Zanzibar Mania

I missed traveling after many  weeks of working and moving around for trainings. And we had planned this trip for months and it had used up all of my money. 

We booked flights but we decided against taking a train back as it was incredibly common for thievery especially amongst our volunteers. 

Arriving there after being sick for six days was hard on me but I was overjoyed. Incredibly overjoyed.  

We of course are going to an island coming from a land locked country. We were ready! 

Walking through corridors so tightly hugging Stonetown which was so different to the open red soil wide plains we are used to. 

Finding humid air and heat so stron that  

Malawi Travels

Malawi is a beautiful vacation spot for many volunteers. After training however, we decided to hitch a ride all the way to Chipata and stay there for a night before we take a cab to the border and then a minibus for the eleven of us all the way to Nkhata Bay.

That’s the plan at least.

Except to hitch a ride you have to wake extra early for the distance you want to travel.

So we woke up at 5. Even though we were packing and working till four.

We reserved a minibus for eleven of us to get us to the edge of the city and hitch a ride from there.

We arrived all tired and exhausted and we took a spot on the road and spaced out. Unluckily we got a truck to give us a ride but we would have to sit on the bed outside.

A good idea. Wrong execution.

Fast winds dreading my hair.

Rain and stupid tarp not solving any of our problems.

Driver who agreed to 150 for all of us actually used the excuse that since my friends are white, they should pay 150 per person.

We got him to seriously see how rude that was to six girls who have been living in Zambia for way too long to be tricked or confused or even pushed like this. Volunteers have hitched from one corner to the other for free.

Then we reached the Eastern house where we all collapsed into a nice shower and a comatose state until we woke up again at night for a cab. There we set off again. With more people asking for money just because of how we look.

But we got to the border and safe to say, we got out passports stamped. Unluckily, it went not the way I expected but let’s not hash that story.

But we got into a minibus and sang christmas songs to our driver as we pulled up to white sand beaches and Lake Malawi larger than the country it was named after.

Beautiful.

We slept the whole day. What do you expect?

Second day: we went to the town and enjoyed not being harassed and wearing American clothes. What a border changes between countries is astonishing.

Third day:

I went swimming with everyone on this deep lake. And we fed fish eagles with fish we bought and they dove down and picked them from the sea.

Fish eagles live in families but also mate for life. So they always live relatively close to each other. Especially nuclear families. We got to see a father or mother teach four of their chicks how to dive and fish.

Then we went snorkeling and I can’t swim. But I got my goggles and dove under with rocks to hold onto and there I saw a big gray blue fish. It opened its mouth at me and dozens of baby fish swam past me. I was so surprised I didn’t realize my snorkel went under the water. It was beautiful and I swam quickly up only to return.

The lake was full of life and incredibly beaming of blue green clear water and you can see way far in the distance even underneath. The day ended with sunbathing and crystal water soothing my feet.

We ate Morrocan food with couscous and lamb as well as fried banana with cilantro and vanilla ice cream. Yes, I said cilantro.

Our Christmas was filled with food that tasted too amazing and filling. I can’t even begin to start talking about this feast cause it was good.

Our Malawi trip ended after a few more days of sun and heat and water when our embassy friends told us they will give us a ride ALL the way from Malawi to the capital.

I’ve never had an unsnowy christmas but this Christmas. This Christmas showed me how much of this world I might be able to visit, witness, and experience in the next two years of service.

Zanzibar, Tanzania, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique?

Who knows.

Leaving The Vill for Now

As I have to go to inter service training for two weeks and then Christmas with the volunteers, I’ll be out of the village for almost a month and few weeks. And then I’ll be traveling and so on. The last few months will be the most I’ll be in the village. So I’d like to go back and just summarize what has happened in three months that shows how much I’ve grown to love and be connected to my Lunchu.

Violet and me are gonna start a rap group but we haven’t thought of a name yet.

We are also gonna start an club for an agricultural show in May to showcase foods good for immunity and health but make honey roasted peanuts so the judges will choose us to win.

Fritters are always free for Megha.

If Megha wants something done, you better get it done or she will be disappointed. The village already knows my disappointment face.

Petrinella or Petti, Violet’s granddaughter has done the following in three months:
Turned 1 in October
Learned to walk first time in my house
Has a third tooth growing
Can scream Megha but only when I’m gone
Calls her grandmother Ma and grandfather Dada and her mother by her first name: Suzyo!!
Has become a runner and now can tackle people into falling
Weighs 12kg(?) which is a lot for a one year old and is as tall as a three year old

Carlos is now two months and few weeks old and follows me everywhere that I have to have people hold him for me to go anywhere.

Cecil my kitty is now eight weeks old and also freakishly fast and pouncing and adorable but also follows me and Carlos which means I have to run back and carry him home as he is still small enough to be stepped on.

Both are huge and don’t fit on my lap but they can’t sit on me one by one or the other gets jealous so my lap is always full. Carlos with his huge body and a small head poking out as Cecil tries to breathe underneath. But all in all, my boys are beautiful with no fleas or worms with their shots and no possibility of making me a grandmother here in Zambia. It’s all good at home in the village.

It’s sad to think I won’t see my boys for a few days nevertheless a whole month. To not see them race to my door when I open it in the morning racing to come inside and lick my feet. I don’t let them sleep inside as they are still young and think its cool to pee under my bed where I can’t reach. But when they are older and smarter, sure. To not have them around making me seem crazy to my neighbors when I’m yelling inside my hut or sarcastically acknowledging their actions.

Yes, Cecil put your entire body into that bowl.

Of course, Carlos, Cecil definitely doesn’t need to eat today. You do look famished so go ahead and finish that second bowl. It is wrongly labeled as Cecil. It should say, seconds for the Fattie.

It will be different after living under sun and wind to go into the capital.

To rejoin my Americans and celebrate Christmas and New Year in a country with no snow.

To see no tree lighting or ball drop.

To toast with no glass or run away from under mistletoe seeing the person you’d be stuck under with.

To stay in the capital and then travel as you celebrate the new year.

Leaving the village is tough for me as I just established home but what is great about traveling is the moment you realize it’s time to come home and I have that here. A place I can come and throw my bags down, my boys at the door acting as I never left and a home cooked meal and all I have to do is knock and ask for a plate.

Home is what is waiting for me when I get back.

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