Friday, July 20, 2012


Greetings from the Republic of Zambia!

All 68 of us have arrived safely in country. My bags arrived safe as well and untampered with, though most of my sunscreen exploded. Only one person did not get one of their bags. Not bad for the trip they have gone through.

We are staying at a hotel for now. Me and my roommate, Tom, share one room with two beds w/ mosquito nets and a bathroom. We will be here till Monday morning, when we will go to our first site visit. First site visit is when we 3-5 of us go to a current volunteers site for 3 days to see what they do, how they live, etc. Then we will officially begin training in Chongwe, get set up with our host families, divided into language training groups, and start living like we will live for the next 2 years.

Food here hasn't been as bad as I was expecting. I think they are going easy on us for now. Lunch yesterday was chicken and ox tail with shima (cornmeal porridge, tastes like grits), vegetables, and salad. There has always been sprite and fanta to drink.

It's funny, months ago I was dreaming about what it was going to feel like to be here right now, and I could only imagine it would be too surreal to take in. In fact, it doesn't feel much different than where we were. It is winter here, so last night it got down to about 40 F (but we all slept like babies, it had been something like 3 days since I had a decent night sleep). This morning it's dry and sunny, it feels great. No mosquitoes yet!

As it turned out, it was the last few days in the states that was more dreamlike. I had prepared for months to make this trip, stressed out about packing and how hard things were going to be like here. I never imagined the hours before takeoff were going to be the toughest times ahead of me. Once we got on the plane, everything got better. I have to say, if we had not had a day to meet with all the other volunteers, I would have had a much more difficult time. Just knowing that there are 67 other people who are going through the exact same thing, plus over 200 other volunteers already in country who have done it before made it much less stressful.

I apologize for no pictures yet. The internet here is incredibly slow and we will be turning in our computers and other valuables in the next hour to be put in a safe in Lusaka for the duration of our training. This will most likely be the last update for the next couple months. Internet and free time will be a thing of the past for us. We already have a schedule for the next week all laid out for us, and I'm willing to bet every minute is already scheduled for us for the next 3 months.

So, hold tight, I promise I'll have good pictures eventually.

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