Monday, February 26, 2007

Lights Out!

Here is a picture of me in a power outage.
The power has gone out several times during my short stay here. Last week it went out three times in one day. And last night it went out just before dinner and didn't come back until the middle of the night when I woke up and the lights were on.

Fact: It is very hard to see a Zambian in a power outage.

Friday, February 23, 2007

The Flood of 2007

The other day we had a pretty stellar storm a brewin' here. There was rain and wind like I've never seen was awesome!

What wasn't quite as thrilling was the water that spilled in under our door, creating a mini flood of sorts. We had one old towel to try and stop the mighty waters which we must have rung out about 15 times.

And here is a random fact: You know that song by Toto about the rains in Africa? I always thought it was "I'll miss the rains down in Africa" but it is actually "I bless the rains down in Africa"...huh, who knew! Well, I'm with ya Toto!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Week One: She Saw a Little Sun!

Here's something I like about being in Zambia: the sun shines here! And in the bleak mid-winter I can only assume the question that yearly plagues many of your minds..."Is Shannon actually albino?" Well, low and behold I am not.
Yesterday for orientation we took a walk around the neighbourhood. "The Farm" is located about half an our outside of town, so it's a more rural area, which I love. We got to visit some people in the surrounding area and get a tiny taste of life out here...along with a little reminder that sunscreen is important! (I'll be black before you know it!)

Last night I found this gecko on the wall of our hut above my bed. I tried to take a picture, but it was too quick for me. You can see the tail if you look close. I don't mind these guys because apparently they eat the mosquitoes and spiders! Random facts/highlights of my first days here:
- it is the rainy season right now...although Shannon still gets sunburned. Nothing like BC, it rains hard for 10 minutes and then stops. It can also be quite windy and stormy.
- we are 10 hours ahead of West Coast time
- they drive on the left side of the road
- I was in my first accident. I wasn't driving but we got sideswiped in a round about. No one was injured in these events.
- they go by military time in Zambia
- jet lag stinks!
- we are on well water where I live so you can drink straight from the tap. Last time I was here you had to purify it first and I hated the taste so I thought I would be dehydrated for a year cause I didn't want to drink the water!
- the language I am learning is called Nyanja
- this evening we had to rescue our seven puppies from these nasty biting ants. Apparently these ants can kill an elephant because they burrow everywhere and pretty much drive the elephant mad until it kills itself by bashing it's head into trees and alike.
- Benjamin Franklin invented bi-focal glasses (I didn't learn that here but thought I would share)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Hut, Sweet Hut!

Check out the new "Digs" (as the young people say)! Welcome to my humble abode. How awesome is it that I get to live in a hut in Africa. Below is a little tour of where I live. It is a large property of Action Zambia called "The Farm". Here is where most of us single people live as well as one of the familys on the team. This is also where we host short term teams. It is outside of town and right next to a little Bar that seems to enjoy blaring music...Shakira , seems to be a favorite!
(click on the pictures to make them bigger)
The Hut - where my "hutmate" Steph and I reside

Inside Look- I sleep on the right, under my net

Shower (right)/Toilet (left)- where I take my monthly shower

The RoofHuts from a distance- there are three in total on the property, mine is on the left

Near the front gate

The main house- where we cook, eat, some sleep, and keep the Zebras

So there you have it. My first post from Zambia. I have been struggling with the ol' jet lag...I guess I'm not as young as I used to be. These old bones just don't bounce back like they used to! I'm off to drink prune juice. I'll keep you "posted" (ha, pun...again).

Friday, February 09, 2007

The Skinny

We'll see how this list evolves and changes once I get there...

Most excited about: music

Most scared about: snakes

One thing I want to learn: to dance not so “white-like”

What I hope to accomplish: world peace and a cure for AIDS

Determined to: eat weird things

What I will miss the most: TV…just kidding, you

Who I will miss the most: Dwight Schrute

TV shows I will miss the most: The Office, The Amazing Race, Survivor at the Zanbergen’s with the gang, and Ellen

What did I pack just for fun/sentimental value: pictures (especially my sweater pics), my “Office” calendar, a Nerf basketall hoop and ball (Nerf guns would have been too big), my travel mug, travel chopsticks, and a puppy (okay, there’s no puppy)

What I’m not looking forward to: getting sick, missing home, culture shock, seeing things that break my heart, wearing skirts all time (the inhibit the frequent high kicks I like to do)

What I’m looking forward to: meeting new friends, experiencing a new culture, adventure, the sun, taming a lion

What will I do as soon as I get off the plane: sing the introduction from the song “The Circle of Life”

Another thing I want to learn: to play the drum

Something unexpected I packed: long johns (not the doughnuts, the undergarment)

Something God has taught me through this process: to wait, patience (still not so good at that)

When is my birthday: May 19th …please come to by birthday party

What’s the most annoying thing about my computer keyboard: the shift key keeps falling off!!!

Mr. Sticky

This just in…today I took the bus into New Market, a town north of Toronto, and hit up the mall. I was in Sears when I heard it. An announcement rang true over the loud speakers of the store that stated I needed to locate the flashing orange light and I would receive something free! So of course I took off like a house on fire towards that orange light. I joined other eager 10 year olds as the first to arrive…their parents followed suit. The anticipation was high as we waited with bated breath for our host to arrive. She finally arrived and huddled us close to her demonstration table where she proceeded to hand us our free “Microfibre lens cleaning rag”. Now I can clean all sorts of things like glasses, CD’s, camera lenses…plus I can throw it right in the wash!!! Isn’t that great. She then took the liberty to introduce us to the feature product… “MR. STICKY”!!! This amazing rolling lint cleaner will be the only one I need for the rest of my life. It also has a little brother “JUNIOR STICKY” and a big brother “GIANT STICKY” who comes on a big stick (haha, pun). It’s soon to be on the shopping channel but I could have got it there first for only $29.95. I took my free microfibre rag and hit the road. My friend, Sandy, and I once fell for the “Extreme Edge Knife” about 6 years ago. Who could say no to the free fillet knife and juicer? So you heard it here first folks…keep your eyes out for “MR. STICKY”…he won’t let you down. And now all my lenses will be dirt free!

Heart Stopping Drama...

In between times here in Ontario where I am visiting with celebrities or working as one of the "Deal or No Deal: Canadian Edition" girls I have spent much of my time reading...or trying to do so. I was supposed to have read these four books before I got to Zambia in preparation for orientation, but of course, just as when I was at school, I have left it til the last minute. What makes things even more difficult is that I am barely literate! I've knocked down about 250 pages here and only have another 300 or so to go! So there you have it...the latest late breaking action! Stay tuned to find out how I will condense the two carry-on bags that I came with into one, because British Airways only allows one.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Greetings From Ontario

And we're off! I have successfully found myself in Ontario. After a power outage in the middle of the night when we were supposed to be up at 4am to get ready go to the airport my family and I found ourselves getting ready in the dark. That's pretty much a nightmare to have your power go off the one morning you really need to arise on time. (Like that Seinfeld where Elaine was hosting that marathon runner and he slept in and missed his race, and then the next time he stayed with Jerry and missed it again...anyone with me? Anyways...) But we made it. The flight to the big "T.O" was smooth sailing and me and all my luggage arrived intact! It's cold here, but nothing a few dozen layers can't handle! I'll report more as it happens, stay tuned for the action that is sure to be riveting!!

Friday, February 02, 2007

The Final Countdown!

The day is almost here, the adventure is about to begin. I am set to leave at 6:30am on Sunday Feb 4th (Super Bowl Sunday). I will be flying to Toronto where I will spend a glorious week seeing Ontario for the very first time...I hear this is the best time of year to go! It makes things a little tricky when you are trying to pack for Africa but are making a detour to the land of "stinkin' cold"! Thanks to friends and their families and friends I should be covered for the week as far as finding places to stay! Then on Feb 11th I set out once more, stopping in London for 12 hours, then off the final destination of Lusaka, Zambia...arriving at 6:50am on Tuesday, February 13th. I will then jump right into orientation that morning.

This past week has been a week of goodbyes and getting ready to go. It's hard to say goodbye to the people I love but I'm excited for the year ahead...a real mixed bag of emotions, surreal almost. So in the words of Glass Tiger: "Don't forget me when I'm gone!"

A Surprise!

If there is one night of the week I am going to miss the most here it would be Thursday night! I will miss it most because this is the night "The Office" is on...just kiddin' (well, I really like that too). Thursday night is youth night and this past Thursday was my last for a while and the last with this specific group. We spent the evening helping out at the MCC Wharehouse, loading clothes into a container bound for India and also trying to find Megans coat with her keys and phone that accidentally got thrown amidst the endless bags of clothes! (we found it though!). When we got back to the church they totally surprised me with a little farewell hootenanny! They decorated, baked, shoved my face in a cake, tried to push me in a kiddie pool and that is why I love them so. So this one goes out to the ones I love...the Bakerview youth. I'm gonna miss you guys!