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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.

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This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things 

In response to the neo-nazi demonstrations and subsequent terrorist attack in Charlottesville, Virginia, Peace Corps volunteers spanning across many countries decided to create collages, made up of portraits of us holding signs supporting equality, questioning complacency, and/or condemning racism. This was deliberately done as a “by individual volunteers” action, and didn’t use any “official” Peace Corps tags or criticize any government figures. Purely coming together to denounce hate and ignorance in our world as we work to build peace and understanding globally.

Despite this, Washington deemed the pictures to be too controversial, and they have since been removed from social media as of early September. There were some absolutely great collections from various countries, and it was very disappointing to see them removed. 

So, here was my contribution to the collage. You can decide for yourselves if it’s too controversial *shrugs*

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FamGram

When I studied abroad my junior year, something that really surprised me was how life goes on at home. I’d prepared for me to do things and change and grow, but in some weird way I’d expected everything to stand still and wait for me to come back, which is obviously not how life works.

In order to acknowledge that other people are, in fact, living elsewhere in the world, and to send some shout-outs to the peeps keeping me updated, here are some pics people have sent me of what they’re doing since I’ve been in Zambia!

My friend Niki from France is traveling across South America, and she met up with my dear from Patty in Cartajena! It's a small world.pattysuarez1669 Thank you for introducing us all.. We are remembering you here!!! Cheers!!!!

My friend Briana bringing up college nostalgia with her stuffed cow.bwinga1 Did you know I still have Elmer? Did you know I named him Elmer? Do you even remember this cow?

A picture my friend Elise took of sunrise on New Zealand's South Island.dbf42utk If you become a nudist just remember sunscreen!

My mom has gotten into scuba diving and recently dove off the coast of Florida!phyllisann5256 Yay! Back in my happy place!! 🙃😎Saw an 8 ft nurse shark and a yellow sting ray.

My longtime friend Claire got her first tattoo recently, and went big with an illustrated narwhal (her favorite animal). claireann03 Also… got my narwhal tattoo! On my inner elbow area! So detailed I love it

Martha went to her first Capital Pride this year and ended up in the parade!martha_notstewart My tye dye shoes for pride! 

My sister has been food foraging, and has been finding all kinds of delicious stuff in nature!carissa512 Today’s foraging adventure: black raspberries, summer apples, yarrow, day lilies, wood sorrel, peppergrass, plantain seeds, common mallow, wild carrot leaves, clover flowers

Mana serving up fresh-caught tilapia realness in a fitting room!manadelcielo 💜💙💚💛❤🎉💫👑

My cat, Sylvester, curled up with his godmother and being cute as ever!carissa512 It’s hard to complain when you have a cat that holds your hand when you read! #pretendingthisisanactualmessagefrommycat

My friend Nina and her boyfriend hosted a 4th of July cookout, which my sister and some hometown friends attended.ntaylor_94 I miss you. Hope you’re safe and doing good. ❤

I'd bought my dad a gift card to a Frederick restaurant (Ayse Mez) and he wanted to let me know that he's now a regular!johnniewhoops85 Jalepeno, feta cheese n watermelon….wtf!!

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Neyi munakukeng’a kwikala kajila kami…

… you gotta get with my friends!

In the interest of proving that I’m not, in fact, faking my Peace Corps service for an art project, I figured it would be a good idea to post some pics of the people I interact with on a daily basis.

My Language Class

George

What he did: international relations major, grocer

Fun fact: George was supposed to be an economic development volunteer in Mali, but then ended up in Zambia after the program was pulled.

Anniki

What she did: microbiology major, forest firefighter

Fun fact: Anniki biked the Pacific Crest Trail (from Wild!) from the Canadian border to the Mexican border.

A Golden

What he does: language instructor for Peace Corps! Also a farmer in an amazing conservation farm that, unfortunately, has been seized by eminent domain to build an airport :/

Fun fact: A Golden speaks seven languages and is the nicest guy you’ll ever meet.

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(left to right) Me, A Golden, Annikki, and George

My Host Family

A Pamela

What she does: kicks butt all day every day! If you ask her, she says she does nothing but she: sweeps our courtyard, carries water for the whole family, cooks, farms/gardens, takes care of her kids, runs a store an hour walk from the house, and feeds the plethora of livestock on the compound.

Fun fact: She is supposed to be my host mom, but she’s only 25, so we’re just siblings.

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A Pamela slaying at cultural day

A Emmanuel

What he does: farms maize (corn), soya, cattle, pumpkin, groundnuts (peanuts), and owns two stores

Fun fact: While he doesn’t speak Lunda, he tries really hard to use it whenever possible, and makes fun of me when I cave and greet people in Bemba on the street.

A Emmanuel and I

A Dorothy

What she does: grade 12 at the girls’ school in Chipembi, little sister of of A Pamela.

Fun fact: She’s an amazing singer!

A Mary

What she does: grade 12 at the girls’ school in Chipembi

Fun fact: She’s a terrible liar, as proven when I taught her and Dorothy how to play BS

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Dorothy (left) and Mary (right)

A Beauty

What she does: grade 4 (?) in primary school.

Fun fact: Whenever I say hi she giggles and runs off, so an enigma. Sometimes throws corn cobs at my butt.

[need to get photo of Beauty from George]

A Stanley

What he does: rolls a barrel up and down the hill in our compound, dances to music, throws temper tantrums.

Fun fact: probably my best friend out of Zambians I’ve met, because kids are so easy to make friends with! You like rolling barrels up a hill? Cool, let’s roll barrels up the hill. If you are tall enough to pick him up to grab pods off seeds, you’re in.

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A poorly timed picture of our neighbor Patrick (left) and Stan (right)

Chamuka Dogs

Spot (aka Whiny Wendy)

What she does: bullies the other dogs into giving her their food, whines a lot.

Fun fact: Wendy had puppies! She had a litter of 6 but we’re down to 4 😦

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Wendy and her litter

Spot (aka Spot)

What she does: knows that she’s the cutest one and milks it as much as possible

Fun fact: She also had puppies! All three still kicking it!

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What a bae ❤

Spot (aka Skinny)

What she does: fails to grab scabs in time, somehow has tons of energy

Fun fact: She survived a snake bite, or some other form of poisonous assured death! We thought she was a goner but she is still running around!

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Skinny with her face all janked up

Really Cool Peeps I Also Happen to Have Photos Of

Maddie

What she did/does: Getting her masters in food studies, worked at a co-op!

Fun fact(s): Is an amazing storyteller, studied acrobatics in Australia (what???), geniunely awesome in every way.

Maddie loves to make goofy faces in pictures.

Maddie and I one day into Zambia

Sam

What he did: Engineering major, forest firefighter (strange number of forest firefighters in my life now).

Fun fact: He thinks that Sauron is the true hero of Lord of the Rings and thinks Gollum gave the ring a bad rap.

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Sam on a bike ride, also blinking.

Everyone Else 

They’re cool too, but I don’t take pictures very often and am already tired of writing fun facts