This journal chronicles the adventures of a risk-taking, wanderlusting, kaleidoscope-eyed, strong-willed, peace-seeking
explorer taking on the title of Peace Corps Volunteer in the African country of Zambia. Follow me vicariously through
time and space to taste a little slice of my sweet life!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Site Reveals!

So one hidden anxiety all of the trainees have had pertains to the actual location where we will all end up living for our two year service. Based on the origins of the particular language we are each learning comes a village which has requested that the Zambian government send them a PC Volunteer to aid in a specific sector that they feel their community would benefit from. Well the day came and we are now looking into each village and scouring for current volunteers nearby to get insight from.

This week we will actually be meeting our permanent host families for a workshop in the capital and the following week the staff will let us, as bold fledglings, visit our future sites for several nights and even travel, on our own via public transportation, back here to training.

This loosening of the training wheels has been pretty effective to me, despite the drain from a full schedule and cramming a foreign language into my brain. (I'll go into a reflection on training further down the line)

Along foreign culture lines, I had my fill today...

The morning began with a few hours of Bemba lessons including but not limited to conjunctions, strong/polite commands, and shopping/bargaining. I then joined the group in visiting the local Chief at his palace or "ifumu Camuka kwisano". We were all told to dress appropriately so for women that meant cloth wrap skirts known as chitenges..they are often quite colorful or busy with patterns. I am currently having a dress made from chitenge, as well. It is customary to bring the Chief an honorable gift so we had 1 sack of mealie meal (ground maize), 1 sack of sugar, one bottle of cooking oil and a live chicken (shout out to Rikki for handling that thing). Those offering the gifts had a sequence involving kneeling and clapping, we all also got down on our knees when he approached his highnesses chair. The Chief turned out to be extremely well spoken and is taking an active liberal role in his duties. In his lecture (because he is also a teacher at the farm college) he expressed the importance of our work (under God), as well as, the need for gender equality and representation, which I appreciated. I even had a fantastic dance session with the Chief's singing bamayos (motherly women).

Indeed, the cultural differences are becoming more apparent as I spend more time in both the village and the city. Lines are mostly drawn among gender roles. Also, the manual work load is greater here. Of course, I am living and working in a rural farming community...

2 comments:

  1. Hello Ms. Brandi! I am so excited to finally get into your blog. I am so proud of you and am tickled that you are making inroads to your next journey in life. Your Dad and I pray for you daily and realize that this journey is a life changing event that will only make you stronger and more resilient. I will be working on setting up a new Facebook account for your Dad. We love you more than you know, and think about you all the time! Until next time...be safe!!!

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