We’re almost half way through May, and let me tell you, Provincials was good!
Saturday morning at 5AM we bundled up all our gear, and started off on transport – we were on the road and making good time – my mind was a mixture of excitement, sadness, and contemplation – the 10 hour trip was a period of intense internal discussion. I had made peace with the structure of the next few months during my trip to Ntumbatuschi, had been blessed to participate in posting, and meet the new volunteers, and had participated in my last all province meetings. It had been a busy 17 days, and one that settled a lot of questions and anxiety. Now, in a period of transition, sitting on rubberized seat covers and the smell of dusty air and humidity mixed with sweat, I was on my way down to a whole new chapter.
I was honored to be selected to participate in the 2013 Pre-Service Training of the new CHIP volunteers as a technical adviser/trainer. The way it’s scheduled I’ll spend the 18th of May through the 15th of June working with the technical team preparing the site, materials, and our community hosts as well as relationships with our non-governmental partners for our training program. On the 14th, our trainees arrive in Zambia, and on the 19th they’ll move out into their host communities and begin their first village experience. I think it’ll really be something.
The host family experience is their first stepping stone to understanding the culture, traditions and daily life of rural zambians. It’s an introduction to how to use a pit latrine, how to cook on a braiser, and how to survive in a village. It’s a necessary and exciting part of our Pre-Service training, and one that builds the foundation for each volunteers service. You’ll remember my posts back in 2011 – when I too experienced the PST environment, and all the wonder and excitement as I discovered tricks and tips that would help me for the duration of my service. Now being on the other side, all I can say is how excited I am to help and offer advice and support as the next generation arrive.
My fellow PCV technical trainer will take over for the first five weeks of training as I head back to site and wrap up my service and the very last of my projects. Then, after our official Close of Service conference (the administrative session that prepares us to begin closing out our service and leave our communities) I’ll pack up and move over to the training site until I “ring out.” That means that the 7th of July will be, for all intents and purposes the end of my time in Luapula, and the final farewell to my site and community – I won’t return again as a PCV, and it’ll no longer be my community – but assigned to a replacement. A replacement which I get to help train and prepare!
You can imagine then the thoughts racing through my mind as we sped down the new resurfaced roads toward Lusaka. Considering the training program, the structure of our program, session planning, and important notes to help the trainees make the best of their service, I was thinking forward, with an occasional glace back toward the sweet memories of my own experience and service. The positive and negative, the light and the dark, and the fact that I’d have just two short weeks at the end of June to finalize everything, while being distracted and eagerly looking forward to being involved in training. To be shaping and equipping the new trainees with the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and anecdotal experience they’ll need to make it through their service.
Nine hours later we pulled into Lusaka, were dropped off at our lodge, and we camped out for the night. Then we woke up early, grabbed a ride to our Lusaka HQ, and found ourselves a ride out to Chongwe, and then to Chalimbana. We dropped our gear, and began settling in to an old familiar haunt – the Chalimbana FTI training center. Reunited, the training team introduced ourselves, and we began the planning process.