Welcome to Mfuba, Zambia

This blog tells the story of my two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in rural northern Zambia, from February 2013 through April 2015.

Actually, who am I kidding? That task proved impossible. No matter how I tried, I never got it all down here. Or anywhere. There is so much I never wrote about. Some things I just didn’t get to, some I simply couldn’t put into words.

Dance party with the kids on my front porch.

Dance party with the kids on my front porch.

How could I ever hope to convey, in mere words and photos, the pleasure of scooping my hand into a communal bowl of food under a star-lit sky, the sounds and smells and utter chaos of a Zambian market, the warm press of 10 or 20 children crowded around me, or the heartbreak of knowing that no matter how smart they are, most of those kids will never make it past Grade 7?

The Mfuba kids, walking the six kilometers to the primary school.

The Mfuba kids, walking the six kilometers to the primary school.

No, this blog offered mere glimpses. Fleeting images. Snapshots in time. Life in Mfuba, the village I called home for two years, was much more than this. Any attempt to reproduce or reenact life pales in comparison to actual living. For me, nowhere has this been more true than in Mfuba. This tiny village of 700-some people lifted me up, shook me to my core, and set me back down, exhilarated and terrified, over and over again.

As I write this, nearly a year after I finished my Peace Corps Service and left my Zambian friends and neighbors behind, I still haven’t fully recovered.

Originally, I intended this blog as a way to share with friends and family back in the States something of my life in Zambia, and something of the culture of my Bemba friends and neighbors. Instead, I mainly revealed my own hopes, fears, joys, and insecurities. I’m just beginning to see The Wanderer in Zambia for what it was: my personal attempt to make sense of it all. My sounding board for all the emotions I felt as I experienced my relationship to the world in ways I’d never experienced before.

Me with my Mfuba family. L to R, Ba Bernardi, me, cousin Line, Boyd, Cila, and Ba Agatha. (Gile's peeking out over Agatha's shoulder.)

Me with my Mfuba family. L to R, Ba Bernardi, me, cousin Line, Boyd, Cila, and Ba Agatha. (Gile’s peeking out over Agatha’s shoulder.)

We all see through our own personal lenses. I only hope that, in the end, mine revealed the great love I have for those joyful, complicated, wonderful kids who crowded my yard every day (and so many of their parents, too).

Thanks for reading.

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