Muli Bwanji!

Peace Corps Volunteer Zambia
That's "How are you?" in Chinyanja, the most widely spoken language in Eastern Provence of Zambia and the official language of Malawi. As I'd hoped, before first site visit, I'll be living in Eastern! I don't know my exact site placement just yet, but it is between Brad's aquaponics site, near Chipata, and a post farther south, close to Petauke, that's into integrated rice farming. I'm hoping for the former, but either way, it's going to be awesome!

Speaking of language, it has by far been the hardest thing for me, in Preservice Training. I've started going in 40 minutes early to get more study time in with our language trainer, Moses. The aquaculture work is going swimmingly, though. I've come up with an idea for circular ponds, that should be simpler to build than the current rectangular method. The RAP team and I are collaborating on developing it further. I'll keep you all posted!

My language group, who I spend up to three hours a day with, consists of all but one of the four other trainees I went to first site visit with:
Jonathan, an Asian American third culture kid who grew up in the Philippines. I actually roomed with him at fly in, in Philadelphia. He's extremely quiet, but during first site visit, we stayed up talking until 1am, contemplating the universe.
Melissa, a very down to earth girl who finally graduated from AmeriCorps to the the Peace Corps, after something like six years of service there.
Brian, a fellow South Carolinian and Clemson Alumni. It turns out that he and I actually met on three previous occasions (it's a small, small world, Virginia), and he also volunteered at The Center for Birds of Prey. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Sierra Leone, until they were all evacuated, due to the Ebola epidemic, and now, he is my host cousin.

He's my neighbor, in our home stay compound. His host dad and my host mom are brother and sister. Brian's host family is definitely the more nuclear, of the two, though. My host mom has two teenage sons and a random assortment of nieces, nephew, and drunk cousins meandering around her house, at any given time. I tend to just stay in my room or hangout on Brian's porch, if I'm home. But that in and of itself is a rare occurrence.

Jonathan, Brian, and another Peace Corps Trainee, Owen, who's dad was actually a Peace Corps Volunteer way back in the 1960's, tend to be out exploring, on our bikes, whenever there's a few hours of sunlight to spare. This has caused some friction with the training staff, over the definition of "far." As we're not suppose to travel "far" away from the training site, in Chongwe, but as 20 year old in-shape males with not-so shiny, not-so new mountain bikes, what exactly that means is still a little grey. We've asked for a map, with clear lines of demarcation.

Apparently, Chongwe has really developed quite rapidly, over just the past couple of years. The road to the training center wasn't tarmaced two years ago, and my host families just got electricity, last year. Jonathan's are still without power. Yet, the mobile networks are now robust enough for Brian to skype with his girlfriend back home (who've I've also met before). The world is flattening, and hopefully, I'll get to watch it occur, in rural Zambia, in the course of my service.

This brings me to a rather obvious point, it hasn't been eleven weeks, since my last post. It has only been four. Some trainees and volunteers are on the internet everyday, here. I don't want to do that. To me, at this point, once a month seems like the sweet spot, for how often I'd like to jack into the interwebs. This means, depending on when you send me a message and how fast the postal system is, your letters could reach me before your emails do!

So send me letters! Here's what my address, in Eastern, will be, for the next two years, come May:
Everett (Nemo) Pompeii/PCV
P.O. Box 510203
Chipata, Zambia
PS: The country that I was originally nominated to serve in, Vanuatu, was recently evacuated, by the Peace Corps, due to a massive cyclone. It's funny how life works out. Isn't it?

Find out how to join the Peace Corps!

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Location: Changwe, Zambia


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