Quote

“Some of the very peasants who had most disputed with him over the hay, those whom he had wronged, and those who had wanted to deceive him, those very peasants had bowed cheerfully to him, quite obviously not bearing, and indeed unable to bear, any grudge against him, or any remorse, or any recollection even of having intended to cheat him. All that had been dissolved in the sea of joyous common toil […] Who was the labor for? What would be its fruits? Those were irrelevant and idle questions.

Levin had often admired this kind of life, had often envied the people who lived this kind of life, but today, especially under the impression of what he had seen of the relations between Ivan Parmenov and his young wife, the idea occurred to him clearly for the first time that it depended on himself alone whether or not to change his wearisome, idle, and artificial personal life for the hard-working, pure, and delightful life.”

Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

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My Usual Schedule During Term Break

Now that the school term is over, I’ve been trying to get a move on some personal projects because fire cold season begins in full swing! As much as I’ve loved being at my site consistently these past few months, I’ll unfortunately be out a decent amount coming up, so there’s even more of a time crunch!

I know people usually ask me what I do on the daily, so I’ve attempted to create a daily schedule below! Sometimes I’m super productive and busy; sometimes I’m extremely, unjustifiably lazy. Sometimes I spend all day with people; sometimes I don’t talk to anyone for almost the whole day. It really depends! But I’d say this is fairly accurate.

06:30 – 07:00

Wake up, check my phone for messages, stretch derp around on the internet.

07:00 – 07:30

Get up, let the ducks out, feed them, fetch water for my plants and water them.

07:30 – 08:00

Reading and breakfast time!

08:00 – 10:00

Mulching!

10:00 – 12:00

Free time to do whatever happens to pop up (playing with kids if they come over, harvesting beans, reading, etc.). This is also the time I’d make any work-related phone calls.

12:00 – 13:00

Lunch! I usually sit in my house or under my veranda and (surprise!) either read or derp around on my phone.

13:00 – 15:00

Miscellaneous gardening! One day i re-potted my tree seedling, one day I added manure to my demo field and changed the duck pond water, another day I weeded my flower beds. That kinda stuff.

15:00 – 17:00

This is the prime time for meetings, so I try to get out of my house and socialize! Sometimes the meetings are serious planning meetings, sometimes just hanging out with friends.

17:00 – 18:00

Socializing with the family and bathing!

18:00 – 19:00

Dinner plus podcasts.

19:00 – 21:00

Reading or derping on my phone

21:00 – 06:30

Sleep!

Status

Exciting News!

I’m very excited to announce that (after much patient waiting) my grant is online! My friend and fellow PCV Annikki and I are sending 22 men and women from our respective communities to attend a wonderful 5-day agricultural training in Lusaka at the end of July! Mwinilunga and Ikelenge Districts are some of the most disinvested areas in ZambiExciting a, so this training will make a huge, immediate impact in people’s lives.

Unfortunately, Peace Corps Zambia no longer has the funds to support an agricultural grant, so we will be relying on sponsorships and goodwill from our friends and family back home to make this possible! It costs roughly $450 USD to send each person, which is an unfathomable amount in Zambia. Even a relatively small amount of support could go a long way in making a difference in people’s lives.

I’m going to be posting weekly photos of the people who are attending from both mine and Annikki’s communities, and in the mean time please feel free to like/comment/share! I really appreciate it.

Quote

“Social work didn’t make her happy, though. From one nonprofit to another, from city contracts to federal agencies, she kept running into the same systemic problems. ‘Nonprofits require you to sell your soul to the politicians. You have to fight for money against other agencies.’ She said bitterly. ‘Then I find there’s backstabbing everywhere. And they don’t really care about people. Keeping them poor is their business. As long as they keep them poor, they keep getting more grants and bigger budgets. Then, there are the volunteers. The message implicit in volunteering is, ‘You need me, I’m good. I’m better than you, you have nothing to give.””

Po Bronson interviewing Ana Miyares, What Should I Do with My Life?

Integration is…

  • deciding that, actually, you’ll sit and read outside today.
  • having a three year-old cry because you have to go teach and can’t play right now.
  • learning to give a formal handshake to a passing neighbor on a bike without stoping.
  • sitting with teachers and shooting the breeze without needing to rush home.
  • a “how are you?” text from a friend.
  • making the conscious decision to be present and content in where you are physically and mentally.
Image

Nshindwa!

Zambia has some pretty dope fruit, specifically Northwestern Province and specifically Ikelenge District if I do say so myself (I mean, we’re the land of the pineapples!). But, some of our best fruits aren’t the deliciously sweet pineapples that come around twice a year, or the mouth watering mangoes that pop up at the beginning of rainy season. Oh no, one of the best fruits you probably haven’t heard of: nshindwa.

Other names for nshindwa are “Seed of Heaven” or “Afromum,” and there are several different varieties all over the African continent. They appear right at the end of rainy season (now!) and come from a plant closely related and resembling to ginger, a plant that I use to gauge soil quality due to its love of acidic soil. To give you an idea of what nshindwa tastes like, there’s a part in The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis where two of the main characters plant a piece of toffee in the ground of the still-forming world of Narnia.

The fruit was delicious; not exactly like toffee – softer for one thing, and juicy – but like fruit which reminded one of toffee.

That is how nshindwa tastes, except with ginger instead of toffee! It was a little weird getting used to when I first tried it, because American ginger products do not have the strong flavor of actual ginger. But now I’m obsessed!

Anyways, here’s a step by step instruction on how to eat nshindwa:

Step One: Locate the Nshindwa

Step Two: Grab That Bad Boy Before the Kids See!

Step 3: Bite to Crack the Shell (Peel? IDK, the Outside Part)

Step 4: Bask in the Glory of those Seeds of Heaven

Step 5: Dig In, But Be Classy About It!

Side Note: I normally don’t look like this! This is my gardening look! Zambians normally bathe twice a day and take a lot of pride in their appearance (when they are not in the fields) and while I’m not nearly that hygienic, I do bathe every day, and try to look nice when I’m not puttering around my house!

I’m wearing my gardening clothes and covered in dirt because I’m currently trying to mulch a termite mound around my house (yes, the huge hill behind me in those photos is not even the top level of a termite mound). Termites also like acidic soil, hence the abundance of nshindwa! Below is a picture of me getting ready to bathe. I look super cute.