Thursday, August 26, 2010
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Broken English is wonderful and every day when I hear a Zambian say, "the goodness" I chuckle inside. To an extent it truly is an appropriate saying. The goodness in Zambia is seeing a bright red sun every evening around 7, getting used to the smell of petrol and burning trash, knowing how to get home even if you are driving on the left side of the road, and having a projector in your house to watch movies on. The loveness is watching all of us interns gather around our pup-kamba- when she got partially run over by a car. Happy to announce Kamba is fine, limbing and swollen, but surviving. The loveness is also learning all 17 coaches names and their sites, heading my first GRS meeting, and understanding every single acronym in a conversation.
A few notes from the past week. I started running around a bit and every step that I take turns my shoes a deeper and deeper red. I find it absolutely amazing that Zambians walk to work and arrive with so little dust on them. I have, however, heard a rumor that they carry shoe brushes with them. Perhaps I'll find out soon. I ate a chicken claw at a braai, tasted like chicken. Baked. On Saturday me and the girls in the house, Maxime, Marissa, and Lena, went to go see Jamaican artists Brick and Lace and as an intro to their African debut, Zambian artists opened. Incredibly entertaining, the whose who of Zambian Artists appeared and sang, or rapped, their hearts out. Let's just say that I am well versed in the genre of Zambian music. Sunday brought with it relaxing by the pool in the heat and a warmly welcomed Indian meal for dinner.
The week has been piled with visits to many of the sites where our programs take place. I was able to take an unexpected trip to the Tuesday market that immediately made my heart soar. It was a colorful mosaic of fruits and vegetables, not to mention the mamas who aptly sold the, literal, fruits of their labor in their decorative fabrics and wise smiles. It was a scene full of life and non-sequitor. Suits, people in business suits, shopping at a grungy market. I will end with a brief scene from the market.
I was on a mission to buy eggplant for a roommate, Max, and found a supply of eggplant priced at 3,000 kwacha, approximately 60 or so cents a kilo. I still have very little idea as to what a kilo looks like, except I weight 56kilos or at least that is what the scale in the kitchen says, and so I selected 3 eggplants. The mama asked me to hand it to her, balanced it in her rough hands and shook her head disapprovingly at me. Obviously I had no idea what a kilo looked or felt like. She quickly piles 4 more eggplant into the bag, hung it on the scale, showed me the scale reading one kilo exactly, and sent me on my merry way. Mission: learn what a kilo and half-kilo feel like.
peace to all.
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Every evening the sun sets around 6:30 or 7:00pm- eternally giving the illusion that I am up much later than I actually am. The sky lights up in a red and yellow haze, emphasizes the dust that inhabits the air, and the sun lights up like a ruby-red red red. It almost looks poisonous. It's life giving though. It is peaceful and wonderful to end the day with a brilliant send off that soon gives way to constellations of stars I have yet to recognize. No orion here, just the southern hemispheres fireflies, and NO light pollution.
Our house sits in a respectable neighborhood. To be honest with you it is difficult to tell what houses look like. Walls sprout up around ever residence, causing mystery and a sense of suspicion. But in reality it is self-defense that motivates the wall and I guess the blessing is that it provides a job for a lone security guard. I went for a run earlier this week down the road, took a few turns, and suddenly found myself in rural Africa. Goats and chickens pecking through burning trash- the eternal smell of Lusaka, combined with petrol- clothes hanging on lines, and a whole community bustling about. It was great to make my way through and back home.
Just a quick work up-date, I started in on a few projects this week. Organizing our coaches for home-visits. Grassroot Soccer just received a grant from the Elton John Aids Foundation that allows us to combine our educational curriculum with home-visits and thus consent for testing. It is an exciting opportunity with many logistics. I am preparing, as well, to head out to the refugee settlement camp of Meheba in a week, where I will be spending a week training, witnessing graduations from our program, and following up on the results that we are getting. I cannot wait to go!
For now that is all from Lusaka. Many more stories to tell, perhaps sometime soon. peace.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Birthdays in Zambia are the best ever because basically you just dance all night long. My birthday was simple and nonchalant until about 8:00 at night, or as they say here 20 hours. It began with a heavy dosage of shima, a tipical local meal of cornmeal cooked, balled up, and then dipped into sauces filled with vegetable, meat, etc. absolutely delicious and the best part is that you get to use your hands as utensils. hooray for finger food! Then the dancing began...as I've mentioned before Zambians can dance, and when they dance all I can do is stare because my body has never nor will ever move in that way. So me, the white girl (muzungu), attempted to dance and had the time of my life. I hope that by the end of my stint here I will pick up a few dance moves.
So I had a wonderful birthday, still love Zambia, cannot believe that I am here, have the best group of interns around me I could ever ask for, and I start in on my first tasks on monday. Life is sweet.
Just to fill in the lines-I'm going to be focusing on working with the programme coordinators for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees project that Grassroot Soccer does. I'll be traveling once a month to a refugee settlement called Meheba in the northern part of the country. I will also be working with more urban refugees organizing the implementation of curriculum, helping train coaches in the improvements of the curriculum, and organizing the testing and counseling events that we host.
That is all for now- keep in touch everyone. much love.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Walking up to the yard the 10 year old is jammin' in the middle of the circle. Moving in ways that I only dream of moving in, I have entered a world of rhythm and fluidity to which I am not quite culturally sensitive. I am chosen to enter into the mix, moving rhythmically as best I can...all the kids laughing so hysterically that they can hardly continue singing the song. Luckily, I have no shame whatsoever, because if I don't get over my embarrassment today, it is going to be a very long year.
Basically, I love to dance and will never be as beautiful nor as slamming as these kids. Till next time. peace
Day four. At first I thought that I would attempt to recount all the details and happenings of this place, Lusaka, Zambia, but I know that will not only prove to be boring but impossible. So here are a few tid bits from the past few days.
Kamba, which means speak in Nianja, is the Rotwieler/Labrador puppy that greeted us as we approached the house that I will be living in for the next year. Could not have asked for a better welcoming...she is so full of energy and for about two hours every morning she runs around and then crashes for about half an hour and is back at it. I'll share a picture later...I haven't had a chance to pull out the camera just yet.
Day one. Getting used to the office, the time zone, and the weather we ran around town visiting different schools and then Tommy, one of the past interns turned employee, decided that we were going to go pick up a cat...but on the way we picked up a few coaches that had just been circumcised, one of Tommy's personal projects. Just to clarify "coaches" or "peer educators" are the people that disseminate the HIV/AIDS prevention curriculum, personalized to GRS (Grassroot Soccer), to the kids in the communities. Anyway, this was my introduction picking up three boys in a fair amount of pain on the way to pick up a kitten...Welcome to ZAMBIA!!!
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
The adventure has begun. Woke up too early yesterday morning to catch a plane to Boston, MA. It all seems very surreal. I am on my way to Africa, to Zambia to be exact to work for Grassroot Soccer (www.grassrootsoccer.org, check out the website if you haven't already). On my way... and starting a blog to track my successes, downfalls, learning experiences, and just life for the next year of my life.
So first things first, what in the world do you take to Zambia? Well after some advise from Grassroot Soccer, previous interns, and the internet here is what I have taken: my backpacking backpack, filled with clothing-specifics are unimportant, about 7 books, a journal (of course), and my passport. Details as to whether or not what I am taking with me is appropriate will follow in the months to come.
Currently I am anxious for what is going to come in the next year. Ready to take a new step and to learn. Focused on keeping my eyes and ears open and for contributing all that I can to Zambia and to the organization. Tomorrow morning I head up towards Hanover, NH to begin my orientation. I will do my best to write sometime during or post orientation.
Thank you to all who have donated, it means more than I can say but hopefully through this blog you will be able to see where your money is going.
I miss the states already, but I guess that just means that I am luck to have a place to miss.
till next time. ciao.