~ Everything Starts As Somebody's Daydream
After several months of preperation, we are finally up and running on the Peace Corps website to take donations for our clinic project!!!! I have updated the link to the left of this page... it will take you to the PeaceCorps Partnership Project page for Zambia. Just scroll down until you see my name and you can click on the project for a complete summary of what were doing. There are two different clinic projects, so please be sure to pick the project with my name next to it.
The community and I are busy at work preparing for the "ground breaking" on our clinic project. However, we will not receive any of the funds until we have reached our fundraising goal in full. So this is your chance to help. It will literally be the difference between life and death for the villagers. The area I live in sadly holds the highest maternal death rate in the district due to the distance to the clinic. When our clinic is completed, the journey for health care will be cut to mere kilometers for some, and nearly in half for others. It's a project that will increase the quality of life for everyone in the community. Both the Chief and Chieftainess in the area are supporting our project, and are helping to mobilize the community to contribute their 25% to the project.
This project is certainly not mine though. It belongs to the villagers, and to you; because without your help,this clinic will never become a reality. Help does not always need to come in the form of a monitary donation,we know that making a donation is not always possible, but even telling the people you know about our project willmake all the difference in the world.
It's nearly impossible to explain the extent of suffering and death in the rural village setting, but it's there,and it's real; I see it everyday. The people you are helping are not people you know, but they are my friendsand family in the village. They are people who take care of, and have accepted me into their lives, culture andhomes with open arms. They are as much a part of my life as I am to you.
Our clinic cannot become a reality without your help. Please consider making a donation or telling your friendsand family about our project.
West side Story... Village Style
Last week the girls who fequent my house to play decided that we should have a "girls day". So we sent all the boys home and spent the afternoon cooking, coloring and playing games in my yard. Clearly, the boys were just toocurious about what "us girls" were doing all afternoon, so they would stand on the road "planning their attack",only to be chased and out run by the girls.
By 15:00 it just seemed like too much for the boys to take, and they returned with rocks and sticks, planning to fight their way back into my yard. What they had not expected was that the girls in my yard had an equally strong feeling that they boys should leave them alone. They were met by a "gang" of girls on the road in front of my house... and they too had rocks and sticks... ready to defend their "girls afternoon" with me. It was quite interestingto watch, and all in good fun, so I didn't interfere and let things run their course.
One by one, a girl and a boy would meet in the middle of the "battle field" with their respected rock or stick andthrow friendly insults back and forth at one another. Then at the same time, each would feel embarassed and runback to his/her friends and laugh. Then they would send out another from their team and repeat the process.
(insert background music here... "when you're a Jet you're a Jet all the way...")
Eventually, the girls grew tired of the boys and simply decided to chase them away. I can never be sure just howfar the girls chased the boys, but they returned after about 20 minutes stating that the boys would be leaving usalone from now on, and that we could get back to the "Kabuta Girls Jump Rope Tournament... 2008", which I did not win.
Termites 2... Lea 0...
When I first moved into my hut, the decor consisted of hard mud floors and mud bricks baked in the sun and held together by... you got it... more mud. During my stay in Kabuta, I've made quite a few changes to my house, cementing the floors and painting the walls etc. we even put on a whole new roof because the termites had eaten through the old one. Everything was falling into place, and my house was pretty cute for being a mud hut.
Apparently, the termites were not quite as taken with the home improvement choices I had made and decided to come out by the thousands to prove a point and to make their own "home improvments". The termites decided that thebest place to begin their own home improvements was from the ground up. For months, they silently ate their way through the foundation of my house, and up through the walls. I clearly had no idea that they were there, wagingwar day and night... until last week.
I was on my way to a meeting with Traditional Healers and busy going through the usual routine of shutting all the windows in my house. All of the sudden, the floor in my bedroom simply gave out, and I went crashing through thecement, which had just been neatly polished the day before. so there I was, thigh deep in a hole in the ground.
May I just note, that this incident happened right after a return visit to Americaland... home of good food and,for me, little exercise. Immediately, my first thought was... "oh shoot, I shouldn't have had that extra desert just before getting on the plane to come back". Then I just stood, in the hole in my floor, simply too embarassedto move for a moment... I mean, how could I explain to people with little to no embarassement that I had justbroken through my cement floor!?!?!?
Then it dawned on me... termites!! I hopped out of the hole faster than village children can devour a Flinstone'svitamin (which is the new favorite "sweetie"). After a few moments I worked up the courage to look back down intothe hole in which I had just been standing in; and there they were, in all their glory... thousands of termitesenjoying their afternoon lunch... which consisted of the foundation of my house. To this day, I swear I saw onesmiling at me!
Crashing through the floor was the termites second revenge... they also decided to send their extended familyover into my toilet, which my neighbor Ba Charity had stepped through just the day before!!! And really, if Ihad to pick a floor to fall through, I would have choosen the bedroom floor any day over the toilet floor!!
There haven't been any falling thorugh the floor incidents since then, but I did notice a hollow sound near thefront door of my house... leading me to believe that if I don't watch my step inside, I could very well go crashing through the cement once again. Only this time, I'll know that it's because of the termites, and not that extra piece of cake I had last month!