Today was a beautiful day. The cold season is starting to (finally) pass, and while the mornings are still bitterly cold, the days are starting to be warm, with little wind and a whole lotta sunlight beating down on us.
Today, too, was a great day because we got to go to Lusaka! We are leaving to go on our second site visit, which for me means to North West Province (more on that later), and so we had to go to the grocery store in Lusaka to get food for the trip, and were given the rest of the day to do with as we liked. So, after buying our groceries and dropping them with the Peace Corps vehicle, Katherine and Casey (the two other Lundas!) and I left to start wandering around the center city area.
I love wandering around cities. Especially new ones. The crowds were new, the street vendors were new, the women walking through the streets balancing giant baskets of bananas and sugarcane on their heads while they avoid the people and weave their way through traffic were new. We found ourselves walking through some back streets, off of the main tarmac area, where we found the used clothing store, DAPP (equivalent to Goodwill, and where we could get five items of clothing for under 30 kwacha/$5), and a giant food market lining the road! Here we couldn’t resist buying some avocados and carrots, and talked to anyone who would listen in Lunda. Most people in Lusaka don’t know any Lunda, but it was still fun to try.
After wandering around the city we found our way to the mall where we pigged out on bacon-hash brown-cheeseburgers, and even cut up one of our avocados on them to make them extra delicious. We got a lot of odd looks from the waiters, but none of them told us to put the avocado away so we just went with it.
So, on Monday morning (early!) we leave for North Western! We (myself, Katherine, Casey, and our language teacher, A Harriet) will visit one of the current PCV’s sites up there for around four days before we head to our individual sites, where we will stay for two days on our own, and then take buses back to Lusaka. Of course, to get to the site we have a ten hour ride followed by a night at the Peace Corps house in Solwezi followed by another few hour ride the next day. And all that reversed to get back from our sites to Lusaka. It’s a bit of a hike.
Now, where am I going? I found out a week ago that I am going to be posted to Minyanya, a small village in North Western Province, around 45 km east of Mwinilunga, my district Boma/main town, and probably 150 km from Solwezi, the Provincial Capital. I am their first health volunteer, though they have had other volunteers in the past, working on education and agriculture projects. I will be living behind the clinic. My host works at the clinic, and will help to show me around the village, and to connect me with all the important people I will need in my life there. They are still working on building my house, but hopefully will finish that soon. I am very close to the tarmac, and also to another school.
It’s all incredibly exciting, getting the chance to see my village, getting the chance to finally travel a bit, getting the chance to meet other volunteers, and to walk around the city by myself and to finally start to glimpse a bit of the independence that has been lacking in our lives here! In one month we will be completing our final language exams, cultural presentations and technical presentations. Just a few days after that I will swear in as a Peace Corps Volunteer. And the day after that I will ride in a cruiser up to the Provincial House in Solwezi, and I will start the process of moving in to a new hut, a new town, a new life. All on my own.