First, I want to say that Burke, I am glad you found the blog!!
These last two weeks, I have been living in Chongwe, Zambia. I am staying with a host-family and also another volunteer. My host family consists of a mother, Judith, and her son Jono. Jono is about 15 years old and a little quiet. He may not know a lot of English though which would explain his quietness because I don't know much Lunda (my language to learn) yet. I am getting there though. I had my first full Lunda spoken exchange today. That made me feel really good about where I am in the language skills. My host mom, Judith, is a wonderful lady. The Peace Corps has it set up to where we don't have to do a whole lot around the house just yet, that comes in a couple weeks I believe. So, she does the cooking and dishes and Jono gets our water for both bathing and drinking. It is nice not having to do those things but at the same time I feel like they believe we are helpless. So I may jump into the grind of things a little sooner then the PC would like. Chongwe is a beautiful place to see. The sunrise and sunsets are amazingly beautiful. I have a ton of pictures of both. The sky at night is another site to see. Upon the billion stars that are always out, you can also see the Milky-Way. Yes, I have pictures of that too :)
The food out here has been a big surprise. Nshima (please google) is not very good, but they say I will come to love it. I disagree. But, Nshima is served at every meal except breakfast so I hope to come to love it soon. That is were the bad ends. Every night I am served either fish, beef, goat or chicken supplemented with two of either cabbage, spinach, rice, beans, soup or fritters (fried bread). Lunch is usually a pasta or rice dish with regular bread or soup. Oh, last night I had sausage. Breakfast has been boiled or scrambled eggs, the classic PB&J, or fritters. All meals are followed by "tea" which is either coffee (my favorite), tea, or hot chocolate. It is Lunda culture to not have anything to drink while eating. That is super hard to accomplish when eating nshima, but I have not broke tradition.
THE AMAZING GROUP OF PEOPLE!!!
Although we have already lost four people to ET (Early Termination) I can say that I have 54 amazing friends here with me in Zambia. A few of us have decided to make a new tradition among our group by having cut-off chitanga Thursdays where we have a fabric "chitanga" made into a shirt with no sleeves and Bichi Fridays (fresh friday), where we dress in our Sunday best. We are currently looking for other ideas for the other days of the week lol. The other volunteers are from all walks of life in America and not one is from FL. I have come closer to a few people that are going to be in the Northwest Provence with me for the two years of service, but everyone has every ones phone numbers too. I don't think we have a single outcast in our entire group. I would actually be upset if any of the 54 that are left decided to quit. Our youngest volunteer is 21 y/o Leigh, she is from Cali. Our oldest is 62 y/o Cheng, from Washington. My NWP group consists of Jack from Idaho, Michelle from Washington, and Hunter from Rhode Island. Let me just say this, my language group (Jack, Michelle, and Hunter) are freaking hilarious. I can't tell you how many times I have cracked up laughing in class. Our teacher is always right there laughing as well though.
On to the story I have told 20 times... My boy Will was definitely feeling this girl one night and flirting with her. They were talking about scars and other things about each other when Will decides to take his short sleeve shirt completely off to show her a scar that was literally by his armpit but still on his arm. Mara (a volunteer) and myself busted out laughing when he did this. I was wearing a snap-up shirt and proceeded to rip it open while saying "Mara, check out my scar" all while pointing to my calf... Just to show how pointless it was for Will to take of his shirt when showing the girl his scar. Mara and I as well as 10 other people in the room are now ALL laughing. That is just a little info on the great people that I am sharing this experience with in Zambia.
I have had such a great time out here so far and I hope everything continues to go this way. I will write again when I can, but I don't know how long it will be from now. I hope everyone is doing great back in the States and remember, always write me letters because other PCV's say that is what gets you through the rough days. I love and miss all of you