June 22, 2011

I No Longer Get Grumpy, Everything Is Just Silly Now

The above is a text message I recently sent to a friend when talking about my lack of patience and how it has changed in Zambia. I was on a hitch that took 8 hours to travel a distance that should only take 4 hours. There were many seemingly unnecessary stops along the way. For instance the time we stopped for 45 minutes so that he could get a 1/2 roasted chicken because he was "very hungry," only to stuff it in the cooler, untouched, and trade it two hours down the road for some frozen fish. Oh Zambia.
I didn't quite realize that my outlook was such until I found myself typing it out in T9. If Zambia has taught me nothing else, I have learned that there is no need to sweat the small stuff. It is just time...it grows from nothing in these parts, so what if it takes you all day to travel what should take only a morning. Since writing it out I have found myself in many situations that a year ago would have had me on the phone with my mother preparing bail money, but now I just sigh, let it roll of my back and continue on with my day.
The most recent example of such a situation happened just this week...
A while ago I had this "really good idea" (sarcasm implied) to hold a 7K fun run, because I missed racing so much, and then have a big HIV testing event held after the race. There were going to be PCVs every where so that Zambians could ask all sorts of questions concerning America or PC. There was going to be American music playing from loud speakers at an acceptable volume, we were going to play any given song only once, (Zambians LOVE loud music, and they can play the exact same song over and over again for 8 hours straight, trust me, I've lived it) it was basically going to be one big day of culture exchange in honor of PC's 50th year of existence. My idea was just the race, knowing that I couldn't tackle it alone I recruited a friend to help, and from there the idea grew into what was sure to be an amazing adventure. We spent many days wandering around making contact with NGOs all over Chipata, We walked all over handing out flyers and posting them to make people aware of our idea. We even applied for a grant so that all of our bases would be covered...and then something happened!
The second president of Zambia died, and a nationwide ban was put on celebrations and events until his burial...5 days before our race was supposed to happen. This man gets buried on Monday, so we missed the mark by about 72 hours. Well, no big deal Magz, just reschedule right? You would fucking think so wouldn't ya America?!? Well, shit is just not that easy here. I will have to find a time when all of the PCVs would be willing help again, which is no easy task.
American Maggie would have totally lost her shit and maybe shed a tear or two over this whole thing. (American Maggie wouldn't ever have to deal with this because this shit doesn't happen in America) I was devastated for all of 6 minutes, no tears, and then I took a deep breath and started trying to plan when it could work again.
This was the biggest example of how far I have come in the last 16 months. I haven't saved the world, or even changed it probably, when newer PCVs ask me what the biggest change I've seen in myself is I quickly say that I am more patient now. A fact that my dear friend Casey will be happy to know about. She used to hate how compulsive and impatient I could be. If I had an idea I needed it to happen NOW! That mentality is impossible here...straight impossible.

Climb up over the top survey the state of your soul, you've got to find out for yourself weather or not your truly trying. ~Jason Mraz Lyric

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