a journal entry: 24 sept 2008

It took a few months to really settle into my mud hut and make it a home.

In Zambia, most people have their house and chikuta, the kitchen, separately. I had a house, a chikuta (about 20 yards from my house), a pit latrine and a shower area (about 5 yards from my house).

When I arrived to my house, my shower area wasn’t built. So I spent the afternoon watching my BaTaata build it. It was made sticks and grass. Nothing much to look at, but it did the job. And by that I simply mean that no one could see me when I took my bucket bath. I wanted a brick and cement shower. But knew that it was going to be a bit expensive and I didn’t know who could do it for me.

After a few more months of settling in, I also realized that I liked hanging out right outside of my house, not in my chikuta. I didn’t like having random villagers who would come to visit me in my house. So I decided that what I needed was a porch. I could sit outside my house and not get wet on my way to the chikuta during rainy season. I could also hosts visitors in my porch, and not in my house. Win-win.

I brought my ideas up to my BaTaata to see who could do this for me. And he said he and the older boys could! Eric, my oldest host brother, was looking to raise some money to pay for high school. I was more than happy to oblige!

Brick making began and construction quickly started! And boy did it turn out amazing! It was exactly what I needed to make a house a home.

24 Sept 2008: 7 months in Zambia yesterday!

It’s 9am and I’m hot already. Good thing I’m leaving on vacation and won’t be here for most of the hot season. So much has happened, I don’t know where to start. I journaled for the first 2 weeks of my month away from home and I taped it on the next page.

What else… Some neighbor has been setting fires on BaWesley’s land so the other night I went out and watched him and the kids put out a fire. It was crazy.

My porch is perfect! It’s going to make being in the village AMAZING! It still needs to be roofed and also cemented. But BaWesley seems to be on top of it so I’m not worried. And I now have a brick bathing shelter. Which is also super nice. So I think that’s it for new things. I’m sure I’ll think of more but for now I’ll just write some letters.

Days Like These…

It is days like these that I wonder why I have chosen to live the way I do.
I learned today that my Zambian sister Sandra is getting married this month.
I’m so excited for her! She is an amazing woman, a wonderful mother, an extremely hard worker, and quite the business woman. Whoever she is marrying is one lucky man. Unfortunately, I won’t be there. I never thought living and working in India would be a bad thing.
It is when I hear news like this that I really wonder why I choose to live the way I do. 8,100 miles away from my American family and 8,400 miles away from my Zambian family. (I looked it up, those are the exact distances.) Thousands of miles from friends who are scattered across the globe. Thousands of miles away from the possibility of bumping into someone I know. Thousands of miles away from a 10 minutes walk to visit a friend. Thousands of miles away from anything to remind me of home. (Whatever that may be for me.) I’m beginning to think and feel like there is really something to the saying:
‘Out of sight, out of mind.’
I miss the little things; being able to chat with my favorite aunt any time I want, cook dinner for my parents, go for a walk without getting completely dirty or being stared at the whole time. And it is on days like this, when I find out that my sister is getting married, that I really wished I had a ‘normal job.’ I would have the time and be able to afford a trip to Zambia and celebrate with my family.
I could care less about grocery stores with 9 versions of one thing, electricity that is on all the time, tap water that won’t make you sick, and whatever other ‘conveniences’ America has to offer. That seems to overwhelm me most of the time.
But I guess, for some strange, crazy, insane reason, it is all worth it. I’m having fun.