Tuesday, September 7, 2010

All Is Well!!!

After that tear jerker of a post (well, for me anyways). Now I will tell you about my second site visit.

I have an awesome house, as described in the second to last post.
Sunday: well, we showed up on sunday to the site (which is becoming my house) a little after 6pm. Upon arrival we were to go to the Chiefs house to give a gift and make him aware of our presence in the community for the next 10 days. His house is literally 20yd's from my house. AWESOME! After going and meeting him we went back to the house to make dinner. First, as a volunteer, you hardly every have more than 2 people at your house, so dishes are scarce. That being said, we had 7 people at Marks (our host volunteer) house. We didn't have enough dishes for everyone to have a plate and food to be served so we had to put all the food in a 2 gallon bucket. We proceeded to shake the bucket to mix all the ingredients and then there it was... We ate the next 6 dinners together out of the bucket, along with breakfast each moning to finish leftovers haha.
Monday: Because I am replacing an existing volunteer (Mark) the community threw him a going away party. Zambians know how to have a going away party. Mark traded his bed for the slaughtering of a goat and 5 chickens for us to eat at dinner before the party started. (super cheap, I know). After feasting on all of that plus Nshima, the party began. After all the singing and dancing and introducing me as their next volunteer, the excitement began. Our language trainer was at this party (you need to know that). So, the Zambians were doing a skit about Mark, but the skit implied that he did nothing his entire two years of service. This was very offensive to our language trainer (being Zambian herself and knowing her culture doesn't do jokes like this), and the "Zolleywood actors" never mentioned anything positive about Mark. After the skit was over Harriet (trainer) spoke about how if Mark was no help, why would they want another volunteer? And if they didn't want another volunteer, then to tell her and she would place me somewhere else. She was pissed. But in the end, everything was settled and they said for "lack of time" is why they didn't show all of his accomplishments and apologized to Mark. It was pretty exciting to say the least.
Tuesday: The most epic battle of Risk (a board game) took place, in which I lost. I was not created to rule the world I guess. lol. But, it was my first time playing and I didn't pick up the strategy until after I was already out. but we had a lot of fun playing and it was a heated battle as teams were formed very quickly. (Not ok, by veteran Risk player standards).
Wednesday: After language class (every day until 1pm) Mark was presenting the Chief with a walking cane and the Chief was, in return, giving Mark his old one. It was awesome to watch and I have many pictures of it. Other than dinner later that day, not much happened and it was pretty chill.
Thursday: Thursday we got out of language early to go to this celebration of these kids "coming out of the bush". In Zambia, boys are showered and bathed by their mothers until they are circumcised, usually between the ages of 4-10. They are taken into the woods with some older guys and have to stay for a month after the circumcision takes place, for healing I am guessing. but the boys were out and a huge dance celebration took place, so we attended. The boys are given money, new clothes, and new shoes for their "becoming of men." It was a pretty cool celebration to watch. After the party we went home to pack and get everything ready for the trip to The Source of the Zambezi River.
Friday: Again, after language we got our bikes and trekked to The Source. Before reaching our destination, we came up to a sign that was literally the D.R. of Congo/D.R. Zambia. Yes, I crossed the line haha. After that, we reached the main building to The Source. Now, think of (or google) the Zambezi River and then think of it ALL starting from a hole in the ground that was literally three feet by three feet. But who am I to judge... After-all, I have only been here for a little more than a month. But we took bottles of water from this source and drank it (without water purification tablets haha). Yea, we are daredevils haha. My second bottle had a water purification tablet though. lol. We ended up camping in the campground and roasted marshmellows... There were no smore's because chocolate is hard to come by and there was no way chocolate was going to last 7 days without being eaten.
Saturday: As we woke to the early morning sunrise peering through our tents, we packed everything and began our trip back to Marks site. Shortly after arriving the truck came to take everyone but me away and drop them all off at their new sites for three days of aloneness (don't think that is a word but... it's a blog so). I spent the few hours of daylight I had left bathing in the river (200m) from my house and then started cleaning my new/future house. I had to get to bed early because I had a soccer match in the next town over that I had to leave early for.
Sunday: When I woke up, I was told that we were going to leave at 9am instead of 8am because my neighbor was very sick and they thought he may pass away at any moment. nine turned to ten, then the coach told me to just go ahead and they would catch up. The field was an hour bike ride from my house. As I was riding I came across Nchilla Game Reserve where there were buffalo, deer, sable, and a few other animals. I decided to turn into the park (knowing the Zambian team would be late). As I was riding around taking pictures I came up to a church where four older white ladies stood talking. I approached them to say hello and they already knew who I was and that I was replacing Mark. (word gets around whereever Kenny Ray goes haha). But after introduction, Ester invited me to lunch with her. After the bike ride, I couldn't refuse. Ester works at the orphanage and has been there for 37 years. She made Frenchtoast and veggies. For dessert we had fresh cut pineapple and a layered dessert with jam, custard, and a whipcream topping. I ended up spending almost 4 hours there. Realizing I had probably already missed the soccer game, I decided to leave. When I arrived to the field, I got news of the elderly man's passing. I rode home and attended the beginning of the funural ceremonies.
The next two days were pretty much the same thing... I sat on my porch cooking, cleaning my house, and keeping the kids busy. The entire community never left my neighbors house for the next two days. For all I know, they are all still over there greiving the death. Literally 24 hours a day, they are outside praying, worishiping and mourning the loss of this man. There were at least 12 huge log fires set up and all going at once. I learned that this is done for each of the man's kids/grandkids.
Wednesday: Now I am back in Solewazi waiting to catch a bus tomorrow at 6am into Lusaka for two more weeks of training and then back out here to Kaseki for two years of service!!!

Love, Kenny Ray


  1. Wow. Please keep the updates coming. It's so wonderful. Thanks for sharing these memories with us.


  2. It's great to read about how your experience is going. Stay safe bro, miss you man.


  3. Kenny this is amazing! I love reading this, keep it up!!