Thursday, February 5, 2009

Me? Intimidating?

So i am sitting outside the house of my chilolo, one of the chief's representitives, and he is hiding from me. He was out when i got here and now im pretty sure he is hiding behind his house. I can even hear his voice! Well, i never thought i was slightly intimidating until now. Man oh man.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


So after a long day of cleaning and doing some laundry, i feel like i should talk about my routine. Its been a little off lately because of the rain, but still somewhat the same.

So lets start off with days in which i go to town. Depending on whether or not i have something going on i might set my alarm or not. When i first got to site, i would wake up at about 430 every morning. This definitely was not by choice! A combination of malaria drugs and one annoying rooster would wake me up so early. Now, i tend to sleep in. My sisters normally want me up so around 9 or so they will greet me in bemba and i will groggily greet them back while in bed. Once im up, i make a visit to my pit latrine and then start my brazier to make breakfast. Oh how i wish i had a stove! Getting the brazier started and then cooking can take quite a bit of time but its a good way to start the morning. Depending on whether i have things to do in town, ill either leave right away after breakfast or ill stay a little longer and read or send emails on my phone. To get to masansa, i have to bike about 4km on a bush path and then 6km on the road. It can be a pain sometimes to bike there and back, but it keeps me active. Once in masansa, ill drop my bike off at one of my shop owner friend's house and then walk to school. Basically all i do at the school is hang out in the teachers workroom. I wish there was more for me to do, but im not the boss! After being at the school for a while, ill go to the market to buy a few things and then i bike back. There is another volunteer who has his work in masansa too so he and i hang out ever now and then. Once i get home, i relax a little and then have dinner with my family which is nshima and a vegetable for the relish. After dinner, there usually isnt anything to do after dark so i go to bed. On days i stay home, i do a lot of cleaning and laundry. Both are pain stakingly long ventures. Laundry is done by hand and then hung out to dry. If my family is around, they will do it for me which takes them a fraction of the time it takes me, but cleaning the house is all me. I have two rooms to my hut so i start with my bedroom sweep it all out and then move to the next room. The problem with cleaning is that i have to move everything and in small quarters. I started at maybe 11 this morning and didnt get done until 4 or so. With a grass thatched roof, a lot of dust and other particles fall and land on everything, so the house needs to be cleaned often.

Then there are the days i want to leave masansa entirely. On those days, i have to get up early to bike to masansa by 730 to get transport 50km to the boma, or large town. Transport consists of a pick up truck jammed packed with people and their belongings on a dirt road. If i want to go to the peace corps house in serenje then i have to hitch another 100km. Its a hassle and takes hours, but its nice to spend some time at the house every now and then.

Ok. Its 730 in the evening right now, but im absolutely exhausted so i think its bed time!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


So in the past few months, ive been invited to facilitate in a couple trainings set up by USaid. They have been good. Made me feel like i was actually doing something. The first two were for training untrained community school teachers and head teachers, while the other was for training teachers on the ipod which would be given to community schools to enable them to access the iri (interactive radio instruction) program called learning at taonga market. Iri is broadcasted by numerous radio stations throughout zambia with most being through community radio stations in the towns like mkushi, the closest town from me. The problem is that not every radio station has a good signal radius so some schools cannot access the program. So for those schools in some districts, they are given an ipod so they can still play the program and conduct the lessons.

Right now, im sitting in the masansa zone workshop for the iripod training. There are about thirteen schools here with most having two teachers each crammed into a small room. One of these days ill describe a zambian workshop, but right now i should stay positive. I will say that most zambians need a workshop in time management! I wasnt always the best with time management, but i think being here has made me so much more mindful of time!

So i stopped right there because i dont really want to put my opinion on this whole thing. If you really want to know my opinion, you can ask.

But at this point i am really happy to have been given the opportunity to facilitate in the workshops. A lot of the time i feel like masansa isnt taking advantage of my skills and so i dont really do any work but just hang out in the village. I think i need to put up the whole note about my opinions not reflecting the opinions of the united states peace corps before i write about work subjects.

So i think im going to watch these clouds roll in and enjoy the rest of the sun for the day!

Monday, January 26, 2009


Ok so i probably should have been keeping this up but since i have been here, i never really have a desire to get on a computer. I have an internet phone that serves me well, so i hope to make a daily thing out of this. I guess not only for other people to read and see what is going on but also so i can go back and remember what all has happened while i was in zambia for two years. Im not much for journal writing but we will see where this goes.

So i got into country on february 23rd of 2008 and its nearly february of 2009...nearly a year in country. Since we have two months of training, our service didnt actually start until april, so i wont be done until april of 2010. But if its been nearly a year in country now, everything else is bound to go by just as quick.

So right now, i am sitting in the house of one of the shop owners in masansa. He lives right in town and has electricity so i get to charge my phone and ipod whenever im in town, which is several times a week. The electricity isnt the most reliable, its gone off three times since ive been here this morning, but its so much better than nothing. Im here earlier than i usually am because it is the rainy season right now and since the sun was shining, i decided to beat the rain and get here. Nothing like biking trying to get home in the pouring rain! But it would be so nice for the sun to stay out all day. Its been mostly cloudy lately which can be depressing sometimes. What i wouldnt give to even be in the hot season again. At least once you get done sweating, it dries and you dont feel so gross. But during the rainy season, you sweat and its so humid that it takes forever for it to dry, so you feel gross, it feels gross to be wearing sweaty clothes, you just feel slobbish. And then it rains on you. So you have a mixture of sweat and rain on you. Now its time to wash those clothes! You get that gross mixture out of your clothes, but then because of the humidity and lack of sun, it takes forever for clothes to dry. What i wouldnt give for a washer and drier!

But life isnt as bad as it may seem. It just takes some getting adjusted to. Each season brings a new challenge, so i need to face this one as well and it will be just ok!

I know my writing is a little spastic going this way and that, but i hope to make sense and explain what is going on here as well as possible. Also, i want to remind everyone that its always good to get mail over here. It definitely doesnt have to be a package...unless you are in a really giving mood. Just a letter, email or anything helps! If you dont know it, or have lost it, here is my address again:

Phil Bradley PCV
PO Box 840038
Mkushi, Zambia

Well i think i should maybe go to my school or something. Either tonight or tomorrow, ill write something else. Who knows! Hope all is well!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


When I found out that I wasn't leaving for Zambia until February, I didn't know if I felt good about that or not. I had been expecting January the whole time, but now I am really happy that I have a little bit more time. It has been well over a year since I've been able to just sit back and relax from everything, and since then, I've constantly run on a lack of sleep. Yesterday, I went on a field trip with my fifth and sixth graders to a Junior Achievement mini economy type thing, and it was fun and everything, but I felt absolutely worn out afterwards. I was supposed to go to work afterwards, but instead I went back home intending to just lay down for a few minutes. Yeah...that few minutes turned into a couple hours. I had my phone next to me and it rang a couple times, but I didn't hear it. far my plan after December 14th is to relax for the rest of December. Get as much sleep as I can. January, I plan to do a little traveling. I have a few friends in England who I'd like to see before I head to Zambia. Then February, I think I'll stay around home to be with family and friends who are near me. Right now, it kind of sounds like a long time, but I'm sure it will go by really fast.

Monday, November 19, 2007

there ya go!

I have the whole week off for Thanksgiving, and I don't think there is anything else I could use right now. I am absolutely burned out from this whole student teaching thing, and it'll be nice to have a little recovery before I have to get back to it next week. Tomorrow is a field trip that my kids are going on, and even though I'm going, I get to take a step back and just enjoy it. It's this Junior Achievement mini economy type thing, and the place we're going to is set up like a small town and the kids get to run it. The field trip sounds like a lot of fun, but the curriculum we went through just to be able to go was such a chore. Anyway, I'm looking forward to going and just having a little bit of fun with my kids.

Since I have the whole week off, I knew that I had to get my Peace Corps passport and visa all straightened out. I really did not think that it would take so much time and energy today. I got started on it by going to CVS to get pictures taken and that all went really easily. All the paperwork had to be done too, and it would have gone by really quickly if it weren't for the fact that I kept checking and double checking I was doing everything right. I got to the post office at about 3 and there was a really long line. When I get up to the desk, the woman obviously was not listening to me, or she was avoiding listening to me when I told her that it was a different process that had to be done. When ever I tried to say something she would interrupt me by saying, "We don't do that here!" I just wanted to tell her to stop and listen to me. I was pretty irritated at that woman. She finally got someone else and he called somewhere, and obviously he did not understand how to deal with it because he told me I had to go to the downtown Indianapolis post office to be able to get it done. He was nice about it which I was thankful for.

So I left there and sped away with my gas tank well below empty and no more than 20 minutes to get to the desk of the downtown post office to get it all straightened out. I was obviously pretty anxious about both of these. There was another long line at this post office, but I decided to fight through it and even if I didn't make it to the desk by 4, I could at least ask them if they knew how to do it for the next day. I made it through the line a little after 4, but the woman still helped me out. I was really happy about that, and she knew the whole Peace Corps passport process. That eased my mind a little until she told me my photos would not work. I went ahead and got pictures taken there so I could just get it over with, but it kind of worried me about the pictures I'd use for my visa. I then stuffed the passport envelope into the FedEx envelope which was a little too small, so I'm hoping all the paperwork isn't all crinkled or anything. After all that, I went and asked a few friends how they felt about the whole picture situation. They said they wouldn't worry about it, so I went ahead and sent it in. I'm a little uneasy about it still, but I think it'll all work out.

When I got to work, one of my bosses said she was going to arrange a fundraiser for me and one of my friends who also works at Kaleidoscope before we leave for Africa. At the beginning, right after both of us were nominated, Yusuf wasn't going to be leaving until March. Not long ago, Peace Corps told him that he was leaving on February 10. Now he got his Invitation on Friday and he's leaving for Niger on January 8th for AgroForestry. That's a bit of a difference, but he's excited, and I'm definitely excited for him too. Oh...the fundraiser. So I guess she is going to be inviting all of the funders of Kaleidoscope as well as personal friends of ours to come in one evening in two weeks to help support us. This will definitely be a big help for both of us. Even a little bit of support will help.

So I'm now all set. Just like all the other paperwork I've had to do for Peace Corps, it feels like a big weight lifted from my shoulders now that I have my passport and visa in. Just 93 days left until staging!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Is it time yet?

Ok, so it's hard for me to focus on what is going on right now at times when I have Zambia to look farward to. I have so much to do before the middle of December, but all I really want to do is just relax and take in everything slowly. I can't remember the last time I was able to take a deep breath and relax.

Come December 14th I will be officially finished with college. Sure college has been a good experience, but it is definitely time to move on. What I wouldn't give to be done with student teaching right now. I like the kids individually, but when they're all together, they're a total handful. Earlier last week, a kid chucked an eraser at me while I was teaching. Just one week before Thanksgiving break and then three after that. That sounds possible to accomplish.

For the first time this weekend, I felt like I could actually tell people about what I'll be doing with Peace Corps. I got my invitation several weeks ago, but I didn't feel until now like I could say what I would be doing. I got a link to the Zambia welcome book after I sent in my aspiration statement and resume, so that might have helped a little. It feels good though to be able to say what I'll be doing for two years after not even knowing where I'd be going for so long, and having people constantly asking me if I knew yet.

So that's all I'm thinking now. Is it time yet? I'm ready to bring on the adventure!