Sunday, May 4, 2008

I'm Off To My Village

So I’m still here in Chipata at the Peace Corps’ Eastern Provincial house, because my house still hasn’t been finished. The deal with the houses is this: Peace Corps finds a village willing to take in a volunteer, but since each volunteer works with many other villages in the area, PC doesn’t want the houses and latrines and bathing shelters and insakas/mphalas (the open-walled grass-roofed structures) to be built by just the one village that the volunteer lives in but by several other nearby villages. Anyways the villages responsible for building my roof and latrine apparently just hadn’t gotten around to doing anything, so therefore I have a house with no roof and no latrine whatsoever (other than a big hole in the ground with logs over much of it). At least, as of a few days ago, they have started on the roof; the support beams are up. Hopefully by now they’ve started on the latrine too…

Though it might seem strange, village life (to me anyways) is actually better than city life here in Zambia. Sure, in the cities there is electricity and running water, but both can go out at any given time. This is true all over Africa, apparently. A few days ago we spent the entire day with no power AND no water. That means we couldn’t use the toilet (for #2 anyways), we couldn’t wash the dishes, we couldn’t take a shower, we couldn’t use the stove, and the refrigerator became useless. In the villages when you need water you just go down to the borehole or well; when the water goes off here, we all hope that somebody remembered to fill up the water containers while it was still on, or we’re screwed… I guess it’s mostly a matter of not being disappointed about the power and water going out when you’re living in a village. The good thing is that, so far anyways, they both come back on and stay on during the night, so I’ve been able to watch movies, which is awesome!

Tomorrow however, I will finally be posted. After hanging out here at the house for over a week, I’m ready and looking forward to the real Peace Corps experience!

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