August 23, 2010

Some Things Never Change

So my last post was about all of the differences between "Americaland" and Zambia...since then I have been trying to make myself very aware of the things that make me think..."this feels like home"

1. The "mom look." This is at the top of my list because I am a daughter that had many not so hot ideas in my day....therefore Momma Julie mastered this look from when I was a young age. At least I think that she must have mastered it when I was young otherwise I wouldn't be alive today...I feel like that look stopped me from making many bad decisions in my day.
But back to my point...this mom look transcends cultures...I have seen it in use in in the Village many times. It is the same look that I am sure has kept the Zambian population what it is today because without that look the little iwe minds would have gotten themselves killed. I too in fact have had the look used on me by my host mothers in the Village...I have two: my actual host mother, and my crazy neighbor that tried to rip my arm apart you will remember from a previous post.
What I am saying is I feel like this look comes the day you give birth and never really goes away. God bless the look for having the ability to stop me and many other immature thinkers across the world dead in our tracks!

2. Keeping on the mom theme....The whiny mom voice. My personal favorite way to utilize this voice has always been from my bed on a Saturday morning while my mom loudly throws dishes around to wake Zach and I up. I use it to get her to stop making so much damn noise at 10:00 in the morning...I mean for Christ sake we are trying to sleep!
The iwe in the village use the voice in much the same way though here it is pronounced "Ahhhhhhhmaaaaaaaiiiiiii" It makes me laugh every time because I can hear my own mother responding when their moms yell back "Ciani" (Chiani). Depending on the time of day that I choose to use this voice Momma Julie either responds gently (the 10am voice) "What Maggie?" Or later in the day when I am just saying it to hear myself when I need her to hand me the remote to the TV and it is just on the other couch within reach and she is in the other room. Come on...we've all done it :)

3. Now onto the men....apparently it does not matter what culture you are from...if something is broken and a bunch of men find themselves standing around said broken thing....things will get better before they get worse. IT HAPPENS EVERY TIME! Granted her in Zambia it gets much much worse before it get to be better...and better isn't really better it is just sort of good enough for now. And of course no woman could possibly know what the fuck she is talking about...especially the while girl, and I don't mean to toot my own horn (yes I do) but I am usually fucking right.

4. The sound of little kids laughing always always makes you feel better. Even if they were the ones that made you pist in the first place. Their giggles are magical and I wish there was a way we could use them to bring peace to the world.

5. No matter where you are in the world there is something very incredible about a beautiful day. I used to love waking up in August and September to the really crisp cool mornings...where the cold doesn't bite at you...instead it is just a gentle nibble before the heat comes. I am slowly kissing those mornings goodbye as the hot season rolls in...until next June beautiful days...I will be waiting. Lucky for me beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it was a quick lesson to learn that there are not really bad days when you are blessed enough to be in Africa!

6. I gave a shout out to now for my daddy! A father only wanting the best for his daughter never seems to change either. For my whole life I watched how my dad sat back and let me do what I thought was best for me. He coached my softball team for many years, yelled at me when my grades were shit, snuck me money in handshakes goodbye before I used to leave for college so mom wouldn't know...the list goes on and on.
Here, my Zambian Atate sits for many hours and watches the builders as they build my new house making sure that the walls are straight and life is perfect for his daughter (though his english isn't 100% he sometimes calls me his son). He goes to meetings with me to try and make sure I am being understood, he runs all over the village to make sure my requests are met quickly, and he apologizes incessantly when Zambian Villlage promises and inevitably broken...just like my own Pappa Tom would do.

7. The mother daughter bond! Mothers and daughters sit for hours on end just talking in the comfort of a shade tree. They talk the afternoons away about what...I'll never know. But I understand it. My mom calls when I am here and we just talk and talk and talk. It would be the same when I used to come home on weekends from college, we would just sit in the kitchen and talk about nothing while she cooked a meal.
Another aspect of the mother daughter bond that extends cultures is how you can look at one another and know what you are each words needed.

8. Home is where you lay your head. You know when you are on vacation and you have walked a million miles and all you want to do is go to the hotel that you call home and go to bed. Same feeling here....though my hut is not really home home....after being gone for 2 weeks at a training all I want to go is go to my hut and sleep in my tiny 2 meter by 3 meter love nest. I have committed to making that cave my home for the next 2 years.

9. Friends give you warm fuzzy feelings no matter what. It doesn't matter that we can't fully understand one another... hell, at times we can't understand a damn word we are saying...but the comfort is there. Because even when words aren't available...they still get you.

10. Being happy is all that really matters....ever.

My work is based on the assumption that clarity and consistency in our moral thinking is likely, in the long run, to lead us to hold better views on ethical issues. ~Peter Singer

1 comment:

  1. You are the happiness ambassador. Your photos of the kids and descriptions of their laughter are rich. And as one of your "mothers", I appreciate the homage to moms and dads. Love the fences too!! xo