Monday, August 26, 2013

30 Day Blog Challenge

Saw my little cousin post this blog challenge on the igram, and since ive wanted to do a picture blog/pic-a-day type of thing, so I guess Ill do this! Just to add some direction to my picture posting :)

So the first day is a pic of myself and a description of my day. Im horrible at taking selfies, esp on an awkward phone, but at least part of myself made it into the photo. But thats me sitting on the side of the road by myself. Its about 90 degrees out and around 1130 am. So I guess that means that at this point in my day I cant really give a description of my full day. Maybe ill update later.

I never set an alarm in this country, unless theres something i absolutely have to be up for at a certain time. Id rather rely on a natural, healthy, cirdadium rhythm. They say if you spend only a week out in nature with no technology or stress waking you up, its enough to reset your whole rhytm again. Im pretty sure that mine is reset by now! I love waking up to the sun creeping in my windows, but I usually go to bed shortly after it sets so I have an ample amount of sleep time anyways. I typically wake up naturally from 530-630, although since Ive been in town I've been staying up late and pushing a 645 wake up.

Today my only goal was to get up before 7, pack my things, start heading into town by 730, run some errands, and be on the road by 1030 to hitch back to Lundazi. I didnt quite make that goal, but its okay. I had a lot more packing and cleaning and gathering of things at the house than I originally thought, and I spent a good, enjoyable amount of time sipping my coffee and chatting with our house mama, Ester. She's the sweetest.

I started walking along the road to hitch to town at 9. Many cars sped past me without even a glance im my direction at my outreached hand, nor a signal of communication. Usually they will flash their highbeams if theyre not going to stop, shake their hand from side to side to say they have no room for another person, or move their finger in a circle to communicate that they are "just within," meaning they arent heading into town or traveling a far distance. But, nothing from no one. Oh well. Its probably because Im a gangster.

When I had mostly walked the ~5km from our house into town, an Indian-Zambian man (not sure how to call them) pulled over to drive me the rest of the way in. Its always surprising to me meeting Indians and Europeans that were born and raised here in Zambia, making them full Zambians,  and then hearing them bust out the local language, even though they still have their ancestoral accents. But I guess that makes sense as to why and how surprised Zambians get when I speak local language to them.

In town I first went to print out some 26 pictures from camp. One of the Zambianisms Ive picked up here, which really annoys me, is the inability to 'cue.' Zambians do not know how to form a line and/or keep order. Doesnt matter how long you've been waiting, everyone will come in, step right in front of you, and go about their business. So, seeing a long line at the photo printer and me being on a time crunch, I decided to walk straight up to the front of the line and hand the man my USB. One thing I am is efficient. One thing (most) Zambians are not is efficient. They will stand there for hours at the computer going through which few out of the 10000s of random pictures on their SD cards they want printed, then of course they'll want them printed in doubles, or all different sizes. If you give a mouse a cookie.

So I handed the man my USB and said "theres only one folder, 26 pictures. I want them all printed l, all 4x6. Heres 52 kwacha, Ill be back in 30 minutes to pick them up." And walked out. Boom, efficient, see? Things dont have to be so complicated.

I then headed next door to purchase a new phone for my host father. They had a sign out front that read "genuine, authentic cell phones." I went to the display cases, told them I wanted the cheapest phone they had that contained a certain charge port, so I can charge his phone on my solar. They started showing me blackberrys and other touch screen smart phones, running for 800-1200 kwacha. Im wanting to only spend 50-100 kwacha. Close, but no. So I start looking at the cheap phones. The guy says, "oh, you dont want those. They are fakes, made by the Chinese." Genuine, authentic phones, eh?? But I bought Prince a phone.

Next I walked over to the local grocery store/cafe. The other place I needed to go was closed, but thats okay because Id rather not spend money, as I am trying to save wherever I can to go to Namibia in October. I got a delicious cappicino, and sat with some non-peace corps American friends who are out here working or doing studies. Its pretty cool how completely different all of our experiences are out here, even though we all live in the same small country.

When my coffee was thouroughly enjoyed, I ventured to the ATM so I can afford to hitch home today l. The first two were down. I went across the street. Those ATMs were down as well. The ATM security guard sitting outside the bank with his loaded AK-47 told me all the machines in town were down. Of course.

I grabbed my completed pictures,  returned to the house, dropped some things, picked my bags, and got a ride out to the Lundazi turn off, which is where we hitch from. And because this is Zambia, and the police are corrupt and like money, my friend who was driving me to the turn off got pulled over and had to pay a bribe. This happens all the time. The police set up rpad blocks, stop about 85% of all the vehicles passing through, ask to see their license, tell them to pull over, then make them pay about 20 kwacha ($4) to get their licenses back. Or they just confiscate the whole car and youre stuck on the side of the road. It sucks, but its the police, so theres nothing you can do. They make out like bandits, and the taxi drivers usually lose money.

Like mine today. I payed him 35 kwacha for the ride. He stopped and pur 30 kwacha worth of gas in. Then he paid 20 kwacha in bribes to the police. Its a hard knock life.

While the driver was negociating the bribe, some 3 little boys came up to my window and started speaking to me in English. I spoke to them in their language, and they answered me in mine. I think thats pretty cool. I shared my ice water with them, gave them my lunch, and some of my chips. Then they ran off and disappeared into the bush.

I started this post when I was sitting on the road waiting to hitch. Not many cars are passing because its lunch hour. But after only 45 minutes of waiting, some truckers picked me up. Semi trucks are extremely comfortable, but they drive terribly slow. I would have rather waited for a fast ride, but I have a feeling its a slow day anyways. And its hard to turn down a free ride.

Hitching in Zambia is one of the only/most efficient ways to get around. Sure, there are large buses, but those scare me because of the way they drive. Plus theyre overcrowded and break down a lot. Hitching doesn't scare me, although I was very hesitant after my 'kidnapping' experience. But in Zambia there are the people who own cars, and the people who dont. All village Zambians stand on the road and hitch hike. All car-owning Zambians pick up the people hitching on the roadside. Sometimes they charge, sometimes they get to know you and offer a free ride. Ive been really lucky with getting good hitches and many free rides, but I also dont mind paying. Fuel here is about 8x the amount in California. Hitching is a great way to meet all types of people, to learn about their lives or Zambia, to network, and to disseminate information. In fact, some of my greatest health talks have been to people in hitches with me.

As friendly as the truck driver was, he went really slow. 40km/hr slow. Our journey ended up taking 3.5 hours instead of 2 or less, and as 
I feared, I made it into town about 1 minute too late to catch a bus back to my area. granted the bus can only take me within 7km of my village, but 
Id rather walk 7km instead of 20km.

So I was stuck in town for the night. luckily there were a few other pcvs in town as well, because theyre heading to 
Lake Malawi tomorrow, which im totally jealous of. but i need to hermit down in my village for the next month and not spend any money.

theres a new canadian guy living in the lundazi boma, working a "women in development
" program for 6 months. i got to stay the night at his place in his little sisters bed. that was a treat.

when i was on the hitch into town, we stoppes to pick up a zambian girl and her two children. as the 2yo was climbing into the truck I reached out my hand to help her in. she took it as though i wanted to shake her hand, and proceeded to ask me how my afternoon was  at 2 years old, zambian children are more polite than most americans. i picked her up and sat her next to be on the truck bed. she held onto my leg the whole ride. she was precious. 

so thats my day. now that i look at all the topics on this blog challenge, i realize 
I wont be able to do many of them. like i dont have a favorite store, because i live in a village and there are no stores. and i dont have a current favorite tv show because i dont have a tv. and do you think i own a purse
I dont know what the formatting will look like for this post on my blog, so i appologize if its all askew. this is my first time posting from my new phone, and im using the blogger app. its not allowing me to use capital letters or any special characters other than commas and periods. and that annoys the crap out of me. becauase i appreciate good grammer and proper punctuation. hopefully the next post is better.

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