July 28-29

July 28

I woke up super sore from preschool work. I was asked to go to Sunday church service but I declined after some pressure from several villagers. Nearly everyone here goes to church every Sunday. I'll go one of these Sundays, but not all of them. I don't practice any religion and only want to go to observe a single Zambian church service. Instead, I planted some carrot seeds I bought at the market in Wana's garden. I gave the rest of the seeds to Charles.

At night, I tried some mango leaf tea pulled straight from the tree above my tent. It's claimed to have several health benefits including regulating diabetes and lowering blood pressure while containing high levels of vitamins A, B, and C. However, I was a little leary because the leaves, sap, and mango rinds contain some level of urushiol, the compound responsible for the itchy rash from contact with poison ivy. The tea color was a pleasant lime green but I didn't detect much flavor, using 7 large chopped up leaves in a little under 2 cups of water. I added rooibos tea and juice from a lemon and finished it off. Thankfully, the urushiol must have been deactivated by the heat or maybe it has no itchy effect when ingested.

July 29

I'm just now beginning to miss some of the luxuries of the first world. In addition to missing people, mostly I miss wall outlets, the ability to cook food without first starting a fire, faucets, the absence of sand everywhere, and relative quiet through the night. I haven't slept through the night without waking up more than once, and for whatever reason, I've been having vivid nightmares almost nightly. I don't want to give the wrong impression; I'm still enjoying my time here and feeling 100% healthy. Life is just comparatively hard and arduous here. The Zambians are accustomed to it and know of no other standard of living, but I do.

I woke up and was ready to go work on the preschool. I found out Charles was running errands and I was soon alerted that the beneficiaries had decided to slaughter a 91 kg pig to sell at the market. I was invited to watch. Again, mixed feelings. In weird ways, this made me feel less bad as this slaughter was painfully less efficient than the pig I slaughtered, requiring triple the club strikes and quintuple the time. There were no cheers or laughter this time. Overall, I still don't feel great about it, especially watching an animal suffer. But it's what has to be done.

I bought 2 kg of pork steak for 60 kwacha (roughly $1/lb) and fried some immediately for lunch. I was very hungry and simply used salt for seasoning. The meat was very tender and hit the spot. Speaking of, Spot, the friendliest of the local dogs, showed up so I poured the grease for it into a discarded bowl.

Before going to sleep, I stood in a field and stared up at the cloudless night sky. Something felt different and I realized the blaring bar music at the market is silent tonight for the first time. A welcomed change. With a new moon, the stars are even more visible and pronounced than they've been this whole time. It really is majestic. You can easily see the Milky Way with the naked eye. After only a few minutes, I saw three shooting stars looking towards the north horizon. There is so much beauty here and I'm trying to soak it all in and not take it for granted.

Ben Kirby3 Comments