Highlight Reel: September 2018

Cute and flirty: My friend Sam came to visit me in Ikelenge all the way from Kasempa! For those not up to date on their Zambian geography, Kasempa District is in the heart of the Kaonde region of North-western Province, and it’s a huge pain getting from one region to another (hence why I have never been and probably never will be further into the Kaonde area than Solwezi). We chilled, watched The Princess and the Frog with my host family, and had a picnic at the source of the Zambezi River, which is located in my district but which I have never been to before. What is cuter than that? Nothing.

Something I learned from my community: I went to Chisemwa Cha Lunda at the end of September, which literally translates to “Lunda Culture” and is (you guessed it) a cultural festival for the Lunda tribe held in the Kanong’esha Chiefdom. The festival didn’t go… quite as I’d hoped it would go (aka I missed a lot of the cultural performances, which was the whole reason I went), but still a memorable experience! Lunda and Luvali culture is very rich, vibrant, beautiful, and not appreciated or preserved nearly enough.

Something my community learned from me: I’ve officially launched a new workshop series with a women’s group I work with! It’s very haphazardly modeled after Wangari Maathai’s incredible “Green Belt Movement” in Kenya, although if you know anything about that you’ll know I could never come anywhere close to that. Essentially, I’m going to hold three meetings going over three different cycles (the water cycle, the nitrogen cycle, and the carbon cycle), and through that we’ll go over why trees are vital to those cycles. If a woman has come to two out of the three meetings, she gets x amount of assorted tree seeds from me. Then I check up with those women after three months, and they get 50 ng’wee (think 50 cents) per live seedling in her nursery. We had the first meeting (the water cycle) at the beginning of the month, and I’m hoping to do nitrogen cycle sometime in October! I’m also thinking about offering 1 kwacha (think $1 for reference) per indigenous seedling as an incentive for the women to collect native trees, but I’m not sure yet!

Shower insights: You know how sometimes you just get so used to something that you’re only critical towards it? That was how I was feeling about my service. And then I went and saw the source of the Zambezi, and it just hit me that, you know what? I have lived her for over a year, and there is still so much to discover in this little district. And so much beauty, and it was such a powerful and uplifting realization. Thanks, Zambezi River!

Hero of the month: The women’s group I work with! They have made my service infinitely more rewarding, are always motivated, always show up, and always inspire me.

Villain of the Month: [Redacted]

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