With just a month left in my community entry, the cold dry season in Zambia is flying by. In August our intake will come together for a 10 day in-service training and we’ll have a chance to speak speed Engish, hear about each other’s sites, and eat non-village food until our stomachs are ready to burst. But, since that’s still a month away and it’s becoming painful to think about such extravagances as chocolate cake, cold milk, and hot, running water, let’s distract our attention elsewhere.
Let’s do the numbers.
60 – Approximate volume of water (in liters) that I use each week for cooking, bathing, and doing laundry. All hauled by hand (and sometimes by head) from my local spring/well about 200 meters away from my hut.
500 – Grams of oatmeal I eat each week for my morning meal. Combined with one spoonful of powdered milk, sugar, and a few shakes of cinnamon, it’s a pretty good start to the day.
5:00 – The time every morning that my family’s rooster starts announcing the day. One bajillion is the number of times I’ve made poultry-threatening remarks, rolled over, and tried to go back to sleep for another hour.
12 – Number of active fish farmers that I currently work with in my catchment area. Between them, they have around 35 ponds in varying states of management and production.
1 – Number of live chickens that I’ve been gifted by my villagers, and then strapped to my bike to ride furiously home while it pecked at my butt and pooped all over my bike rack. Thanks, chicken.
10 – Number of wide-eyed children that watched me boil water for my supper tonight. The life of Hannah simply does not get more fascinating than this.
1 – Number of times I’ve had malaria since posting to site. This includes 2 days with a blinding headache, 102.5°F fever, and 24 little yellow pills over 3 days that cured me of it all. Countless is the number of times I’ve been grateful for modern medicine this month, and my great fortune to have access to it.
10X – The degree to which I feel more confident and able to hack it in my new home when comparing this month to last month.
900 – Approximate amount in kwacha (the world’s most rapidly devaluing currency recently) I spent during my first month in site out of a monthly allowance of around 1,700.
A handful – Number of times I seriously considered early terminating my Peace Corps service during my first few weeks. 100% glad that I chose to stick it out (with great thanks to all those friends that talked me through it) and continue on with this difficult but ultimately excellent adventure.
*This blog is in no way associated with NPR (but seriously, how ecstatic would I be if it ever were?), Market Place, or any other slogan or publication that I shamelessly parody on this blog.*