Thursday, September 29, 2011


I've been trying to be better about keeping a journal at my site. Sometimes, I journal about programs and work, but mainly my journal consists of funny things that happened during the day... I'm trying to remind myself that funny shit happens everyday.
"When you first arrived you were slim, but now you are very fat." - My neighbor
It's a compliment, right? Peace Corps didn't just tell me that to make me feel better, right?
I got my first pity laugh today. People tell me everyday, "Ugh, you don't understand. You should learn Bemba."
To which I reply "Ba Kafundisha." which means "Teacher" and point to them. This usually elicits laughs, strong handshakes and women hugging me. But, they totally heard that joke last week when I said it to the same group of ladies. I need a new joke to go out on, or learn to speak Bemba, whatever.
The bride's family dances first, then the groom's, then it's mzungu's  (white person) time.I swear the only thing the drunk lady dancing next to me said was "Shwarma!" (Shwarma is a delicious middle eastern food, kind like a gyro). An amaguy came up to dance with me next complete with hips and whistles, I tried to whistle back, but my lips were too dry so I hooted like an owl instead. SHOULD'VE SEEN ME.
"What tribe are you? Tonga, LaLa, what?"
"I come from the Irish tribe, my ancestors came from Ireland."
"Oh, British."
"No, Irish."
"Iris? Iris."
"No, Irish. Do you know the Irish potato?"
"Yes, brown and round."
"I come from the Irish potato."
My women's group is fun. Bunch of saucepots, they only speak lala, which is a dialect of bemba. It makes conversations hard, because my vocabulary is so limited it takes a while to actually have a functional conversation. Funny thing about the lala tribe. The name come from the bemba verb "ukulala" which means "to sleep". When they reached the area that is now Mkushi to Serenje (~100 km) the tribe split. Bembas continued north, while the lalas remained, and slept. So they have a reputation for being lazy. Which is fine, because this is something we have in common. About 1 hour of our meeting was spent talking about the game plan for their hives and about 3 hours were spent talking about potatoes and searching through my scalp for my "platts" or where my wig was connected to my real hair. They think I wear a wig.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Currently listening to: "Thwap thwap schrrrreeeeeeaaaaakkk" by the Onomatopoeias

I've found myself to be a compulsive liar here. To the point where most conversations I have start with a lie.
" Are you a christian?"
"Yes, I'm a catholic."
"There is a very nice church, we will go on Sunday."
Shit. I should've said I was a Darwinist.
"I'll be out of town on Sunday, so I will worship in private."
"Okay, my son will bring over our bible tonight."
"Oh, that's okay."
"Do you already have a bible?"
"Can I borrow it? i want to translate from english to bemba."
God damnit. I knew this was coming.
Awkward silence.
"Oh, that bible. I meant I have one at home, my mother is sending me it, it's okay."
Awkward silence.
"So, i'll bring over the bible we will study together."
"Okay, sure"
God damnit.

"Are you married?"
Ugh, he smiles, I sweat. Why couldn't we talk about the weather, or topping we enjoy on pizza, the things i'm versed on in Bemba. Instead we opt for the things he is versed on in broken English.
"You have boyfriend?"
He smiles more. I feel a big lie coming on and put away my honesty along with my cell phone, which i've been pretending to text on. Really just reading through old texts out of habit in weird situations.
"I've always wanted a white girlfriend."
"Now I smile. I don't know if it was his chubby appearance, his piece of shit truck or his cheeze-whiz smile but it led me to ask," Really? You've always wanted one, why?"
"Rich, beautiful girl like you, I'd love to take you out sometime."
Barf. 5 minutes left in ride.
"What about you, are you married?"
"Nope." He's so proud, shows off his hand.
"Do you have any kids?"
He re-arranges his hand and in a less boastful tone, "one, a boy."
"Ah-hah! I don't date people who have children." I could've just not accepted the date, yet I took this route. I don't know why.
"What, you don't like kids, you don't want some one day?"
"No, I don't want kids."
"Ah, I've never heard of a person, especially a woman to not want kids. What would your parents say? What if they never had you?"
I feel like he has had this conversation before. I bet he has 15 white girlfriends. I bet his son is white. I want to tell him my decision has nothing to do with my parents, it was their choice to have me- not mine. I want to go into the overpopulation problem and the strain on our world already, any response will just continue this conversation, so I choose the best go out line I can think of: "Harruumpph."
He pulls over to drop me off, destination reached.
"So, do you have a number I can call?"
"No, I don't have a phone."
"What? You're lying."
I get out of the car, remembering I had been fake texting at the beginning of the ride. All this talk about white women and babies and the things girls forget!
As I walk away he shouts, "I get off in 20!"
"Sorry, can't hear you!" If you're gonna start with a lie, you may as well end with one.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


This is such a cute video. I really like the message...  coming from Mid-America you can't help but form stereotypes about what it is like to live in a rural village in a developing country. I hope the only stereotype I stick with is that all the kids will be able to act out Arnold Schwarzenegger movies for me, ha!
In a couple of days i'm off to start my new life volunteering with the Peace Corps. It's both beyond exciting and scary at the same time. Exciting because this has been a goal of mine for a very long time, and scary because of the what-ifs. What if I'm unhappy there? What if the relationships I have here won't be around when I get back? It's risky either way and I knew that before accepting my invitation. Either way, I'm sticking with my decision.

L.I.F.E stands for Linking Income Food and the Environment and it’s the project I will be working with while in Zambia. The three areas of concentration for the project are: 1) sustainable agriculture 2) environmental education and 3) income generation. From reading the packets I was given and other volunteer's blogs it seems like the majority of the work I will be doing is collaborating with local farmers, trying out things I’ve learned in training with demonstration plots, starting environmental clubs with school kids and hopefully beekeeping. About 10 % of my time will be spent working with HIV projects. Oh yeah, Peace Corps is giving me a pretty snazzy bike that I’ll get to ride around and talk to farmers with… pretty cool.

The Peace Corps sent me an email with information for my family and friends. I think this was the most important thing they said:
 Irregular communication: For the first 3 months at least I'll be in a pretty remote place with little chance of internet access to check my email, also I'm not sure if I will buy a cell phone there yet. So the best way to contact me? Letters! Here's my address:
Nora Kennedy, PCV
Peace Corps
P.O Box 50707
Lusaka, Zambia
I would also appreciate drawings to decorate my hut, just sayin'.

 I want to thank my friend Chelsea for the bangin' header she made me for this blog. It was a really nice surprise to get in my email!

My next post will be in Africa, wish me luck!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

30 days...

...until I will arrive in Philadelphia for staging. Here's what I know so far: When I arrive, I'll register and get settled in my hotel room, followed by the next day of immunizations and icebreakers. I'm not sure which shots I will be getting yet, maybe rabies, hepatitis and a flu shot. It doesn't matter to me, honestly I would rather take 5 shots to the forehead than play any team building games, I really hope that isn't what the icebreaker involves. That being said, I am very excited to meet the other people I'll be training with! I wonder how many are in the L.I.F.E program with me and what other programs there are, if I have to find this out at the bottom of a pyramid or during the untangling of a human knot than so be it. This should last til 6 p.m then we take a bus at 2 in the morning to JFK airport in New York where our departure is around 10:30 a.m. After a 15 hour flight we'll arrive in South Africa, then just another 2 hour flight and we will arrive in Zambia.