Sunday, March 15, 2009

hello from zambia

I have been in Zambia for about 3 weeks now. In a couple more weeks I will go and visit the volunteer I will be replacing and get the first chance to see the village where I’ll be living once I finish training. It will be somewhere in Eastern Province which borders Mozambique and Malawi. We have already visited a volunteer at their site and it was by far the best part of training. I visited a volunteer who as living in Northern Province, which is mountainous and even greener and more lush than the rest of Zambia. The rainy season is just drawing to a close and there are rainstorms every couple of days and most nights there are thunderstorms on the horizon. The view from the stoop of my hut, or Nyumba, is across a broad river valley with rolling hills dotted with corn, peanut and banana tree fields. A vast majority of rural Zambians are subsistence farmers including the family I’m staying with. Patrick and Nora Kababa are peanut farmers and goat herders. There is a rotating cast of children and grandchildren living with them. The main food, nshima, is a thick corn porridge which they serve in fist sized lumps. Its pretty similar to polenta (thicker than grits). The correct way to eat is to make a ball of nshima in your hand and use that to scoop up a bite of the meat or vegetable dishes that they call relishes. I knew I was doing an okay job integrating into the family when in the middle of dinner, which we eat inside in my hut (but only because they are afraid I’ll get malaria, otherwise they would eat outside), Patrick, who was sitting next to me, yelled my name out the door, then said in Nyanja, “Oh wait,” and called for his son Boston.
I finally got a phone so I’ll be able to have internet, texting and calling access now. Call and texts to me are free for me so if you can find a way to call me cheaply, maybe skype or a calling card, I would love to hear from everybody. Internet access is also really cheap for me so I’ll be able to check facebook and gmail (haha and the onion) much more regularly. The number to call my from the states is 011260976665373.
I should have a chance to get to a computer again in couple of weeks after I get back from visiting my future village so I’ll try to get another post, this time with pictures, up then.
Take care everybody.


  1. How wonderful to hear from you! Great news about the phone. After you finish with the Onion you must also check The Daily Show/John Stewart's shows from last week. Or maybe not. Is it better to just live the life you have there? The cardboard cut out helps but we still miss you. Garrison Keillor's joke show wasn't as funny without your infectious laugh accompaniment. It is so comforting to me to think you with Patrick and Nora and their community full of life. Tell us more about that when you have a chance. All my love, Mom

  2. Hi, Kevin - I am sop gald that your bout with malaria was relatively brief! I am glad for your mom, too! I am looking forward to your adventures with excitement and pride.
    Love, Kathleen

  3. We all miss you very much Kevin!!!! Hope you're starting to get the letters I sent via extremely snail mail:)

  4. You have malaria?? How does everyone know this? Blog it! Also upload photos! I'll try to call your phone via skype from singapore. (the!)

  5. Today we learned the mechanism behind fainting goats. As we watched the video I thought, 'Kevin would love this.' You are missed! Love hearing about your travels, stay safe friend!