Monday, March 14, 2011


Apologies for the lack of communication on my part. I have been in Chipata now for two weeks and in Zambia for a total of three weeks. I am trying very hard to adjust to the pace of life here. The red tape doesn't bother me as much, as I have experience waiting and waiting and, well, waiting for government agencies to pass papers through in the United States. Here, the wait is a bit longer, but there is a ton of exciting planning work to keep me busy. There's a lot to report and many ups and downs since I first arrived.

As soon as we landed, I was immediately taken by the wonderful Zambian air. We stepped onto the tarmac from British Airways and I could feel this light breeze lifting the hair off the back of my neck. I expected something drier and instead was rewarded with a refreshing, rainy season breathe. I hear in June, the weather gets insanely dry and hoooooot!!

I've met my co-volunteers, mainly from England and we all appear to experience our share of ups and downs. Some handle the frustration better than others and so I try to learn from the cool cucumbers.

Our in-country induction was full of information about gender, working, and in general living in Zambia. During this time, the volunteers were able to meet up with some of their employers from around the country. I was assigned after all to a district called Chipata in the Eastern Province. I work at the Chipata Municipal Council as a Town Planning Advisor. I was one of the lucky ones - my coworkers gave me a short briefing on their general goals for the first six months that I am here. And, I have been working very quickly to assess the town and country planning situation here by reading all the relevant documents. So far, I've worked out some plans to address one of their most pressing problems, which is unplanned settlements, and am now roughly sketching the settlment layout and other amenities. This project, however, is one of many and I expect to provide some details on them later on in the coming months.

I live in a motel. While the accomodations are good because we get running water, a flushing toilet, and a bath, I don't get to cook and try out some of the recipes we have been given. Privacy is also something of the past at the motel. On my first night, I could have sworn I saw two men standing over my bed, but I was a bit ill and couldn't tell if I was dreaming in the middle of the night. I told the desk clerk about this and she said there is only one key. However, in the last two weekends, three other people have managed to enter my room using a magical spare key. Being intruded upon is unnerving, to say the least, and I am now forced to deal with these break-ins more strictly. A little concerned about my personal safety and feeling the stress of getting a very typical response: circumvension and denial.

Until next week . . .

But, keep the funds coming. I will continue to fundraise over the next months. Remember, my goals is to raise a minimum of $2,000.

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