC grant come through and actually be deposited into my Barclay's account which I feel like is indicative of a volunteer who has been around for awhile. I'm also headed to my mid term conference in Lusaka this coming weekend which will officially enter me into my second year of service.

There are also some Zambian truths that I have picked up along the way as well. For one thing I've noticed that it is a known truth that almost all Zambian children (well those who aren't afraid of me anyway) are ticklish on the backs of their neck. I haven't tested this theory on non-Zambian kids yet so it may be a universal child truth but until I get back to America I think I'll have to settle on the fact that its just Zam kids right now. Another universal Zam truth is that something absolutely ridiculous will happen on most days of the week. The ridiculous can range from anything to stepping on a snake in the middle of your house in at night (I realized that happened when the floor started moving) to going for your morning run and being aggressively stopped by a women thrusting a large bunch of groundnuts she had just picked (leaves still on and everything) into your arms when you are at least a mile away from the village simply because you were passing by and might need breakfast when you got home (never mind that your run would be disturbed...). Most of the time the ridiculous is good and its probably one of the reasons that makes life so interesting here because it is almost never ever boring. I've also learned that chitenges hide baby bumps really really well. Its not culturally appropriate to ask about a woman's pregnancy- its just something thats generally not talked about. So for figuring out if someone is pregnant your pretty much relying on visual cues. But with baggly shirts and the layers of chitenge tied at the front of a woman you can't always see those baby bumps at first. Like when this past week I noticed one of my best friends was pregnant and I asked around about it - she's almost 7 months...I guess that explained why she kept getting sick in the morning a few months ago...

So as for the rest of my life...that grant I mentioned above is for a 6 month, 8 part farmer training workshop series. I'm going to train 8 coordinator farmers in different techniques in the fields of agroforestry, conservation farming,  nutrition, business skills and budgeting, and permagardening. Those 8 farmers will then be required to train their local farmers (each coordinator has about 20 farmers) on the same topics in order to officially train about 150 farmers in my catchment area. I'm excited for the project because it will be something tangible with set meetings to go to and goals to meet. Although structure doesn't always work out so well in Zambia its nice to have once and awhile we'll just see how it goes.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Home is where the hut is?

Note: this was written a week prior to posting
I am currently sitting in the Johannesburg airport in the domestic terminal waiting a flight to Cape Town where I will reunited with my Dad and stepmom for the next 5 days. I've been excited for this trip for awhile because well, it CAPE TOWN- the arguably premier destination of Southern Africa and more importantly I get to see my family,who I haven't seen for over a year. However, I had a lot going on at site and so I feel like only now can I really take a step back, breathe, and realize that I'm about to go on vacation...this is a completely different feeling than I felt during the holiday season where I couldn't wait to have a break from the village and Zambia. I mean don't get me wrong I am more than happy to go on vacation any time but I definitely didn't have the “I need to get out feeling.” Which is a good thing.

When I was filling out the Zambian customs forms in December and the question of residence was asked I'll admit, I did feel a little bit uncomfortable writing Zambia. I had never before really considered the fact that although I was an American citizen I was no longer residing in America. This trip however, the question didn't even faze me...country of residence? Of course it would be Zambia, where else would it be? My home right now is in Zambia. I work in Zambia. My friends that I see everyday are in Zambia, they may primarily be under the age of 10 and run around barefoot, covered in dirt for the majority of the day but it still remains that they are Zambian and my friends.

I had heard before I came to Peace Corps. that the first year is the toughest and things get progressively easier after that and I can't really say that things have gotten easier but my comfort level in dealing with various issues, annoyances, and problems has definitely increased after being here for a year. I think I've learned to accept the things I can't change and focus my attention and energy on the places I think I can influence. I don't know what exactly has changed since I moved to site about a year ago but something did. My home changed from being a hut I had to live in to my house that I get to home to every night. My village and catchment area changed from being a place where I had to stay for 2 years to being a community where I work, live, and have friends in. And while I still have bad moments, and trying times I usually can't say a day is all bad because my kids have taken to running up to me as soon as I get off my bike in the afternoon and giving me hugs.

The fact that this experience will end has also hit home a bit lately and I am trying to appreciate every second that I have in my village. I absolutely cannot believe that I have been in my village a year. Its been incredibly fast and I feel like every day time goes by faster and faster. I wish I could slow it down because even though I have a year left I still feel like that its not enough. Also, the group of volunteers in the same programs as my intake are about to COS (completion of service). They trained us, we went on site visits with them and they have been there for us during the past year, since we've been in country and they are about to go home. Its definitely weird for them to leave because when I first entered country they still had a year left and at the time that felt like an incredibly long time, but its over, its their time to go home. Also, I had a very good friend of mine get medically separated this past month because of medical issues that incurred during her service. It was really upsetting because not only did nobody want her to go home, but she really didn't want to leave and wasn't ready for this experience to be over. So both of those issues have impacted my thoughts on the temporary nature of my service. So while I fully understand that I will go back to US at some point I am trying to make the most of each day here with the people that I care about. I'm trying to play even more with my kids and spend time and meals with more of my friends and neighbors because one day that won't be an option for me anymore.

So while I am ecstatic to see my Dad I know that my happiness doesn't rest on the fact that he is taking me on vacation and that I have a home waiting for me at the end of the week when I go back...because isn't the one of the best parts of any vacation returning home again?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Somewhere over the rainbow

I realize that I havent been the most prolific blogger since being in Zambia, nor have I updated with astounding frequency and thats mainly because, well I live in rural Zambia and my internet – where I can actually use a keyboard- is infrequent at best (ok sometimes it borders on weekly frequency but those weeks are becoming few and far between). I started this blog a year ago with high hopes of it being an effective communication tool between myself and people back home in order to try and convey my experiences in Zambia. Although I don't think I've done a good job of that hopefully I've provided a bit of insight into what my life has been over the past year.

I am definitely infinitely more comfortable in Zambia, in my village, and in my role as a volunteer. I am currently working on organizing Camp GLOW, (Girls Leading Our World) a camp for village girls in grades 7 and 8 for all of Eastern Province in August (much more on that at a later date), with some other volunteers in my province. I am also in the middle of applying for a grant from Peace Corps. for a 6 month series of farming trainings with a farming association located in my catchment area. This is somewhat amusing to me because when I first got to my site I didn't think that there was anyway that I was going to do a grant funded project, I absolutely wanted everything I did to be knowledge transfer and to come from the community itself. However, this project was presented to me by the farming association and together we have worked really hard to come up with a training schedule. The community also has to contribute 25% of the total project cost so its not a complete gift and they are right with me as I am writing the grant proposal and that's always a good exercise to do with people in rural areas and something they very much request. So those are the two big work things that are keeping me pretty busy these days.

My village had a scare for the past 2.5 weeks- the rain went away. A break for a few days during rainy season is a really nice change of pace. A break for a week or more and people really start to worry about their crop yields. My Community Development Officer told me that for every week in rainy season that there is no yield each farmer loses 5% of their total maize yield. So by those standards the farmers in my village would have lost 15% of their maize. I don't know if the damage is that catastrophic but I do know that some of the maize did turn brown and that a proportion was lost. As farming is the main livelihood activity out here even the smallest percentage lost can make a big difference in terms of household food security. Today however, the rain came back! Its been raining for about an hour and its feels so nice. Everything has cooled off and I feel like there's a collective sigh of relief being echoed throughout the village. Probably, throughout the whole of Eastern Province.

The newest intake of L.I.F.E volunteers flew into Zambia today (or yesterday, or maybe 2 days ago...time isn't really my thing anymore- as Salman Rushdie states “any culture that uses the same word for yesterday and today doesn't have a firm grasp on time”). Its almost hard to remember what that was like seeing as how I feel so comfortable now. I will get to meet some of the new intake when I go to my neighbor's site (70k away- we're neighbors in the fact that we both live in the same district) for “First Site Visit” she's hosting and I'm going to help and answer about a million questions. First site visit gives people a chance to see what living in the village is actually like to make sure that they want to go through with the whole training thing. Generally at least one person leaves during first site visit or shortly there after but for most its a great experience to see how your life could look for the next two years. I'm excited to be on the other end of site visit this year with some much more confidence on the way things work- what a difference a year makes.

Of course now that the rain has come back its probably going to rain for the whole 3 days that they are here but I guess that's just part of the experience. And at least it wont be so hot anymore. It was getting pretty steamy with the rain gone. I know I shouldn't be complaining considering the winter that New England has had (no, I don't think my body will ever readjust to sub-zero temperatures). But I am, living in a temperate climate (minus October and November) is pretty great I have to say. Plus rainy season has brought rainbows to my almost daily life. I literally see rainbows ALL the time (ok not so much during the drought but besides that). Laying asides whatever political context they may or may not have rainbows are pretty wonderful to see. You can't really be angry or upset when you are biking home from a meeting (even if that meeting has been unexpectedly canceled). I feel like I didn't see them all that often in Americaland but here I appreciate them all the time. My kids, my iwe (ee-way), aren't too impressed with them though. Like, the other day there was a double rainbow spanning the circumference of my village-it was kind of incredible- (sidenote I went to take a picture of it and thats obviously when I realized my camera was broken...good thing I'm meeting my Dad in April) but the kids were so unimpressed, they barely glanced up and then immediately wanted to resume playing Ring Around the Rosie and alternating giving me high-fives at increasing heights. Oh well...until next time

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

It (was) the most wonderful time of the year

Being in the village one gets to know themselves pretty well. Let's face it, you have a lot of alone time to really figure out how you are going to react to certain things. Now I'm not saying that village life makes everything seem slightly more dramatic that it really is, but after about 10 months of self discovery I have figured out that I tend to react to things slightly more emotionally in the village setting than I may, say, in Americaland (my mother is probably the best testament to that last statement). I knew that my first Christmas away from the family was going to be rough and that I was going to need to go on a REAL vacation with a beach in order to survive it. Alright, I probably would have technically survived Christmas and New Year's in my village, but I doubt it would have been pretty. So I, along with two other PCVS from Northern and Central Province decided to head to Mozambique the holidays.

We all traveled from our respective provinces to Lusaka and then from Lusaka flew to Johannesburg, South Africa. I a bit of culture shock in Joburg when the hostel we were staying at sent a Benz (playing classical music I might add) to pick us up at the airport and there were six lane highways with skyscrapers. We then proceeded to spend the rest of the afternoon at the mall, which definitely did not ease any of the culture shock. A mall during the holiday season and a Zambian village are probably two of the most different experiences I could imagine.

The next morning we got on a bus and traveled to Maputo, the capital of Mozambique. The 9 hour bus ride would have been fine except the air conditioning broke and because the bus was an air conditioned bus the windows obviously didn't open so for about 6 hours of the bus ride it was a stuffy 600 degrees (no, that's not an exaggeration, you weren't there, you don't know how hot it got). On the bright side the road from Joburg to Maputo is really nice...

After arriving in Mozambique we spent the night at a hostel and then traveled another 8 hours on a shuttle to Tofo Beach which is one of the premier beach destinations in Moz. I was so excited to finally see the ocean after 10 months. Its the longest Ive ever gone ocean free in my entire life and hopefully the longest Ill ever go again- it was hard. The beaches in Tofo were beautiful (maybe one of these days I'll get around to posting pictures...) however the place we were staying in was not. We were in dorm style beds with 20 beds to a room and each night at about 10pm the dj would crank up the bass to a level that can really only accurately be described as "soul rattling". The bed frames shook-enough said. Then one of my friend's tents got stolen and I got food poisoning and we decided that it was probably time to leave Tofo Beach and move on to Vilankulo another beach town about 5 hours north. Hey, we could always come back if it was worse than Tofo.

However, that didn't seem to be necessary. In Vilankulo we ended up booking a beach front chalet that literally sat right on the water. It was so nice to fall asleep to gentle sounds of the waves every night. The town of Vilankulo was great as well...they had an espresso machine in town and because the Portuguese had such a strong influence in Moz there is really great bread  and rolls to be had almost everywhere. Quite the departure from Zambia. And there were decent restaurants to eat at, not something to be said in every town-even if it is a tourist destination.

The other touristy activities that we did while in Vilankulo were snorkeling on Two Mile Reef which is just off the Bazaruto Archipelago which is this small island about 45 min boat ride from the mainland. There's a huge sand dune on the archipelago and if you climb to the top of it you get an amazing view. We also went horseback riding on the beach which was beautiful and we got to see a lot of the scenery of Vilankulo that we wouldn't have otherwise seen. Other than that we just hung out, relaxed and spent time on the beach, which is truly my happy place so I was in a great mood the whole time.

We spent New Years in Vilankulo as well which was really low key, even though we were told our lodge was going to have quite the party...The music was particularly awful, like literally the worst DJ in history (think music you would hear at a rave mixed with terrible oldies- the real problem was there wasn't any good music to dance to). But we did see a few fireworks on the beach that evening so it was just ok.

On the 2nd it was time to leave so we headed back to the Maputo but this time spent a day in the city. We went to the art museum, the cathedral, the fort, and the waterfront. I was impressed by the amount of gelato in Maputo, it really won me over in that department.  We then headed back to Joburg on the same bus, which was a much more pleasant experience this time around due to the fact that the air con did work.
Once in Joburg we had a day to spend in the city and went to the Apartheid museum which was really interesting and had a ton of exhibits in it-we spent over 5 hours there and definitely could have spent a lot more. Its interesting being in this part of the world to see how these events actually played out and what happened. I can't say I got the most comprehensive African history education growing up or that I was actually able to process what I did learn...

And now I am back in Zambia and finally ready to go back to the village. It was a nice break but I am definitely ready to go back and start working again. Ive truly missed my village and I feel like I am going back on a very good note.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Music videos improve life quality- its a fact

Lately Ive been feeling like someone who doesn't particularly have a lot to say, because it seems that, especially with people who don't have the pleasure of being in Zambia, I talk about the weather... a lot. Generally I think of weather as being a topic best associated with just getting to know someone, awkward pauses, and a lack of general command of local language (although I think all of those fit with awkward silences). I know in my letters I always include something about the weather and sometimes it is because I feel like theres not much else going on and if I am going to send a letter alllllll the way to Americaland I might as well fill up some space on the paper. But weather is a truly integral part of Zambian life. I know that you could make an argument that weather is a crucial aspect to every part of life in every culture but I've come to appreciate its importance in Zambia.

It finally rained in Chipata, about a week ago. Until then I was really starting to doubt whether it actually did rain in Eastern Province because my friends in other provinces had been talking about rain at their sites for weeks. It just seemed to be getting hotter and hotter. However, then the rain came and its been raining and cloudy every day for over a week which I here is also unusual. Apparently usually at the beginning of rainy season it doesn't rain every day. Maybe the sky had just been saving up...

The rains are integral in terms of planting crops here. The planting season, at least in my catchment area, coincides almost perfectly with the holiday season in the US. Starting from the very end of November through the entire month of January most people will be very busy planting their fields with maize, groundnuts (peanuts), sunflower, and potentially some other crops like soy and beans (the exception to this is cotton which is planted before the rain). Maize is the particular crop of importance in Zambia because well, its what everyone eats. Its important only to plant maize after you are sure that there is going to be a steady amount of rain coming to your fields. If you plant too early then the seeds wont be able to germinate and you will lose a great deal of your yield. If you plant too late then the rain can also have a negative impact on your crop yield and you can lose some of your crop. Ideally its recommended that farmers in Eastern Province plant their maize between Dec 1 and Dec 15. This planting season I am working with one of my neighbors to use his field as a demonstration plot for a few conservation farming techniques. Conservation Farming is a method of farming that has been introduced into Eastern Province in the past 3-4 years (Im told by other volunteers that we are a bit ahead of the curve here in EP and that CF is just being rolled out in other parts of the country).  CF aims to minimize environmental degradation, reduce workload on the farmer, and mamxmize crop yield. Sounds amazing right? Well it can be, but its difficult to get people who have been doing something one way for their entire lives to completely change and switch their ways. And its not like we're talking about something superficial like the color of your hair or your house, but rather we're talking about an entire families food source. It can definitely seeem like a bit of a gamble.Its an integral part of my program as a LIFE volunteer here so I will keep you updated on my progress with CF in my catchment area.

Switching gears here, I have been in Chipata for the past week participating in a workshop focused on HIV/AIDS education, prevention, care and support. The nine other volunteers in my province that I came to country with and their village counterparts (as well as my own counterpart from the village) have been staying a super nice lodge in Chipata and working pretty hard (8-4! everyday!). Usually the volunteers stay at our bunk house in Chipata, however right now our house is having some "difficulities" so they put us up at the nicest guest house in Chipata (mainly because it was a last minute decision and its the only place in Chipata that PC in Lusaka can pay electronically). But I've had AIR CONDITIONING for the past week as well as a TELEVISION (ok the channels are few BUT there is a European music video channel that I've been watching pretty nonstop I feel so culturally relevant and cool again- I know some new music!!).

The workshop overall was really good. Although I do think the volunteers get a lot out of it I think that the Zambians get so much information that they would otherwise not necessarily hear. The current HIV rate in Zambia is 14% but that varies amongst provinces and districts. In Chipata district its pretty high at 22.6%. I've got some work to do. Although many people have a bit of HIV knowledge and there are many NGOs that have been very active in trying to provide information about the disease throughout the country this is another case where the rural areas are behind the rest of the country in terms of dispelling myths about the disease  and overall education and knowledge about HIV. As Peace Corps. volunteers we are all expected to do some HIV work whether its working with groups of those who are living Positively and trying to help them establish income generating activities or helping to educate people about proper nutrition and care for those living with the disease or even condom demonstrations. And now ideally we have Zambian counterparts who are trained with us to help us bring all the information we have back to the village...I'm lucky in that I have a great counterpart and I know that we are going to do a lot of great work together.

So thats generally what I have been up to as of late, rain and learning about HIV. This will be my last blog post before my epic Christmas vacation to Mozambique. I leave in just over a week and will be gone for until the beginning of January. I am backpacking around Southern Mozambique (Maputo, Tofo, Vilankulo, Bazaruto Archipelago, Xai-Xai)  with two of my good friends here. I am So excited. So until then...

Friday, November 5, 2010

I miss the rain down in Africa...

Epic fail on blog posting in October. My excuse - it was hot? No, but really it got to the point where I didn't want to move anymore, let alone bike somewhere to do anything. I would sit and sweat it out on the daily in my hut. Cara can testify to that because she decided to use her vacation days and leave a beautiful DC fall and come visit me to make the month of October slightly more bearable. It was pretty great having her here with me for 11 days. She got to see the village, Chipata, and Livingstone (yeah, I went back...being a tour guide is a rough life). We hitched, took buses, and semi's so I really feel like she got the full Zambia experience. And now I am lucky enough to have someone from home understand some of the things that go on here- even if that one person works legit 60 hour weeks for the US government and has little to free time...but anyway is was awesome having her here and I hope that I can expect more visitors in the future.

So Cara came, I sweat (and apparently this hot season wasn't even that bad), and the US Ambassador came out to my site- because I'm probably the best volunteer that Peace Corps. has in Zambia...well that annnndddd my site is legitimately the easiest site to get to from Chipata boma. All Eastern PCVs were invited to have dinner with the Ambassador the night before at the best restaurant in town- the burrito place.  The funny thing about our dinner with the Ambassador is that somewhere, someone sent up a list of dos and donts in term s of meeting the him. We, as PCVs, were told to read this list because it was presumably sent up by his office. So we did...it was quite a comprehensive list that ranged from DO greet the Ambassador "Mr. Ambassador, Sir" at all times to DON'T wear flip flops or spaghetti strap tank tops (hello high school dress code) to if you MUST drink in the presence of the Ambassador limit yourself to ONE. Men were told to wear ties and women were encouraged to dress as professionally as possibly. Formalities are not always the biggest things of concern to a Peace Corps. Volunteer, mostly, because, well, we live in the village...and the overall feeling was that if we were meeting another American he should understand our complete and utter need to wear flip flops and drink beer. Needless to say we were a bit apprehensive about meeting this figurehead when our dinner finally came around. However, I think most of that apprehension vanished when we sat down and he, along with the other members of his entourage ordered a round of beers. So much to our dismay the Ambassador turned out be a pretty good guy. He encouraged us to ask a lot of questions (although I can't say we came up with too many hard hitting questions) and was overall pretty encouraging about the work that we are doing and receptive to the ideas that we had.

The following morning bright and early in a caravan 5 SUVs strong I headed back out to my village to show the Ambassador a typical Peace Corps site and model Peace Corps project- the carpentry project that was started in my village by the volunteer before me. I was a bit nervous bringing so many vehicles into my village because I don't know if there ever have been that many vehicles in the village at one time. Where would we put them all? Luckily, its just about planting season so the whole village, besides the carpenters, who we told to stay behind, were in the field and thus the chaos that could have ensued did not. The Ambassador also brought his two sons out with him which was pretty neat, because even though they have had the opportunity to live all over the world they had never been out to an African village before. They got to see my hut and where I live and also were able to ask me questions in a pretty casual setting about life in the village which I think is pretty cool. After taking the tour around my huts we walked up to my carpenters, who had set themselves up with some of their furniture and their tools in a corner of the village and they were able to give a short presentation about how the project came to the village and how they benefited from it. I think it was important for him to see how Peace Corps. can impact a community and mutual benefit both the volunteer and the community get from the program. Hopefully he will prove to be an ally to Peace Corps. Zambia.

After the Ambassador visit, I had some other PCVs come out to my site and hang out for a few days and then we all came back to Chipata for a Halloween celebration. Now I am just waiting for the rains to come to take some of this heat away. They look like they are coming everday but so far my village hasnt seen much action yet. Which I probably shouldnt be complaining about because my roof needs to be tarped and thatched but I would like it to cool down just a bit...