May, June, and July in Ikelenge District. You call it Summer, I call it Cold Season.
Gotta love your Disney knockoff merchandise.
My host father and mother met in Eastern Province when he was working and she was a student. Her parents objected to them getting married because they wanted her to go to college, but he said he’d pay for her schooling if he got their blessing, and sure enough he did.
My house was a ka bit small for Peace Corps standards, so I lived in my host family’s house until the renovations were finished. Here’s what it looked like when I first moved to my site.
While trying to identify trees in my host family’s fields, I came across this rad wasp nest! Also this tree is great for bee forage.
Look out from my host mom’s cassava fields towards the village.
I went to an agricultural show pretty early on in my service. Ikelenge is a baby BOMA, so it was much smaller than other places. Think the craft and crop display sections of your county fair in the states. BUT, I got my first taste of that cold season wind with a dust devil, which I only photographed the tail end of.
My first moment in my finished house! I don’t think I’ve ever felt more calm or drained in all my service.
My bedroom! I absolutely love my bed and my mosquito net; I feel like I’m in a fort.
My sitting room. Organization is still a work in progress, but this is where the magic happens (by magic I mean me pacing disconcertingly around in circles).
My storage room, aka “The Basement.” This would have been part of the bedroom after extending the house, but they kept it separate and lower, which is fine by me. Fun fact: the basement floor was constantly wet for about a week, which I took as it being, well, a “basement.” Turns out, my potatoes had been crushed, rotted and were seeping out on the floor. Long story short, I ended up accidentally flooding the basement with soapy water.
Documentation of my first brazier fire, courtesy of me not buying fire starter and going the old fashioned way (thanks Mom and Dad for making me start the wood stove as a kid).
When your province has a prohibition costume party, but the costumes you design are of a Depression era railroad hobo and a suffraget!
Burning is synonymous with dry season, and if you ask anyone as to why you’ll get a different answer every time. Pictured is my cooking shelter and chim! Beautiful, a bit scary, sad, and fascinating.
Mites, man.. they got into my pigeon pea and I spent a whole day individually inspecting each seed before remembering I could have just put them in water to see which ones floated.
Scoopy (my host dad’s dog who illogically acts like a house dog) meeting Mwenzi (the kitten my host dad and I share custody of).
My compost pile. Please note that this is NOT how a compost pile should look! For a good compost example, check out my friend Maddie’s blog! For living in one of the driest areas of the country, she sure found a heck of a lot more greens than I did!
My PCV neighbor Sid’s agriculture workshop, with the community members listening to some district agricultural officers. Jaqs pictured to the right being super serious.
Mwenzi (my scraggly alley cat) and Mr. Business (my barn cat) pretending to be cute, but really having just pooped in my backpack. They cute, though.
My first gardening success! Wusi, also known as hibiscus, is eaten as a leafy green here, but can also be harvested for herbal tea if grown to maturity. Unfortunately, the chickens got to this guy. Still like chickens, but not a fan of them in my flower beds.
These little girls came over and we had a BLAST. We learned “heads, shoulders, knees, and toes,” the alphabet song (and ATTEMPTED ASL accompaniment), and then colored.
When coloring turns into a chalk makeup party, and then the chalk makeup party turns into a chalk fight!
Taken at the natural spring I get my drinking water from, with the path back to my house just there. My favorite place in the village.
When a thatch bundle literally snaps your bike rack and flattens your tire, but your neighbor carries it on his shoulder for over 2 kilometers without stopping. I can’t manage.
This is the real deal, y’all. mateta (eggs), sombe (cassava leaves), na nshima ya makamba (cassava nshima). If you’re not eating nshima ya makamba, you’re not eating nshima.
I made fun of Jaqs for taking a BOMA pic and only getting one recently demolished store in it, and then the wide shot makes everything look tiny except for what? Freaking Bush Baby. The big building in the back is the fish/vegetable market, and just beyond is the bus stop, the restaurant I like, and the bakery!
I realized while getting work done that I should take a photo of my house beforehand! So here it is. Home sweet home.
My cooking shelter and chim again, but less fire.
Sometimes shitty days ignite your productivity, and in this case I finally leveled the ground for my future duck house.
The sunset over my compound’s pineapple fields.
One of my neighbors invited me to visit his garden the week before I left for a meeting in Lusaka. Most field visits are pretty short because people are busy, but he put me to work! Not only that, but this garden is absolutely stunning; I learned so much and hope he invites me back again!