Never Had I Ever

I leave Macha on Friday, and Zambia in a week, which unsurprisingly has occasioned a good deal of reflection on my part. I’ve learned a lot, and probably changed in many ways I don’t even know yet. Zambia has been educational in all sorts of ways, and I’ve had any number of new experiences during my time here.

Before coming to Zambia, I had never:

– Ridden a motorbike (as a passenger)

– Broken a tooth (I’ve now broken two)

– Eaten any number of foods (this is about three blog posts in its own right, and hopefully I’ll get around to writing them eventually)

– Had lunch after 4pm in the local timezone

– Received an offer of marriage (I’ve now had twelve, and expect a few more before I leave)

– Handwashed sheets and a towel and a week’s worth of laundry, all in one go

– Lost a grandparent

– Chopped tomatoes without a cutting board

– Made yogurt

– Knit a shawl in a week

– Sat for hours on a hot, crowded minibus

– Paid for my own ticket to a movie

– Cooked with margarine (and given my druthers, never will I ever again)

– Carried 17 liters of water on my head

– Babysat infant twins

– Listened to the same song on repeat for over seven hours

– Worn out a pair of flip-flops

-Washed long hair in a bucket

– Sat through a three-hour-plus church service (that I recall) or listened to sermons for an entire day

– Danced at a wedding

– Funneled petrol into a car

– Washed and rinsed dishes in less than a cup of water.

– Taught a two-hour class

– Cleaned a water filter

– Baked without a recipe

– Listened to four consecutive sermons on First Corinthians

– Climbed an approximately 300-meter ladder

– Assisted in a starlit shower at an outside faucet (use #21 of a chitenge: impromptu shower stall)

– Provided eight hours of unrelieved child care

– Climbed a sand dune (larger than a minivan)

– Used text messages as a primary means of communication

– Really lived on my own

– Heated bathwater over a fire

– Killed a chicken (or any meal, for that matter)

– Ridden a bus for 20 hours

– Carried toilet paper in my bra

– Been a millionaire

– Embarrassed my translator

– Danced in front of a thousand people

– Been threatened with arrest by someone with both authority and cause

– Lived 70 kilometers from the nearest grocery store (perhaps only 50 as the Fish Eagle flies)

– Seen African animals in the wild

– Lived without running water for any significant length of time

– Been an illegal immigrant

– Dealt with wildly unreliable power

– Participated in a break-in

-Emptied a mousetrap

– Sweet-talked immigration officials (and many thanks to the excellent fellows in the Choma office, without whose good will I would not be here today)

– Seen a cotton plant

– Bathed in rainwater

– Lied so regularly or so frequently

– Blown up a battery charger

– Sifted weevils out of my food

They say that travel broadens the mind. It certainly broadens the experiences. It’s been an interesting year.



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3 responses to “Never Had I Ever

  1. Kenner

    Wow! There’s almost a year’s worth of conversations, just to catch up on the stories behind these Never Have I Evers! Enjoy the rest of your time in Zambia. I look forward to seeing you soon…

  2. Valerie Glauser

    Miriam: I have so enjoyed reading your bog. It brings back memories of my travels and travails in foreign countries. I have not forgotten your request to find out more about how you can mine your talents and skills into a career. When you have decompressed, please ask me to make time to discuss further. Safe travels home.

  3. I want to hear about when you were threatened with arrest!

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