Wednesday, June 3, 2009

June 3rd 2009

Jessica Maslen PCV
Peace Corps Zambia
PO Box 710150
Mansa, Luapula

Make sure Africa is written big, some volunteers have found that their package has travelled to other continents before making it to
Things to send me... candy, chocolate, letters, pictures, newspaper clippings, beef jerkey, anything else you may think I might like...

We had a great time with our meetings and dinners. There are 18 volunteers and 8 guests.
3 volunteers will be leaving at the end of the month, and then we will be gaining hopefully 10 new volunteers in late Septemberish.
Electricity has been very sketchy. It seems to go out at the most inopportune times. Like when we are about to put lasagna in the oven, sit down for dinner, watch a movie, or have a dance party. At which point someone calls the company and tells them that they are ruining our party. (At which point the electricity just went out again).

So I wrote this and then the internet stopped working so I am back to finish it up and send it off.

The power is back on, that is good news! Tomorrow morning I will be going back to site. I might be back in town on the 4th (I also had an invite to go North to an orphanage up there). We will see, it is a five day weekend that week (Friday through Tuesday) which will make travel interesting. I am actually not sure if I am allowed to travel up there yet so I might just go down to the house.

Okay, got to get back and pack up!
I Love and Miss all of you!
I hope that all is going well.
I can not believe how time seems to fly right on by!

(And I am sending this before anything else happens. The power just went out again. Everytime I try to send this, it has taken all day. And I am at the place that does not have a backup generator. Fortunately it was just a few minutes this time!)

June 1st Update

Everything has been going as well as expected. Not perfect but you have to expect a few bumps in the road.I was dumped at my site on April 27th, spent the first 2 days trying to find stuff and get settled. The second night I managed to get violently ill at about 3am (not fun). At daylight I was able to hike to the termite mound and call the Dr. She said to get to the PC House in Mansa, probably Malaria. So I called the lead volunteer and she came and picked me up, there was no way I could have made it to the road to hitch a ride. I started the medicine and was better in a couple of days. (Although my fever was over 103 for about 36 hours and was over 105 at the worse part.) I stayed a couple of days in town to recouperate and then headed back to site.

At site things have been going well. I have been meeting people, yelling at the kids, chasing my chicken, and fetching dirty water from the stream. The hardest challange is the language. I speak so very little of it. I understand quite a bit and getting better although the people think I know nothing. The kids have been helping me out some (when they are not driving me crazy). One thing that is kinda funny is how they say my name. BaJessica. The last part of my name sounds like seka which in bemba is the root for laugh. Which they say fits me because I am always happy and laughing (probably because I have no idea what they just said).

Yes I do have a chicken. I ended up going on a day trip with the headman from the neighboring village to buy nails for my furniture that he is building, This was an all day trip which involved several stops to visit family. I received 20 oranges, 12 large sweet potatos, a stock of sugar cane, and a chicken. All of this strapped onto the back of our bikes. It was very interesting. I felt so bad for the chicken. You had to have been here... He is about 55, yellow winter coat, blue sailors hat, hot pink sunglasses, complete with a chicken strapped on the bike.And yes my water source is a stream. It is dry season and the water level has dropped and it is looking pretty sad.

They are working on a bore hole but who knows when that is going to get finished (do not hold your breath). It is where everybody bathes, washes clothes, washes dishes, soaks cassava, and also soaks reeds and grasses for baskets (they make alot of baskets).

Food is very limited. There is no meat (almost). All they eat is fish (which has caused a lot of blindness). There is also sweet potatos, cassava, and peanuts. For fruit there have been oranges and lemons.Things have been moving slow but that is just the way it goes in the village.

I have to get going, I am only in town for meetings.If anyone has any questions let me know...It will be another month before I come back and have internet access!