Alright, in my last post I mentioned I’d be writing updates for the last few weeks, so let’s start at the beginning.
The folks arrived in Zambia July 8th and for a torturous two days stayed down in Lusaka, Zambia waiting for their flight to come and join me in Mansa for the trip to my village. After hours of patiently (fretfully) waiting, I got a phone call from the spare cell I’d left at their accommodation and heard the folks voices! We talked about their flight and then double-checked our plans. Excited and jubilant I packed up for the evening ready to head into Mansa the next day.
I had planned to arrive at the office in Mansa on the 9th in order to secure our rental car. After quite a bit of fussing and bartering I secured an almost new,temporarily registered, Nissan sedan for the 7 days the folks and Alex were going to be here. Unable to drive due to Peace Corps policies, I had them drive it to the local bank and put it behind the fences to keep it safe. That evening I picked up groceries and relaxed as much as possible at the office.
Tuesday morning rolled around as slowly as I had imagined. I rushed out to the airport and stood excitedly on the edge of the runway awaiting their landing and debarking. Half an hour later the plane sputtered and puttered its way into view. The turbines quit and mom popped out of the tiny side hatch, followed by Alex and Ed. We grabbed their luggage, headed to the taxi I’d hired, and headed back into town. I’m not going to bore you with the fancy details but there was much hugging and catching up done. When we arrived in Mansa, Alex and I went over to the bank, signed the last of the papers, grabbed some petrol, and headed back to pick up the folks. A little shopping later, some exploring of the Peace Corps office, a lot of profanity towards Apple (see Apple and how they screwed us over post) and we were on our way to my village!
56 brutal kilometres of hard road, massive potholes, washboards, goats, small running children and poor light and we pulled down my causeway. A few spins on the combo lock and we were in! Jo, Ed, Alex and I settled in to my little African hut.
They instantly made themselves comfortable – marveled at my very much improved pit latrine, hence forth known as my cimbusu, and started their tour of my village. We relaxed and took the evening easy getting used to the systems I’d put in place and having good quality family time. The next day went far too quickly. We had breakfast and then walked down to my water source. They got to see me fetch and haul water. We met and socialised with my neighbours and then we headed over to the clinic. There they met with Joyce, Brian, some of the Safe Motherhood Action Group leaders and Brian our newly returned in-charge. He’d been gone for over a year and was trying to settle back into the flow of things.
After a brief exchange we took off and headed over to Musonda Falls. There we took a short break to enjoy the falls and surrounding beauty before we continued on to visit my closest neighbour, Ms. Stephanie. We had an absolutely delicious dinner of de-hydrated Mountain House meals (thanks to the Lynch family for that one!!) and some great conversation. Having seen just a touch of the variation between volunteer’s sites, we had a lively conversation on the way back to my site and a relaxing evening at the Hut. We sat outside and enjoyed the stars and sounds of the African Bush at night.
We woke the next morning, came back by the clinic and did an official donation of the Hesperian Medical handbooks for Midwifery to the midwife and CDE (Casual Daily Employee). These were donated by our very own Martinez family.
Then we were off again, over to my counterpart’s house for a late lunch and then a big dinner. We charged up our gear using his electricity (fancy) and played some fütbol (soccer) with the neighbours and kids using the One World Futballs donated by the Martinez Family (awesome almost indestructible soccer balls) in the fading light before heading back to my home.
We crashed out excited for our next adventure. In the morning we were leaving Chisunka and heading far north to Ntumbatuschi Falls, a park in the Kawamba district.
But that leg of the trip is for my next blog! Stay tuned!!
David N. Berger – Community Development and Health Volunteer – Peace Corps
David N. Berger – PCVuyyyyh
PO Box 710150
Mansa, Luapula, Zambia
This message is solely my opinion, beliefs and observations and does not reflect the views or positions of the U.S government, Zambian government or Peace Corps.
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