Monday, April 20, 2009

Hi everybody,Just a few more days left in this stage of training. I visited my site a couple of weeks ago. I am in the Luapula Province, in Mwense district, in the village of Chiposa ( 7 K east of the town of Mwense). My house is situated smack dap in the middle of the village. My nearest volunteer neighbor is 25K away although he is finishing up his service so then the next is 40K away. I have a large house (in terms for volunteers) complete with 4 (although small) rooms. And thanks to the previous volunteer the bathing shelter is in the house (cement floor with a drain). I have a very small nsaka (gazebo) for visitors since it is not appropriate to have people in your house. And I have plans to add a chicken coop and an oven. I will also need to get a cat because there are mice and snake problems there. The previous volunteer did alot of work with the schools, tree nurserys, and seed multiplication. So I will be continuing that and would like to include rabbitry, beekeeping, food preservation, and other income generating/ food security projects. It will depend on what the community wants to do. I know the women are very excited about having a female volunteer and already said that they want me to teach then to sew (they probably know more than I do). We were left alone at our respective sites for a night and then had to hitch into town. I took a mini bus which was interesting, it took us 3 hrs to reach Mansa which is where the Peace Corps Provincial House is located because we had to stop at every little village or shop to pick people up or drop them off. From there I was going to meet up with other volunteers and we were going to take the night bus back to Lusaka (9hr ride) but upon arrival at the house found out that our visas had expired. So the Peace Corp had to drive us back. We spent all afternoon at immigration getting it straightened out but I still do not have my work visa, hopefully it is not lost!

Next week is going to be very busy with exams as we finish up. On Friday we Swear-In and officially become volunteers! And then we are dropped off at our site where we are left to cry (so we have been told). The first month is community integration where we are not allowed to leave our site at all fot the first month and then the following two months we are not allowed to leave the Province but I can go to the house in Mansa. The Provincial house is a place where we can hang out. We are allowed four days a month. There is electricity, TV, tons of movies, lots of books, bunkbeds, and best of all hot water and a shower! After the three months we go back to Lusaka for a week of training and then sent back to our village.

I miss you all but have been doing well! My boma is pretty small so I do not know if I will be able to have internet access. It may just be when I go to Mansa to the house. (I do not even have cell reception in my hut!) I was going to include pictures of my house but they will not open on this computer. I will try later (the computer and internet is very slow!)

Love you all!Jessica

And like always please share this with everyone!