And More Bats…

The second half of November was just as busy as the first half. The bats are still here, most likely until the middle of December. We hosted a third school group, this time a group of twenty 9th graders from a private school in Ndola. Unfortunately, I was only able to work with them for one day before I had to go in to Serenje for the bi-yearly provincial meeting. We have these meetings twice a year (in June and November), so that all the PCVs can get together and discuss with staff members any concerns and changes that have been made. This was my sixth provincial meeting, all of which I’ve attended in Central. Provincials are both overwhelming and a lot of fun. This time seemed especially stressful for me, since I do not know a lot of the new volunteers very well and there are thirty people in Central now, which is the most there have been since I’ve been here. To add to the fun, the city water was not working most of the time, which made doing dishes and flushing the toilet a little tricky.

While at the provincial meeting, we also celebrated Thanksgiving. We slaughtered three of the turkeys that we have been raising and attempting to fatten up for the last few months. We also had the tradition Thanksgiving trimmings – green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, and even pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce. I was in charge of the stuffing, which was a new adventure to me. But, with the help of the internet I got it figured out and made some delicious stuffing. It was a great meal, and it was wonderful to be able to share the meal with my Peace Corps family. It was also fun to share the tradition of Thanksgiving with the Zambian staff members that were visiting from Lusaka.

Another PCV from Central Province brought her Chongololo Club to the park for a visit. A Chongololo Club is a school club for primary school students that focuses on environmental education. This group was ten kids from a village in Mkushi, along with two teachers. It was a whole different experience sharing the park with these kids from a village compared to the kids from private schools. It was great for them to have the chance to see the wildlife, and especially to see the bats. For the majority of the kids, it was the first time they had even been to Serenje District so visiting a game park was a great new experience for them.

We also had a reporter visit Kasanka from The Post, which is Zambia’s leading newspaper. This reporter came up from Lusaka to visit Kasanka to see the bats and learn more about Kasanka, including the Community Relations Project. We spent most of the day with this reporter, explaining about the projects we support, and visiting of the farmers that we have been working with for a while. He also had the opportunity to go on a game drive and see the bats. Apparently my picture was in the paper on Friday – but I have yet to actually see it. This is the first time that I’ve gotten my picture in the paper – and a caption with my name in it at that!

It’s hard to believe that it is already December. For Christmas I am planning to go to Lusaka for a few days. It doesn’t really feel like Christmas, mostly because it is hot and humid instead of snowy and freezing. This is probably good, since I think it keeps me from being homesick. For New Year’s I am planning to go down to Livingstone and Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. There is a big music festival on the Zim side called Falls Fest with several big acts from South Africa. Last year the event was a big success and this year they are expecting over 5000 people to show up. This will be the third big music festival I’ve attended in Africa, and I am really excited about it.

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