this past week has been extremely busy as PST is starting to wind down. we have all of our final tests coming up, as well as some last second projects that we need to complete before we can change our acronym from PCT to PCV. on top of all that i've been selected to give the speech for the bemba LIFE group at the swearing-in ceremony, so there will be some extra work involved there as well. but, we only have a week left and then we will be heading to our villages, which i think everyone is excited about. i also found out that my village is called muyembe, and is located in kawambwa district, and is supposed to be very nice.
the big excitement of the last week was that my homestay family's house was attacked by impashi, or red ants. i woke up at about 1 a.m. on tuesday and could hear them talking out in the yard. i wondered what could be going on but fell asleep again before i could give it much more thought. when i walked outside the next morning the yard had been burned--there isn't much vegetation in the yards anyways since they intentionally keep them bare in order to be better able to see snakes, prevent their houses from getting burnt by run-away fires, and not provide a habitat for malaria-carrying mosquitoes. but what little greenery there had been was now gone, and i asked my bataata why. he explained that the red ants had attacked and then had started for my house so they had to burn the yard in order to stop them. red ants here can attack in the millions, and they bite viciously just as the ones in the states do, and there is really no way to drive them away except with fire which has some obvious drawbacks. so, my homestay family was forced to spend the entire night out in their yard while the ants took over their house. my bataata said that they saw them crawling down the walls of the house and ten minutes later the entire room was completely blanketed with them...it's an unpleasant experience to say the least, and i'm glad i was spared it, although i felt badly for my family that couldn't sleep the entire night.
my mailing address is going to be changing once i leave here; if you are planning on sending me a letter, please send it to the new address since i will be gone from kitwe by the time any letter sent from the u.s. gets here:
PO Box 710150
please remember that the envelope must say "air mail" on it or it will be put on the slow boat to china. the pc house in mansa, my provincial capital, does not currently have internet so my access to email is going to be extremely limited, if i can get it at all. i will always enjoy receiving emails, but if you write to me via snail mail i promise to write back to you--i can get your mailing addresses from the letters you send me. i may actually be getting a PO Box in kawamba, the nearest town, since i will only be in mansa about once a month. i will be sure to let everyone know the new address if i do get it; if i do, the kawambwa address will probably only be good for letters, packages would be safest going to the mansa address.