Friday, October 30, 2009
She was completely out of it for several hours after we brought her home in a taxi (the driver asked: "Is she vicious?" as Trevor carried her to the car, her head lolling). We put her on a blanket in the living room. She couldn't even pick up her head, but we could tell she was coming out of the sedative when her tail started thumping on the ground.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
We’ve been trying to get Sophie, the house guard dog, fixed for months, but the vet has been out of the sedative necessary for the operation. We considered taking her to a vet in Lusaka but dismissed this idea after she spazzed and peed herself during her one-minute car ride circa the move, so we asked the visiting medical officer to bring up the medicine when she came this week. (Meanwhile Sophie went into heat and was visited by every stray dog within pheromone distance.)
When Trevor went to set up the appointment and hand over the medicine, the vet told him, “Oh, we don’t need the medicine, we have it.” Apparently they got it a few weeks ago and didn’t think to tell us despite the fact that we have been pestering them for MONTHS and begging them to notify us. This is also the vet who’s afraid to touch dogs, so cross your fingers that Sophie makes it through the next few days.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
We ordered two since we were having company, and it arrived more or less when she said, only in three boxes because she makes them so gigantic they won't fit into regular boxes. Also, they were delivered by her husband who ended up going next door to hang out with... Marco.
Even after being mauled by four hungry, pizza-starved humans, enough remained for breakfast this morning. Bonus!
Monday, October 26, 2009
For example, yesterday we got a package slip from the post office, so I stopped by Mwape's window to pick it up. It turned out the slip was actually a receipt from a package Trevor sent last week, but we did have a package there wasn't a slip for. (It was from my parents, full of magazines, blueberry muffin mix, drink powder, Halloween candy. Woo family!)
Also I've been trying to buy a plane ticket, and when I talked to the travel agent yesterday he said he could book a ticket from Lilongwe to Dar es Salaam, but not the other way around. Huh?!?!?? I mean, you can argue, but laughing is probably saner.
Friday, October 23, 2009
This morning, two ratty little boys started following me the minute I left our gate. "Madam! Madam!" I turned up the music, and after a block or so turned around and told them to go away. They did!
On my loop, I quickly backtracked when I reached the school swarming with kids in uniforms. Then, when I was about to start back down my own road, a pickup carrying about 20 jeering prisoners turned down it just in front of me. This motivated me to do an extra loop around the block in a different direction, and my anger made me run much faster than I would have otherwise. I'm glad for that, I guess.
Still, I'd rather run in anonymity, without company or commentary.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
In my defense, can I explain that (unfortunately) it's my nature to complain, there have been issues back home that have us concerned/preoccupied/preemptively grumpy, and it was Freaking Hot as Hades until two days ago. Also, I was staying up too late reading Twilight. That didn't help. (Even worse, the third and fourth books have gone missing from the PC house, so I'm dying of suspense.)
Things are just ok here. Simon continues to be awesome, Stella (the day guard) braided my hair so cool this afternoon that I'm sad I can't go out and show it off, and apparently broccoli is in season in South Africa because Shoprite had a pile of it, which we bought. Yeah, pretty much all of it. (When you don't see a vegetable for 18 months, you can lose control in the produce aisle.)
Anyway, all this to say that we are doing much better than this blog might have you believe. We even have another vacation soon (climbing Mt. Mulanje in Malawi!). The only thing that would make it better is to hear from you. Where is everybody?
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Suddenly, Zambia feels bearable again.
Traditionally, people say the first rain will fall on Independence Day, which comes Saturday. I'm hoping yesterday's drizzle was just a warmup for a real monsoon this weekend. Of course, the change in weather means everybody is coughing and sneezing again. And crews are coming around to spray some version of DDT (so we hear) in houses to keep down the malarial mosquitos whose population will explode when the rains start for real.
Still, it's cooler.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Sadly, he will not be doing all my work and I will still have to travel, but least he seems like a nice guy, and I'm not the only one who thinks so. Sophie spent all afternoon pressed to his side, nosing his hand for more petting. And unlike many Zambians I've met, Simon was not only not scared of her, he actually scratched her as if he likes dogs. Which makes me think the work could work out just fine.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
My record was perfect until now. Sheesh.
Friday, October 16, 2009
I'm getting another opportunity to research the topic this week. Yesterday I peeled myself out of the Cruiser after an hour-long drive that left my entire back side (shoulders to ankles) soaking wet. (Disgusting, but I do welcome the cooling evaporative effect.) A teacher at the school we were visiting mentioned that it was 39 degrees (C), which didn't seem too nasty until I did a quick calculation on my cell phone and realized that was more than 100 degrees F. People, that is hot.
What made it feel truly miserable was knowing I was heading back to a hotel room with an air-tight mosquito net and no fan. (Cue violin music.)
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Clement and I traveled out with two guys from the forestry office to hold a community meeting in a village that hasn't had a volunteer before. At first a few people gathered with us at the headman's house, but people kept wandering over until we were nearly 100, plus another twenty thousand or so kids. We gave the usual introductory talk about Peace Corps (no money, you have to build them a house, community integration, yadda yadda) and asked if they were still interested in hosting a volunteer.
Several people got up to give little speeches: how thrilled they were to be considered, hosting a foreigner will be a blessing, they are anxious to develop and learn. It was a very John F. Kennedy moment, filled with possibility and hope.
Now, if they will actually build the house like they promised, and if we can find them a volunteer who's decent and hardworking and likes children and doesn't get sick or decide to quit...
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
--playing card games with a 10-year-old who laughs like a windchime; didn't pout too much that she never got to watch Barbie Christmas; and stood in our doorway at 6 am wearing her bikini, goggles, and inflatable water wings, trying to stare us awake
--floating in the clear water beside a beach we had all to ourselves
--exploring a ghost town of a resort that looked like it had been abandoned by Gilligan and The Skipper, and that we also had to ourselves except for the random dude sleeping on the beach and the mini alligator living in a manky little swimming pool
--staying in a quirky old beach house that smelled like antique furniture and featured 40-year-old books in Afrikaans and a caretaker who grilled up the fish a guy on a bike brought by in the morning
--stopping in Lilongwe on the way back to stock up on Carlsburg Stout, good coffee (brand name: Mzuzu!), pretzals, and peanut sauce.
Trevor and I aren't that good at relaxing, and I have never considered myself a Beach Person, but I think we could vacation at Lake Malawi pretty much forever.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Friday, October 9, 2009
And, according to Clement, is delicious.
Also, this morning I saw something that seared itself into my brain for the entire outing. (Naturally, I'm going to share the image with you! Enjoy those cornflakes!) Some kids were throwing rocks at something in a tree. Meanwhile, the littler kid was holding, by its rope-like tail, a rat the length of his arm. It was the size of a cat. It had been living just outside my house.
I couldn't help but stare, and for the rest of the run I wondered about the fate of said rat. Lunch or dinner?
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Anyway, Baldwin wanted Trevor to meet his family so off they went. Our thermometer read 94 degrees when I made the morning coffee, so Trevor got good and cooked, especially on the way back, but he enjoyed some Zambian hospitality and terrified a few babies. Now that he's home, he's feeling especially grateful for the electricity powering our fan and a freezer full of ice cubes.
Besides bike rides, Trevor's big project this week is monitoring a sweet potato that started sprouting in our vegetable basket. It's in a pot of dirt on the dining room table where he's been measuring it twice a day and wants me to keep blog readers updated on its progress. Sadly, I don't know the HTML necessary to chart it out, so you'll just have to believe me when I say that besides finding a warehouse full of broken karaoke microphones, this is the biggest thrill we've had in awhile.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
all morning I got to buy curtain fabric and chat with the guys at
modern bazaar and the post office. And i handed over the keys to the
old house, which was the easiest part of the move so far, since all
the inspecting guy did was check for broken windows, of which there
was one, a number he seemed to be pleasantly surprised by.
The craziest thing today? A big pile of discarded toy boxes outside
the fabric shop led me to a massive and broiling hot third floor
warehouse strewn with tons (literally: a cargo container load) of
reject american toys, selling for 50 pin per 50 kg bag if you pick
your own, 25 if you take your chances. Naturally, Trevor plans to be
there first thing tomorrow.
On a good day, I get to visit a volunteer in the field or have a good chat with somebody at my house over dinner. But on many days, I feel like I'm back in America working for The Man. If I'm going to work for The Man, I want the paycheck, the coffee breaks, the gym membership, the fun lunch dates and the weekends to go with it, you know?
(Through it all, though, I have to say: Thank god for Trevor. Without him, I would have already lost what little sanity I have left.)
Monday, October 5, 2009
Unfortunately, it's not easy when I wake up to a co-worker text at 6:45, well before my first cup of coffee; arrive to find the PC house empty of people but full of dirty dishes, sticky tables, and a guard who needs to get a tooth pulled but can't call the guard company for a replacement or she'll get fired; get interrupted from a to-do list the length of my arm by a plumbing situation; and find out that stray dogs attacked the (in-heat) house dog last night. Among other things.
All I can say is thank god for Trevor. He's taken on the job of trying to get the dog fixed (which we hope to achieve after getting the necessary medicine sent up from Lusaka), along with lots of other little tasks that would make my head explode if I added them to my list. And he reminds me to keep a smile on my face, because dang it, I'm going to prove that I can.
(Am I positive, or just too stubborn to admit he could be right?)
Saturday, October 3, 2009
This morning (Saturday), they went out at 6 to run repeats up a big hill nearby. Sounds fun, huh? Tre came home grinning and with plans to do it again Monday. Meanwhile I was in bed sleeping off having stayed up too late for the third night running finishing Twilight, a book I found surprisingly entertaining given the near complete lack of plot and character development.
One entirely unexpected benefit of being a Peace Corps Volunteer in Africa is that we are really catching up on American pop culture. At home, Trevor and I fraternize near the edge of normal, what with not having cable and Trevor buying most of his music on vinyl at thrift stores. But now! I have opinions about Gray's Anatomy, Akon (though I still don't know how to spell it), Project Runway, and Twilight! Several years out of date, but still.
Also, I really really like the new Wilco album. It's still new, right?
Friday, October 2, 2009
Anyway, we've been trying to figure it out but mostly we're emailing from the phone or the house computer lately, which has cramped our style. Sorry! We still love you. Really.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
number of times someone has gacked in my presence in this country. I
haven't seen this much of other people's body fluids since i taught
pre school, back when i still liked children.
I never made people barf in america, at least that i am aware. What's up?
Also today marks the first time i've been in a truck that killed
something. (Only a guinea hen that is now someone's dinner.) Let's
hope vehicular slaughter does not also become a trend.