Tondar's Daily Rant

Prepare yourself for the writings of Tondar the Destroyer, Baron of Atlanta, Rightful Heir to the Throne of Spain, from whom all babies come. As his will be blogged, so let it be done.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

KATHERINE WATCH

Drop a couple of slices in the toaster, and get ready for another chapter of Katherine's adventures in Africa with her in-laws...

Bwanji!

So I am a little behind in my emails. AH! I just have so much to tell you!

First of all, Zambia is fabulous. All of the people here are so warm and friendly! Nkondo knows everyone! We can't go anywhere without him running into a bunch of people he knows! Of course they are all surprised to see him since they didn't know he was in town! (it was a surprise visit!)

We have been so busy while we have been here!!! I taught ESL and loved it. The school was a private Christian school, and it was great. It reminded me of my days teaching in Ghana. It is great to be called "Madame" in class too! The teaching went fast, and it was perfect since I can count it as work for my master's program at GVSU.

Life in Zambia is expensive! I know you are all thinking, but it is Africa....it should be cheap! It is totally not at all. When doing the conversions, gas costs over $8 a gallon! That's right!!! We Americans have NOTHING to complain about! And get this....a teacher's salary is about $300 a month. That is average for other jobs. I just don't know how people survive!!!The money is called Kwacha, and it is 3,300 for $1. That sounds like a lot, but things cost a lot more too. For example, buying a newspaper is 3,000 kwacha. Buying a coke is 4,000 kwacha. Yes, things are costly!!! Grocery prices are outrageous! We went to buy things to make his mom dinner, and a bag of pasta was $2! That is a lot!! Be thankful for what we have and the availability of it too!!

The weather here is great. SInce it is in the southern Hemisphere, it is winter here, but that does not mean weather like Michigan! It is their "cold season," but it is about 70+ degrees during the day, and at night it gets a bit chilly. The sun starts going down at about 5pm, and it is completely dark by 6pm. What a change from home!!!

The food here is great. Nkondo has cooked several Zambian dishes in the states, so I had a little preview of what I would have. It is great! We eat this stuff everyday called nshima. We have nothing like it at home. I will have to make it for you sometime! It reminds me of mashed potatoes, but it doesn't have potatoes in it at all!!

Health here is so different. OF course I am taking pills to reduce my chances of getting malaria. That is such a killer here and throughout Africa. I also bought meds just in case I come down with malaria. It was $30! No wonder people can't afford things when they are sick!!!

Nkondo surprised me and took me out to a reptile park. We saw loads of wildlife and we even got to hold a python snake! Yuck! I hate snakes! Once when we were driving (oh, they drive on the other side of the road here too!) Nkondo ran over a snake! Roadkill!

Now, the biggest event of my time here was the bridal shower, also called the kitchen party. It is called that becase typically people give all gifts for your kitchen in your new home, but since I couldn't carry those things I got some small gifts and people donated money towards our wedding. The party was HUGE! It felt more like a wedding than a shower! There were about 200 people there, and it was outside. There was a DJ and drummers were hired too. The food was catered in, and everyone had a great time. THere was loads of dancing and each had a cultural explanation behind it. In Zambia, there are 72 languages! There are 72 because there are 72 tribes. Nkondo and his family are Tonga, so there were lots of Tonga dances. Everyone was decked out in beautiful attire, and even Nkondo and I had African clothes made that matched!

At the beginning of the shower, I had to stay in the house and not let anyone see me. Then I had to be escorted out with a group of ladies singing, chanting, clapping, and dancing. While they were slowly bringing me out, I was covered with a veil. Nkondo was then escorted out and he had to "unveil" me and give me flowers. He danced and then kissed me. Everyone was cheering they wanted more, so we kissed again. And the best part, this whole event is on video! I can't wait to show you! It was a wonderful experience. It was so overwhemling because our showers are so different, but it was amazing!!!

OK, enough for now. I have to run. I have one more email to write you in a few days! I am almost on my way home now! It is sad to leave my new family!

HOpe you are all doing well!

Twalumba!
Kat

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