Birthdays and Independence Day

This week was an astonishing one. Sunday began with disappointment as people never arrived to meetings but I let it go when I drove my built up motivation and actions to make a hand washing place for my family and for the clinic. I worked from the morning till nightfall only to have to fetch water at the end. I was exhausted but I didn’t stop the next day. All this pent up energy was being fueled into the next day and I built a stove top for my braziers and an ash collector with my name Mapalo written in cement. I also made a higher rack I can walk under so I can put my solar up higher and not get caught in wires every time I want to go to the backyard.

And in an effort to finish cementing my walls, every night I haul sand with Violet to make a large pile to begin cementing next week.

I will be doing that every evening!

On Wednesday, I will go to the clinic and meet with people but it will be an easy day hopefully. I just have to wait till Thursday which is the off day I give myself. Only me and my bedroom and a stack of books and 113 on my Kindle and music, music, secret dance sessions and some fried foods.

Thursday was Asha’s birthday.



We started with games and we played until noon. Continuously it grew tired but we’d wake up and start running again. It was nice to hear her smiling and loud giggles when only weeks ago she feared anyone. But me. I am now her aunty and even when here is no one to console her, I can call her over and quiet her. My host mom and dad don’t tell me I’m raising her wrong or say I should do it this way or that Asha is like that. They want me to get to know her and when she runs, they support the effort to bring us closer. I know when parents try and say things to justify when their kids are not being responsive to me but these people are different. Asha, this is your aunty. Go and greet her.

When I come to see the kids, I actually feel like I’m seeing family. Especially because my host mom brings Asha along to see me all the time. She is a busy woman but she knows that to create relationships requires efforts on both sides.

So now this girl says my name and follows me. She knows my favorite color and this stranger in her yard is now her Ba Mammi. She is a little girl. But the reason she is now the best part of my days is because of my host mom. The effort she put in to making me feel as if I am part of this family is incredible.

That’s one thing I am sure about when it comes to people. Mostly because it is something I do personally. If people want you to be in their lives, they will work hard to keep you in them.

Friday: Independence Day!!
My club did a jump rope dance for Independence Day what the hell a rhyme about HIV. IT WAS THE ONLY THING I didn’t record. Cause I was in it.

But everyone dances and poems about independent and stopping corruption were lauded. It was an amazing day of dance and excitement.

Being 23 Definitely Feels Exotic
My birthday!!!

It began with my cat Cecil. He was crying and I fed since he is still pretty small. But then started the horns and hats and gift. I got a fedora from my clinic and all day I got Zambian cakes and lemon icing. It was delicious and so worth it.


I played hide and seek and jump rope and sang and danced all day. I am so tired from running after the kids but I loved my birthday. Especially phone calls from home.



For those who called I cried so much because I was so happy. Thanks so much for all the love. It can still be pretty lonely here even with everyone cause back home is still home back there. And it can get pretty hard.

Bit by bit my birthday faded away and I realized now I am 23. Wow.




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