After three years with Peace Corps Zambia, I officially finished my service on May 24th. The last few weeks at Kasanka National Park were very busy trying to finish up my projects and get everything sorted out as much as possible.
As part of my work with Open Africa, I was asked to participate in a seminar to share information from our route with other tourism routes throughout Zambia. This was a great chance to talk about what has worked with the Open Africa program and what areas need more attention in the future. It was fun to meet some of the other route participants. I also had a chance to go on a game drive and stay at the lodge overnight.
I spent a week in Lusaka at the Peace Corps office, working on all the official paperwork and everything to finish my service. In honor of our closing service, we had a short ceremony at the office. There were seven of us that “rang out” together in front of other volunteers, PC staff, and counterparts. It was a short ceremony where people had a chance to congratulate us and reminisce a little bit.
Last week I went on a short vacation to Lower Zambezi National Park. Although we were only able to stay for three days and two nights, it was a great experience. We flew down in a small plane, which was a bit rough in spots, but also offered the chance to see the landscape from a bird’s eye view. Even before we reached the lodge we had already seen impala, warthog, and several elephants. We spent the next day on a game drive through the park, spotting more impala, warthog, elephants, and also kudu, waterbuck, hippos, and crocodiles. The highlight of the day was when we spotted a leopard, just lounging around taking a cat nap. On our last day, we went for a boat ride and even went fishing in the Zambezi River for a little while. Although we didn’t catch anything, we did see lots of hippos and a few crocodiles.
The only negative part of the trip was that I spent half the time in bed, sick with malaria. I had managed to survive three years in Zambia without any significant illnesses, but that all ended. Malaria is a huge problem in Zambia, and even Peace Corps Volunteers are susceptible to catching the virus. The strain of malaria that I had was very cyclical, meaning I was only really sick for about six to eight hours every other day. I had a high fever and the worst headache of my life, along with chills and sweats. Luckily, I had the medicine with me, and after a day of taking it, I felt better.
My time in Zambia is rapidly finishing. I leave on Saturday morning for a week in Cape Town. I am planning to visit my good friend Julia, who is a fellow Zambia RPCV, now studying at the University of Cape Town. I am excited to visit Cape Town, one of the oldest and most beautiful cities in Africa. We have a week of fun stuff tentatively planned, so stay tuned for the next update – from Cape Town!