I’m writing this from the comfort of my double bed. There are no bed bugs hiding out in my sleeping bag, no mice running up my leg as I try to sleep, no carpenter bees to shower me with sawdust from their construction works in the middle of the night.
I’m eating a breakfast of Special K with red berries. And milk. I didn’t have to wait for an hour to prepare my meal; the milk was ready in the fridge and the cereal in the kitchen cupboard. I didn’t have to get up at 6am to pump water, to light the brazier, to sweep the house and the front yard. I didn’t have to pay 6 kwacha 50 ngwee (approximately 80p) for a small carton of UHT milk. I didn’t have to wipe the ants off the cereal before I gave up and ate them anyway.
Life in rural Zambia is not for the faint of heart. I spent 3 months without electricity, without internet, without chocolate, without cold drinks, without fresh milk, without a bed, without my teddy bear. And I loved every minute of it. Some more than others, admittedly, but I loved every minute.
I’ve never met such profound generosity as that demonstrated by the people I met in Matuka. I will miss my friends: the teachers, the pupils, the parents, the clinic officers, the out-of-school youths, the churchgoers, the farmers, the other volunteers, the market stall owners, the drivers, the babies that cried every time they saw my scary white face…
I will not forget them.
Now that I’m back in the UK I have a lot of work to do.
Job #1 is to give my feet a good scrub. When that’s done I can move on to the fun stuff.
Part of the ICS programme is a six month commitment called Action at Home. This means that over the next six months I will be continuing my work here in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. I’ll keep you all posted with the news of my Action at Home here on LivInZambia, so stay tuned.
But I’m back as Pamela Chisenga.
Bemba by tribe, Bemba by nature.