Being in Zambia is a complete and total learning experience...every day I learn something new about myself, life, people and the world. That alone makes these 27 months totally worth it. I have been in Zambia for 6 months now and I have learned a lot as you can imagine, so in the spirit of my recent posts which consist mostly of lists I have decided to contribute yet another list!
Things I Never Knew...in No Particular Order
1. I never knew that you could actually use all of the ink in one pen. For real...did you know that it was possible that for a person to totally write a pen dry? I did not know this until my main method of communication was from the 1800s...pen and paper only. And for those of you that know me from my American life know that I generally have a lot to say...at least I think so...which means that I have nothing to say at all. So what I am saying is...I have completely and totally used up a number of pens since being in country. Weird.
2. And playing off of writing....did you know you could actually use up whole notebooks? I am sure lots of people do that in school when they are taking notes and stuff. But well in college that requires showing up to class and giving a shit...which were two things that hardly ever happened simultaneously...sorry mom and dad. But now that I do care about all of these people back home I fill up notebooks with letters quite quickly and it is pretty insane. And if you are reading this and have not gotten a letter from me...write me punk and I will write back.
P.O. Box 560059
Write Air Mail and Par Avion on the envelope.
3. I did not know that I could be so in tuned with what my Vagina was thinking. (Mom, Grandma and Aunties sorry in advance) So in PC Zambia you have to ride your bike quite a bit...quite a bit. It happens to be my main means of transportation which is kind of fun. I have always liked exercise and doing it here in Zambia is not always easy....so anyway...back to my Vagina (Vagina with a capital V) As soon as I mount Black Betty (the name of my bike) Vagina is begging me to get the hell off....of the bike...not to "get off" actually. In fact when on Black Betty I am pretty sure Vagina is worried that too much more time atop the bike is going to impair my ability to ever be able to get off ever. So I guess...I never knew that something could spend that much time next to Vagina, and thing and Vagina could not work out some sort of agreement or compromise...but alas it is a hate relationship. My cushy bike seat is in the mail...
Thanks Momma Julie, Love Maggie's Vagina
4. When I first got posted to my village I thought that coming to the city and enjoying the comforts of AmericaLand type things would always excite me....but as it turns out...AmericaLand type things don't ever really work so well in American hardly ever work in Zambian cities. So though running water is exciting...it is even more exciting if it is hot...a luxury that doesn't often happen in Zambia. Recently I spent two weeks in the country capital in a hotel type setting...even if water is falling from the sky I would rather be in back in my hut where the water is hot and falling from the cup that is being held in my hand.
5. I did not know that you could watch porn and drive a semi truck at the same time...well you can. Probably not really safe...but it is possible.
6. I never knew that I could sleep so hard so many nights in a row. That has never happened to me in America....like waking up at 6am after going to sleep at 8pm in a puddle of your own drool night after night. Never did that in America
7. I never really knew that music was so important to me. I mean I did, but if my iPod were dead in the village it might be a rough couple of days for the villagers as grumpy Maggie tried to soldier on without her daily dose of Jason Mraz...yeah I am still obsessed with him.
8. Sometimes in the village there is really NOTHING to do. Nothing...I've washed a single pair of socks before just to do something. So I guess I didn't know that a world existed where you could sit all afternoon on your ass and read a book and feel zero guilt for doing so. ZERO! I've done it...and loved it.
9. I did not know that it was possible to put so much shit on the back of a bike. Like whole sheets of tin on the back of a bike. I've seen it being biked 18K on the windiest of days. The people in this country can put more things on a bike than you could ever imagine. Like 4 people. Yup, its possible, no American could ever do it...but a Zambian can...and they can bike though 6 inches of sand while doing it.
10. I did not know that it was physically possible for any human anywhere to put the weight of their body on top on their head in the form of firewood and walk many kilometers home just to start that wood on fire to cook for their families....oh and these women do it with a baby on their back...I've seen it. Zambian women are further proof that women are the superior of the two sexes...and Zambian women are the most superior of them all. These women kick ass.
11. Did you know that you could fit 10 people in a car? I am sure people that have lived in the days of drive in movie theaters did know this...but I didn't. I did some stupid shit in High School...but 10 people in a car...never happened. And generally there is a bit of a smell followed by them.
12. I never knew that it was possible for any population of human beings to listen to the SAME FUCKING SONG on repeat for hours and hours on end as loud as the stereo can go. Further more I didn't know that if you were in a neighboring population of people who did not want to hear the SAME FUCKING SONG over and over again on sonic boom for never ending hours from the other side of the village that it would never ever cross your mind to ask them to turn it the fuck off.
13. Being a farm kid in America I've pist outside the comforts of a toilet many times...I feel like that sort of helped me prepare for Peace Corps. But what I never knew being a farm kid in America secretly prepping myself for this life of PC that I should have been trying to aim where I was peeing. Once again men have it all to easy! They can aim where things go...with their hands...fuck they can write their names in the snow if they wanted...or here in Zambia in the sand. But as a female who has to squat in Zambia...I've learned a lot. This might go into being in tuned to what my Vagina is thinking...except this is one of those things we can't seem to agree on together. Here in Zambia you often have to piss into holes that are dug into the ground strictly for that purpose. But there is no standardizing of Chimbudzies (pit latrines) here in Zambia...the pee holes come in all different shapes and sizes so every time I pee in a Chimbudzi hole other than my own it is a guarantee that I am going to piss on my feet...guarantee! And furthermore it is guaranteed that the hole is more of a ball park estimate as I generally get quite a bit of urine on the ground surrounding the hole..and I'll never know how much goes down the actual hole. So what I am saying is...I guess I never really knew/paid attention to how much my pee stream changes trajectory over the course of a bathroom session...and the more you have to go the worse it is going to be. So ladies the next time you are pissing in a field because your dad is having you help cut wood or move cows and you need to pee...take a little time and try to see if you can keep it all in one spot. Good luck!
Don't piss into the wind. ~Unknown