Life in Zambia and life in the Peace Corps comes with a whole new set of slang, jargon, and acronyms. Some are unique to Zambia, some are unique to Peace Corps and some are even just unique to Peace Corps Volunteers in Zambia. As a general rule, adding “Zam” in front of anything makes it Zambia-specific. Here’s a quick guide in case you get confused whilst reading my blog.
Peace Corps Zambia Vocab:
Amaguy – the random guys at bus station, on the minibus, or near bars. Usually drunk, they love to hassle you and propose marriage. (i.e.: Those amaguys keep asking me where I’m going.)
AmericaLand – theUnited States of America, our beloved homeland. (i.e.: When are you going to AmericaLand?)
Bwana – used by most Africans as a term for boss, PCVs use it to mean rich or nice. (i.e.: We got a bwana hitch today.)
Hitch – from hitchhiking, the main source of transportation for most PCVS. (i.e.: The best way to get to Serenje is to hitch.)
Iwe – pronounced “ee-way”, it is the informal/non-respect version of “you” in Bemba. PCVs tend to use it to mean children. (i.e.: The iwes in my village insist on hanging out at my house.)
LSK –Lusaka, the capital of Zambia. (i.e.: Are you going to lsk anytime soon?)
Network – cell phone reception. (i.e.: There is no network in my village.)
Packet – also called a sachet, this is 60 ml of terrible liquor packaged in a plastic packet and sold for 1000 kwacha ($.20). Tends to lead to massive hangovers and bad decisions. (i.e.: I’m broke, I’m just going to buy some packets.)
Post – the post office, source of joy, disappointment, or frustration, (occasionally all three) depending on the day. (i.e.: Let’s check the post, I’m expecting a package.)
Sundowner – a cocktail served at sunset, as far as I’m concerned an awesome African tradition that I will continue to observe in AmericaLand. (i.e.: Let’s have sundowners on the porch.)
Vic Falls –Victoria Falls, the world’s most awesome waterfall. (i.e.: Rafting at Vic Falls pretty intense.)
Zam-lish – a way of speaking that makes American English more understandable to the average Zambian, especially in the village. (i.e.: He didn’t understand me until I used Zam-lish.)
Zam-Pop – the most popular form of local music, usually played loudly and on repeat, at least until the batteries in the cassette player die. (i.e.: Nafuti, Nafuti is my favorite Zam-Pop song.)
Zam-text – a text message from a Zambian that includes the following: ALL CAPS, no punctuation, random abbreviations, declarations of love, and/or indecipherable pictures. (i.e.: HOW R U 2DAY? ILVU. @—à—–)
CUA: Commonly Used Acronyms:
DAPP: Development Aid from People to People. Technically some sort of aid organization, but mostly a thrift store where I buy most of my clothing.
GLOW: Girls Leading Our World, one of the main programs I have been involved with the last two years.
GMA: Game Management Area, usually located near a National Park, but not actually protected as a park (you can legally hunt in these areas and many villages are located within the GMA)
KTL: Kasanka Trust Limited, the trust that is responsible for managingKasankaNational Park
PCV: Peace Corps Volunteer (or as some people say, People Continuously Vacationing)
PCZ: Peace Corps Zambia