I have been babysitting our Provincial house/office this week while our PCVL (Peace Corps Volunteer Leader (Third year extension position of volunteer support, managing of, and site preparation)) is on home leave. This has been such a blessing since i am taking the GRE next weekend and have had this time to study! Also I have had more access to internet, and have had some fun conversations with people through email and what not, i thought i would post some of the questions that people have asked me and the answers, to cover some of the things that i don't tend to think about. Also I will include a packing last I made for a person who came during the previous cold season. THe only additions needed for the hot season are less layers and nov-march, rain gear. enjoy!
I have a Tailor. "YOU HAVE A TAILOR?!?! Whaattt?" Why is it that everyone responds that way to the fact that I have a tailor!? You have to think of Zambia or should I say, where I live in Zambia as an 1880's Wild Wild West-ern town, you can't buy premade clothes only fabric and then make something yourself or pay someone to make it for you! I choose the ladder. I love gettting clothes made!
in the past 6 months here, all these white south africans, Aussies, Chinese, Japanese, etc people have been flooding my area to mine and already its changing and people are being pushed out its sad, and there are no laws for protection or environment.
the fact that the country is progressing everyday and fighting to adapt to the westernized world while still using oxen and hand plowing fields, is just a trip, and for me its like being a part of something that will never be able to be recreated again, and I love and appreciate that.
no water, no electricity, but ionically i live about 300 meters from the governments power lines that run from the bottom of the country to the top. Actually my water source is under them, and I can hear the cancerous crackle of power while scooping up H2O. Ooh africa.
Also its important to remember that in the village people will wear the same thing 3-5days straight, to bed, to work, everywhere! So sometime guilt sets in, for me, when I don’t wear things excessively? Doesn’t make tons of sense but, you’ll get it soon enough, so what I am saying is you don’t have to pack a ton, which is so much easier to say than do! Okay here we go:
• A good pair of running/tennis shoes.
You may not wear there that often, but the times that you will need them they come in great use! Unless you are a runner, than you will wear them often, but they are great for biking again.
• A pair of nice “Lusaka” shoes
You won’t wear these often, they truly are for Lusaka (Maybe I should just have a Lusaka section, but meh, I’ll just do it this way with font change)! Mine I think I have worn only a few times but they are great when you do. However, there is a store called Mr. Price here, and they are kind of like a Forever 21 meets H&M, not the best quality but cute clothes and they have great shoes there!
• Sturdy sandals/Flip Flops
I brought with me a nice pair of Teva flip flop sandals, they broke, and now only wear Eagles, which are Zam made, plastic flip-flops, think Old Navy flip-flops. Once broken in, they are very comfortable and CHEAP like 4 Pin, so less than a dollar (80 cents). This I feel is what everyone wears here, yes some people have the Chaco’s and other hard core sandals, and they do come in great use, however I don’t have them and I have never had a problem.
You will be coming here during the winter, and it gets REALLY cold in the early morning and in the evening/at night. However, it can get pretty warm during the day, even hot sometimes, so layering is going to be your best friend.
• A thin hat, I sleep in mine at night, while wearing a hoody, pants, sock, and two blankets, there is no installation (that's mud bricks for you) and it’s windy.
• Socks of different lengths, some for warmth, others for shoes, how many you bring is up to you, however socks are easy to wash.
• Sports bras! These will be your best friend in the village, obviously bring a few regular bras for when you are not in the village.
• Comfortable underwear. Really no need for thongs.
• Tank tops, especially tank tops with built in bra’s they are easy, and even easier to layer with. I have liked to have the Hanes wife beater’s and I don’t care if they get dirty. But when it comes down to it dark colored things are the best for the village, so pack the most of dark colors. White is impossible to keep white here, consequently I now have about 8 gray Hanes’s tank tops, oh well.
• T-shirts, just your regular everyday shirt, my favorites have been Gap favorite Tee esc. Crew neck, long. And I think I said this in my first email to you, but solid colored things work well for the village and if you ever get and thing made, because ichitange’s have crazy patterns.
• Long sleeve shirts!
• Sweat Shirts and sweaters one of each maybe?
• And one fleece or jacket, doesn’t have to be to thick because you will, most likely, be wearing a tank top, long sleeve shirt, sweater, and your fleece at once, and then stripping as the day goes on.
• Pants! Two pairs of sturdy pants that you can work in should do it. I have four, but they are suppose to last me for the next two years, and if you have a few long dresses you wont need much more. I had this rule while packing, and it worked out well, that unless you can sit Indian style comfortably in pants, you shouldn’t bring them. You just want clothes that you can really move in. I wear yoga pants of full and Capri length here. Also bring some leggings they are great under skirts, or just for hanging out, or when its cold.
• I am a jean junkie. I love jeans and it was so hard for me packing because I wanted to bring them all. Alas I settled on this, it was hard, but it has worked; a pair that I wear at the house and in the boma, and then a nice pair that I bring to Lusaka with me and wear there, because I would care more if they got messed up.
• A few going out shirts, dresses, skirts, or outfits. Won’t happen often but when you do go out you will want to look cute, and kind of go all out after not being able to dress up or anything a while.
DAPP – I don’t know if you like to Thrift, but if you do DAPP is your heaven. Its awesome, they import donated clothes from Europe. You can find some gems! Its worth the hunt. Just a heads up, so you can find anything you want.
• Two toothbrushes
• Toothpaste, your favorite kind, but get one with extra fluoride, we get water from holes, so there is no added fluoride to our water, I can feel my teeth falling apart already (However, on 4/10/10 I went to the dentist . . . NO CAVITIES! Go me!). They sell regular toothpaste here but its not as good, flavor wise too.
• Sun Screen.
• A GOOD face sunscreen, the new wrinkles that have formed on my face, sad. So sad. I am aging, the new lines. I cannot even talk about
• Face moisturizer. For the same reason as stated. Also it gets really dry here. . . Soo . . .
• Bring a good lotion or body butter!
• Shampoo and conditioner, you can buy ok stuff here, but its more expensive and, you get such great flash backs whenever you take a sniff of “America”.
• Face wash and whatever else you use in your daily routine
• A razor and extra razor blades, unless you want to go all natural, which I would have to say good for you, I can’t do that.
• Hair ties! Lots! Bobby pins. Head bands, hair can get annoying here.
• Small travel sized bottles, great for when you are at the house, but also when you go on little excursions or camping trips.
• Nail clippers and nail file. I have about four different color nail polishes but more are always welcome! But don’t forget your nail polish remover!
• Wet Wipes! Cottenel Flushable wipes. They are just nice and easy, yes they are wasteful but after a long day of transport of what have you, they can make you feel so much cleaner.
• I have a special toiletries bag that is always packed (Thank you Nancy!), it has wet wipes, lotion, toothpaste, anti-bacterial no water hand wash, my mini bottles of shampoo and conditioner, a plastic poncho. Its just nice to have a little bag that I can just grab when ever I go somewhere with out having to think about it. I also have another one with all my wires, chargers, and my camera.
• Sheets, up to you. I brought sheets from home, personally I love them, they make me happy they don’t come off just by sitting on the bed (fitted sheets are impossible to find), and they are soft.
Now you dear reader are all ready to come and visit me!
Prayers, well wishes, and positive energy sent my way on Sat. 23 of OCT. (Gmt +2) 8:30am would be soo soo very appreciated! As that is when I am taking the dreaded GRE.