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06 May 2008 @ 04:08 pm

So, let me start off with a little story. I was sitting in the volunteer lounge at headquarters here in Lusaka yesterday when this loud, energetic guy walked in and was just running his mouth like crazy. I was in my usual doom and gloom mood and was totally put off by his incessant talking and at an obnoxiously loud tone. Sometime thereafter, I left and went to the cashier's office to get some per diem money Peace Corps. owed me. While I was there, mr. loudmouth showed up. He was just blabbering about this and that until he finally asked me, "where are you staying in Lusaka?" and I replied "Mogal Guest House" and he quickly asked if he could "crash" in my room, "even if it meant sleeping on the floor". Well, anywhere else this would be entirely inappropriate, but in Peace Corps. and among volunteers, this is commonplace. So, I agreed even though my nerves were as frazzeled as ever. Soon Charlene called and I whined to her about how annoying my night was going to be. That some boy was bunking in my room and I was not looking forward to it. 

Well, we eventually left the Peace Corps. office and headed back to the hotel. On the way, he asked about my decision to go home and I kinda shrugged him off, not feeling like telling obnox-o about my deal. However, by the time we reached the hotel, which isn't far, I started liking this guy. He is almost done with his service and is going home to get married to a woman he has been dating for years and he is just a lot to handle when your emotions are hanging out there. After I was able to relax and chill out with him, we had some decent conversation. It wasn't long before we were eating Chinese food and talking about my departure. He agreed with my decision and "respected" me for doing what makes me happy. He, like many others here have said, that they know many volunteers that just stay here, miserable just because they don't want to go home and tell their parents that it just wasn't for them. He even said at one point that if his service started off the way mine did, he would not have been sitting there with me. Which was all nice to hear from someone who is finishing up their service. It was just a very reassuring night. My room had two beds in it, so all worked out fine when it came time to go to bed. He and I watched movies and he left early this morning. 

It was definitely like no other experience I've ever had because things like that just don't happen in the States. People you just meet don't just ask to crash in your hotel room and certainly not someone of the opposite sex. But, it was a wonderfully perfect relief of thoughts. So much of my past few days have been entirely in my head. I have not taken any kind of break from my BIG DECISION. But, talking to him was like I was sitting in America with an old friend that was completely supportive. It was good.

THEN! This morning, I walk into the Peace Corps lounge to find my favorite married couple, Laura and Rob. This is the couple I stayed with just before I was sent back to the States for my medical issue. Laura was having flu-like symptoms so they came into Lusaka to see a Dr. So, today I spent all day with them. They too, were entirely supportive of my decision and were glad to see me one last time before I left. We exchanged addresses, we went to lunch, did some shopping and even met up with my host sister! 

Now, I am going to get one last paper signed and go have 2 for 1 pizza at Pizza Inn down the road with Laura and Rob. 

I will see everyone soon! Well, I get back into Tampa on Thursday night... Don't expect me to emerge until after the weekend. A 24+ hour flight process is going to jet lag me like CRAZY. Miss you guys, though. 

Peace.

 
 
Current Location: Lusaka
 
 
05 May 2008 @ 05:06 pm

It has been the longest week ever, but finally, everything is starting to look up. This morning I met with the Director to talk about the final stages of me leaving Peace Corps. All day was spent running around PC with papers to sign and medical documents to verify. It was hectic until I realized I am not leaving until Wednesday. So, tomorrow is a day of waiting and some signing. It's a big job leaving a government organization, but overall, everyone is very supportive here and just want what's best for me.

I have an itinerary leaving Zambia on Wednesday afternoon at 1pm. I make various stops and layovers in Johannesburg, South Africa (7.5hr layover), then Amsterdam (4hr layover)  and then Memphis, TN (3hr layover). I finally arrive in Tampa on Thursday at 10:21pm. What a loooong couple of days, but I need to be home, so I am willing to do that. That is the plan. I am ready to make my way back to the other side of the world.

Thank you Connie for the nice comment. I am feeling a lot better about my decision. Big decisions are never easy to make, but after a lot of talking it out and thinking about it, I feel assured that I am making the right one. 

OK, guys. I will see you soon!

 
 
03 May 2008 @ 02:47 pm

I have been in Chalimbana with my trainers only for the past week trying to wrap up three weeks of training in one week. It was miserable. I had a lot of time with my thoughts and that was probably the worst thing for me. I had no one to converse with or relate to since I was only there with my trainers (they were trying to be professional). My fellow trainees have long since been sworn in and posted about the country. My days usually went like this: I would have 4 hours of language class each day and about 2 hours of technical training (public health class). I would be busy for those few hours and after, the trainers would scatter and I would be left to study or sit and stare at the wall, which ever I prefered. Most days I studied and then cried. It was terrible. I just kept telling myself, "get through today and tomorrow will be better," in hopes of making it through the week.

Well, I made it. I passed my language test (barely) and my technical test (100%), and I am back in Lusaka. I still feel pretty crappy. Being alone in a foreign country with no one to relate/talk to is probably one of the worst things I have been through. I am not sure what the next step is...

I sat down with my Program and Training Officer (the woman in charge currently of Peace Corps. Zambia) and expressed my concerns. I told her that I feel totally isolated, underprepared, anxiety filled and uneasy about going to my permanent site. This is a stark contrast to what I felt during my first two months in Zambia. The reason I feel this way is simply because I missed 3 weeks of training. Thereby, I missed 3 weeks of developing a support network here in Zambia with all my fellow trainnees, countless hours of information/education and the sense of desire to be posted. I feel lost at this point and no where near ready to be posted in a site miles and miles from anyone else that I can talk to, and relate to. She completely understood and tried to empathize with me. Although she had never been presented with this situation before, since no one in Zambia has ever been medevac'd to the States. She ultimately left it up to me. She said I need to be posted by Tuesday, I promptly started crying out of fear and she said maybe Wednesday, but we can't postpone it forever, understandably. She set up a counselor session for Monday, since I approached her office looking like a basketcase, crying uncontrollably. I think she understood when I said that I fear that maybe I have lost the chance. That timing is everything and this might not be my time anymore. She said that maybe I would be better off going to America and being with a familiar support network after all of this. I dunno.

Nonetheless, tomorrow, out of pitty I am sure, she is taking me to a shopping mall and to perhaps see a movie. This is all on her day off and out of the kindness of her heart. I am taking it, because sitting in my hotel room all day tomorrow sounds like hell.

So, that's the deal. There is a chance that things might not work out here and I am becoming OK with that idea. BUT I am still trying to decide if that is what I want or not. I feel like perhaps my ship has passed here and staying might only cause further emotional trauma until I decide that I can't handle it for sure. I just can hardly bear anything at this point. I feel so isolated, out of touch, out of place and uncomfortable. Saying these things here seem cold and disconnected, but it is really a nice release to just let it out. I am not sure what is going to transpire over the next few days, but Monday is the day of decision, I suppose.

Hope this does not come as a disappointment to anyone, but it is the true, honest reality that I am facing. I need to be happy and right now that seems like a distant emotion. Call me only if you want to hear it all again in supreme emotion.


 
 
30 April 2008 @ 01:18 pm
Got it worked out. Now i can get internet on my phone. Get excited!
 
 
30 April 2008 @ 12:58 pm

the past couple of days have been anything but smooth. i have been devoid of sleep, alone, and in classes (one on one) all day long. it has not been an easy transition. which at first, was disappointing. i guess i forgot how difficult it was to move here in the first place. my first little bit here in zambia, before i was sent back to the u.s.a. was kind of nerve wracking, but after some time, it becomes "home". well, leaving "home" and coming back to it does not necessarily mean adjustment will be second-nature. especially, when some of the things that made "home", "home" have been removed. for example, all my friends are now posted at their permanent sites meaning, the facility where my training is being carried out, is barren. also, i am not living with my host family, because it was just too difficult to arrange. but i did see my host mom yesterday and it was a joyus reunion. -i'm going to her house tomorrow after training to see everyone else--aka frankie  :)

anyhow, i have started to adjust. last night i slept for the first time since i've been here. it consisted of weird dreams of me and mom going to have pizza and then me waking up under a mosquito net and realizing it was just a dream. but, it was sleep and i can't complain. jet lag is awful, bottom line.

i also got a shower today which was marvelous. the facility i'm staying at has showers, yes, but they do not work properly. so, instead there is a small spicket that drizzles out cold water very close to the floor. not the best way to clean a 5'9 body. oh, well. 

i am told that monday i will be swore in, and that tuesday i will hopefully be taken shopping to buy all my household goods. this is my goal now. to get to a place that i can situate the way i want it, meet some steady people, and start WORKING! i  never thought of myself as a scheduled type of person, but here, it seems to give me peace of mind. it's just nice to know what you are going to do that day when you wake up and where you are going to sleep that night when it's time for bed. i dunno, it seems dreadful to me otherwise, but here, it works.

i got a handful of letters too! and a great postcard from aunt marie! i love it! my trainer handed it to me and was astonished at my long hair. he didn't even know it was me. note: her postcard was a pic of me and melissa at our 21st birthday party. as for the letters, i was totally stoked about them too. everyone who said they wrote me a letter can rest assured, they are here. one from cassandra, daddy, joann, and mom. so, i was glad to have those. 

also, i am going to go get my cell phone reconfigured today, i hope. if i do, i will be able to access internet from my phone like i did before. (right now i'm at the lounge in headquarters, lusaka). let's hope i get it worked out. sometimes things that are scheduled to do, don't get done here in zambia. you can't be mad, just know, it will get done sometime.

ok, that's all for now. miss you all. 

peace.

 
 
Current Location: lusaka
Current Mood: hungryhungry
 
 
28 April 2008 @ 03:05 pm
now i know where i'll be for the next little bit. they are sending me to FTI, which is a training institute that i went to on thursdays and fridays before i sent back to the states. there is still one language trainer staying there in the hostels and one technical trainer. therefore, i will go stay in those same hostels and be trained by those two trainers. if i can prove that i have caught up, i can be sent to my permanent site as soon as sunday -this upcoming sunday. i am thinking that i will be ok to go on to my permanent site by then. that means three weeks of training in one week. which is fine. i just want to get on with it. sitting around and waiting for bureaucracy to decide my fate is not something i enjoy doing for any length of time. so, they have spoken and i will follow. it's time.

as for my cell phone, i am still having trouble setting the internet up on it. i am thinking i might have bought a bad phone which is terrible considering i am not sure where that shop was that i bought it at. however, i can receive calls as far as i know. i am sending and receiving text messages in-country, but haven't received any calls either from in-country or stateside, so i am not sure if that is working. give it a try... i could use a familiar voice.

peace.
 
 
28 April 2008 @ 12:33 pm
so, i'm here officially, still not sleeping, and not really sure what their plans are for me. i was told to go hang out in the volunteer's lounge at headquarters and wait for further instruction. i arrived here and was told that at 8:45am. it is not 12:34pm. i'm tired of waiting to say the least. i was however, surprised by some boxes! i got one from mom, one from dad, one from connie miller and one from charlene. how wonderful! i only opened daddy's and everything seemed to be intact. looooots of goodies! after opening his, i decided opening them would only create a mess, so i am leaving the others to open when i get posted. besides, it leaves me something to look forward to. that is if i can indeed, wait. we'll see.

other news: i got a new cell phone. the new number is 0976935620. call me if you want. i am currently not experiencing anything to do. also, my internet is not working on my phone as of now (i'm on a computer in the volunteer lounge) ok, no more complaining. 

i guess that is all for now. hopefully, i will update with news on what i am to do next, soon. i hope so. 

later.
 
 
27 April 2008 @ 08:50 am

I am here! The flight was not so bad. I read my new book I bought with Melissa almost the whole time and all was well. I am going to buy a new cell phone today sometime, as well as go to a water park. Weird huh?  A water park in Lusaka. There's a few volunteers here that are taking me around today, so I am going there with them.

Anyway, sleep was terrible last night, as I was all amped up from my flight and a little weirded out by the fact that I was back in Zambia. It's really strange to be shuffled around INTERNATIONALLY. Let me tell you. So, after lying in bed for a few hours, I slept from 2am to 7am. That was all I had in me. But, I'm not complaining. I am back. It's just going to be another adjustment, but hopefully after adjusting this time, I will be here for a substantial amount of time... 2 years, ahem. OK I am done for now. 

Just know I am well and I will hopefully be posting a new cell number in a few hours... maybe. 

Later.

 
 
Current Mood: hopefulhopeful
 
 
25 April 2008 @ 12:22 pm
here's the link to my photos... all of them...

http://s41.photobucket.com/albums/e294/KJarmon/zambia/?albumview=slideshow&mediafilter=images

also, just so everyone knows, i talked to someone in zambia about my return. there will be driver waiting for me in lusaka when i land. i will spend the night in a hotel in lusaka both saturday and sunday night. sunday is my "jet lag" day whereby i just sit around and recover from my half day flight and then monday, we get to business discussing how i will finish my training. so, no worries. i will be taken care of. now, to finish packing...
 
 
Current Location: D.C.
Current Mood: busy
 
 
24 April 2008 @ 10:23 pm
Today was my final follow-up with my neurologist in D.C. We sat down, discussed my normal MRI/MRA findings and decided I can and SHOULD go back to Zambia! He also said that he thought perhaps my malaria prophylaxis might be causing the frequency of my headaches, but that the fact that I get them was totally an unknown cause. Point being: I am getting these headache irregardless of my malaria prophylaxis, but the malaria meds might make them occur more frequently. Solution: take Indomethacin before exercising. I can't stop taking my malaria meds, so I have to take a proactive approach. So, folks, I AM FINALLY BLOWING THIS POPCICLE STAND!

I leave tomorrow at 5:40pm. I am debating on whether or not I should stay up tonight packing and splurge one last time on a movie and go see "Baby Mama". Now, don't make fun... it looks funny. Stupid, funny, but funny nonetheless. It would be a cold day in hell before that movie ever played in Christian Zambia, so I am sincerely thinking of jumping in on this one last opportunity to be as American as I can be and watch a totally mind-numbingly hilarious movie.

OK, for all the questions  people keep asking me... Will I go straight into training once I get to Zambia and if so, how will they run training for one person? Answer: I have no idea. I have not spoken with my Country Director (the head of the Peace Corps in Zambia) since I've been here. Next question is, What is my address going to be once I get there? Answer: I have no idea. I will get an address once I get posted at my permanent site. The soonest that will most likely be, once again, I have yet to speak to my CD in Zambia, in 3 weeks. Once I get an address, I will post it on here, for sure. Last question is, will my phone number be the same when I return? Answer: No. It would have been the same if I hadn't lost my Zambian cell phone in the Lusaka International Airport when I was leaving to come to D.C. I know, I know, I lose EVERYTHING. Therefore, why be surprised that I lost that. Hopefully, however, unlike my address, I will get a new phone within the first few days of returning to Zambia. As soon as I get one, I will post my new number on here. Dialing will be the same, obviously, but I will have a new number, obviously, again.

I think I have fully updated everyone. Now, I must finish my laundry, pack a little, and try to digest the Ethiopian food I ate tonight that is stirring in my belly as I type. (It was delicious anyway.) Oh, and I tried to upload a pic on here, but it didn't work. Sorry. Let's see if these links work though...

[IMG]http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e294/KJarmon/zambia/123.jpg[/IMG]
[IMG]http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e294/KJarmon/zambia/035.jpg[/IMG]
 
 
Current Location: DC
Current Mood: anxiousanxious
Current Music: watching rock the cradle aka trash tv