Catching up – General Updates – Wk 4-6

General update 1 wk 4. Alright guys, so I’ve had a couple questions about diet. Food security is a major issue and although food types are similar, food is seasonal and differs on availability based on location. Also nutrition education is highly limited. So here’s a general breakdown of what I’ve been eating. Staple food here is nshima, or in bemba- ubwali. It’s basically either maize, sorghum, or cassava ground into flour then mixed into boiling water with flour added until a thick dough like consistency. It then cooks further, is thickened again, and shaped into lumps used as the primary staple and utensil. Ubwali is so important culturally that many Zambians will say they have not eaten if it’s not a part of their meals. Then there is musalu, or veggies. These consist of leafy greens- i.e. rape, cabbage, cassava leaves, tomatoes, onions, etc. And a relish of some sort- fish, meat, soya, potatoes, beans etc. I’ve had a varied diet due to budget and training ranging from sausage- no idea what kind of meat, chicken, beef, goat, fish, and soy. Then cabbage, rape, pumpkin, beans-cilemba, and eggs, rice, sweet and white potatoes, chikanda- wild orchid roots mixed with peanut butter and chili and baked to a bologna texture. Also had peanut butter, kapenta, dried river fish, margarin, and fruit. Avocado, oranges, pineapple, and small sweet bananas although fruit and meat are hard to come by. So that’s a pretty brief summary of my diet so far. Keep in mind when I say chicken, I mean we catch one, de-feather it, process it, and cook it. Its generally reserved as guest right only although we get a stipend to include meat consumption in our diets. Cooking takes two to three hours per simple meal and is labor intensive. I’m eating about four and a half to five thousand calories a day and losing weight. Protein is scarce but manageable. I’m both excited and nervous to explore my food options at site once outside of training and farther from a big city…

General update 2. Wk 4. Good evening. Let me start out by saying that Zambia is gorgeous. One look at the horizon with the foliage canopy so uniquely African savannah and the gorgeous scintillating colors of sunrise and sunset are breathtaking. On that note, a quick update on physical status. I bike between nine and fifteen km. a day through sandy loamy soil and across two depressions/creek beds. In addition all activities at this stage involve manual labor. Eventhough we’re shielded for the moment by our host families and training, we’re still integrating into the work load. That in mind, I’m slowly but steadily losing weight. From my diet post you’ll know that’s with eating almost 5k calories a day, and still not doing a majority of daily life labor. I think I’ll start to even out soon, but it’s pretty amazing. Pst is going very well. Language is progressing as well. This Friday we’re supposed to find out our sites. ! I can’t wait! I’m so excited. I miss dancing and friends and fam back home, but I’m loving it here and doing well! Healthy and happy. 🙂 Goodnight all. Sendamenipo!

Wk 6, general update. Doing well, training is progressing well. I met my counterpart for community entry. I’m more and more excited every day. Next week is our second site visit. So I’ll get to see my community and my hut! Super excited. Learning more about non-formal education techniques, behavior change, health thrusts in country, income generating activities and integration styles. After site visit we finish up training and language (scary). Then its off to community entry and three months of observation and tailoring programs to my community. I can barely wait. Healthwise, I’m doing well. Still happy and healthy. Eating well :). Preparing a presentation on cross cultural exchange. Taking photo’s although no way to upload them…

From what I’ve heard my site is fantastic. Since I haven’t seen it yet I can only imagine, but from my host’s description its gorgeous. There’s a big man-made lake and six or seven streams through the catchment, there’s also mountains and beautiful landscape. I’m about six km from the road and maybe two km from the rhc – rural health clinic. The rhc is electrified! So I’ll be able to charge my little things when I go in to work! Woo! We’ve got a lot of work to do, and I’ll paint a better picture once I’ve seen and explored my site in person next week. My catchment is forty one by eleven klicks (kilometers) so pretty big. Some work days I’ll be biking around ninety km, so i don’t need to be too worried about exercise. I’m about sixty klicks from Mansa, so not too bad, and transport seems regular on the main road and tarmac so that’s really exciting!






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