My So-Called Zam Life

Hello friends!

I am writing to you from Chipata with a stomach full (possibly TOO full) of dairy. All Peace Corps volunteers were called into their provincial capitals for bi-yearly meetings. I am assured by my fellow volunteers that it will be boring few days, but I am honestly THRILLED to be out of my village and in civilization. The hot water and electricity are well worth hours of lectures about taking my malaria prophylaxis.

I live here now...CRAZY!

So it has been 2 months since I have been living in my hut in Kafumbwe. It has been an interesting 8 weeks, let me tell you! I wish I could count how many miles I have put on my bike, how many times I have said the words ‘sindine M’zungu… ndine Vailo’ (I’m not ‘m’znugu’… I’m Val), how often I have watched men wrestle pigs to the ground and tie them to the back of their bike. Sometimes I just look around and think, ‘wow, life sure has gotten weird’. I am trying my best to find my niche in my new community. I am trying to ‘tread water’, as they say. It’s been fun and scary all at the same time… but that’s how life should be.

Home sweet home

I am not exactly sure how I should sum up my new zam-lifestyle. I spend most of my day reading or riding my bike, as my community doesn’t really know what to do with me yet. I wake up naturally with the sun, drink coffee while I watch the women go to the fields to work with babies strapped to their backs, and try to think of things that will help me to pass the time. Sometimes I take walks to explore, but from about 9 am to about 3 pm its so unbearably hot and sunny that mostly I just desperately seek shade. I walk to get my water, but lately I have been convincing the kids to get it for me by paying them with ‘sweeties’. I cook on charcoal. When I brush my teeth at night the moon casts a shadow… even when its not full. I often fall asleep to drumming and singing (with the aid of my earplugs, anyway).


I endure laughing at my EVERY attempt to fit in, whether its shelling groundnuts or just holding a conversation in the market. I am covered in spider bites. I have a bat that really enjoys flying into my house the second the sun goes down.I had had to fish a dog out of my pit latrine. The sunsets are UNREAL, the mountains that surround my village look like something out of a fairytale, and i just received 6 packages chock full of ‘cakudya ku America’ …AKA tastykakes, candy corn, and coffee!!!! Life may be hard here, but its good.

Good to see the free condoms being put to use

I am still trying to find my purpose here. Keep praying that my community starts to collaborate with me, and that I have the passion, energy, and skill I need to actually make a difference.

The bed

The pantry

The library

The kitchen

The power plant

The audience...for everything, I mean EVERYTHING, I do!

The bathing area (roof not included)

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One Response to My So-Called Zam Life

  1. mzunguprince says:

    Val (or Vailo)-

    these pictures are awesome. the landscape is so beautiful and literally everything looks picture perfect. your house is really cool! in a strange sense, it’s like an African Ikea. very impressed.

    I know your purpose might seem a little shaky at the moment, but i promise you this is not a wasted opportunity. just remember all of the hoops you had to jump through to be a part of this and all the doors God opened for you. I know you are there for a reason, even if we don’t know what it is yet.



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