Today I walked into my bedroom in my new home, and knew that something was off. I started walking around the room, and depending on where I walked, depended on the volume of a noise that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I kept circling my room in search of the source, and it’s not a very big rectangle, so I did a few laps around my bed. I stepped a little closer to my laundry basket and “SQUAWK”!
There perched on top of my purple running shoes was the mother hen that my family keeps in the storage room. Upon further inspection, I could see the 3 little chicks that she had tucked underneath her for warmth. She seemed startled by my presence, but still very content in her new surroundings.
This was a new experience. I have never had a chicken try (they did not succeed) to move in to my bedroom before, and I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about it. And then I realized that I wasn’t any different from this chicken, besides having opposable thumbs and a lack of feathers of course.
Just like the chicken, I find myself in a new place, determined to make it feel like home. Though I have lived in Zambia for almost 6 months now, and I feel like I should know a lot, I don’t. Right now I am just seeing the tip of the cultural iceberg, and I have so much more to learn about my new environment.
So now I am trying to adapt everything that I have learned these past months and put it all to use in my new home with the Tembo family. They have welcomed me into the family with open arms, and I am very excited to be given the opportunity to get to know these wonderful people better. However, everything is still different. Just like the chicken, I am a little startled, but still very content with my new surroundings. It is going to take time for me to completely adapt to everything that I need to, but I am overjoyed by the love and support that I have received these last few weeks.
Moving to Chawama in the middle of my YAV year is allowing me to gain more cultural experiences from different perspectives, make new connections and friends, and explore in a way that I would not have been able to do living in one place. I learned so much from the environment and the people that I interacted with in Kanyama, and gained many wonderful friendships during my time there. I am blessed to be able to have multiple sources of love and compassion in my life.
This move was a good thing, because now, my Zambian family has grown twice as large. I have two families in Zambia, more friends, more allies, and more sources of information. This move has allowed me to gain more from this experience, and I greatly look forward to making new connections in Chawama, while strengthening the ones that I have already made.
Chewa proverb: M’dziko umayenda, umaona agalu a micombo.
When you walk in the land, you see dogs with different navels.
It can also be translated as:
Traveling is an enriching experience.