Thursday, September 29, 2011

Baby Bean Update

We are almost at the halfway point.  The baby is the size of a large baked potato. The bean weighs 7 ounces and is about 5 1/2 inches long. He/She is flexing its arms and legs. I can vouch that the flexing is happening because I felt the baby kick this week for the first time. I think the bean is going to be a night owl. It was so exciting and so crazy to think there is actually a baby growing in my stomach. What a privilege to be able to be the one who gets to carry the baby. I had a moment when I thought it is so great to be a woman.

I am feeling pretty good. I have had some heartburn which isn't exactly my definition of fun. We have our next appointment next week. We aren't finding out the sex of the baby so hopefully we won't see any hotdogs or hamburgers.

You may be thinking why aren't you finding out the sex? It is hard to wait I admit, but we live in such a world of instant gratification that we feel the delayed gratification will make this time all the more special. Don't worry the not knowing of gender has not stopped my mom one bit. She informed me the other day that she just finished a dozen burb clothes. She is a machine. Thanks mom!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Homemade Apple Cinnamon Rolls

One of the great things about living in a country with limited junk food means you have to learn from scratch. We made apple cinnamon rolls on our mini-election vacation. If you want to give it a try here is the recipe I used.

The dough rising in the sun.

The apple filling.
Jill's lovely hand rolling the dough.
Look at the team work in this rolling shot.
Our masterpiece
Homemade Apple Cinnamon  Rolls
Comments: They were more bready than sticky. I prefer my buns sticky but they were still pretty good.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Jairus' family

We got to visit the home of our friend Jairus a couple of weekends ago. We look a minibus to the rural area of Chibombo about 2 hours out of town. We got to meet his mother, aunt, and cousins. He made us lunch and showed us around the farm.

This is where they cook their meals. He
is making nshima (similar to grits) a staple
food in Zambia.
This is our lunch: epawa (wild eggplant), greens, nshima,
and, kepenta (small fish).
We had papaya for dessert.

Will is chatting with Jairus' mother in Nyanja.
Most of the family lives on this plot of land.
Lillian is crushing corn. Some will be
for the chickens and the other will be
taken to the hammer mill and made into

Friday, September 23, 2011

Will 1st 1/2 marathon

I got a shot of Will as he was about
to cross the finish line. Congrats honey!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Bean Update

I'm 17 weeks

The baby is about 5 inches long and weighs 5 ounces. The cartilage of his/her skeleton is hardening to bone. The bone of the ears and the nerve endings are forming. Soon if not already the baby can hear my voice and heartbeat.

I am feeling fine. I have some days where I am tired, but for the most part I feel great. I have my next appointment at the beginning next month.

(all of my information came from The Pregnancy Countdown Book)

I Love Birthdays

I celebrated my 32nd birthday this past Monday. The week started on Wednesday when I received all these letters and a package from my mom. My sweet husband also surprised me with flowers and made me a sugar cookie cake.We went out to eat as a house on Saturday evening and then went to one of the most random karaoke bars I have been to. All in all apart from not being with family and friends it was a good birthday.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Election Day

Today marked the Inaugural Chingombe Intern House Free and Fair Olympic Games (as coined by Will). Election day for Zambia means a public holiday for everybody. So to entertain ourselves we all came up with one relay for the Olympics. Here are the following events.

First event: find the hidden beer bottles. You have to stay with
your partner and be touching the water jug the whole time.
If you find a full beer you get two points and have to drink
it.Don't worry my partner took care of me.
Second Event: Get the toilet paper on the stick and back.
Third Event: push the water bottle
across the yard using your face.
Fourth Event: Pop the other person's
Fourth event: Wheel barrow race. Place the fruit in the bowl.
Sixth Event: Make the animal noise and mimic the animal
before hitting the water.
Award ceremony: Will's team won and mine came in 2nd.
The score sheet.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Artist's Way- Recovering a Sense of Possibility

I have slowly still been going through The Artist's Way. This is one book I am determined to finish before I return home. It haunts me.  I know it requires so much of me, and I don’t always make time for it.
This week’s Topic Recovering a Sense of Possibility

The author talks about how we continue to choose to stay blocked as artists because we are scared of what we might possess. She states that with God as our source of creativity our creative reservoirs are unlimited. “We decide how powerful God is for us. We consciously set a limit on how much God can give us or help us. We are stingy with ourselves. And if we receive a gift beyond our imagining, we often send it back.”

I have a hard time believing God cares about creativity. As I have slowly gone through this book, I have found that I becoming more confident and whole as a person. I do believe that God wants me to create. Creativity brings about something that has been lost in most people’s lives. Because I didn’t come out painting masterpieces in middle school or high school then I believe it is not possibly for me to be an artist. But isn’t art the manifestations of our creations? It is teachers and textbooks that make art an exclusive category. I am not saying there is not room for certain genres, but we should understand that the field of art is broader. Why wouldn’t we encourage one another to create? Are we too scared they would be some sort of competition?

The author claims that as we become connected with the one who has given us our creativity we become less harsh with ourselves, more trusting, less fearful, and more open. We start to depend on Our Source instead of trying to meet our needs through people, places, and things.

When we choose to stay blocked we are without this connection. We don’t often take the time we need to cultivate our creativity. One obstacle she suggests is our niceness. We put others before us so often that we are left with no time to ourselves. This lack of time keeps us blocked, our true self begins to whither away. “Virtuous to a fault, these trapped creatives have destroyed the true self, the self that didn’t meet with much approval as a child. The self who heard repeatedly, “Don’t be selfish!” The true self is a disturbing character, healthy and occasionally anarchistic, who knows how to play, how to say no to others and “yes” to itself.”

“Nobody objects to a woman being a good writer or sculptor or geneticist if at the same time she manages to be a good wife, good mother, good-looking, good-tempered, well-groomed, and unaggressive.” –Leslie M, McIntyre

Some questions
1.What would I try if it wasn’t too crazy?
2.What would I do if I weren’t too selfish?
3. The reasons I don’t believe in a supportive God.
4. Ten ways I am mean to myself.
5. What is your favorite creative block?
6. My payoff to staying blocked is…

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Warning: This post has graphic detail in regards to sexual practices.

I have recently been  revising a peer group manual which covers an array of topics in regard to HIV/AIDS. In Zambia sex and sexuality are very taboo topics. Many myths and cultural practices exist around these issues which seem to affect women and children more than most men. Because Zambia is considered a Christian nation they encourage abstinence and seem to discourage sex education. However, if they do get exposure to education around sex it is brief and tends to be more from the prospective of don't do it. Many of the numbers show that adolescents and adults are engaging in risky sexual behaviors regardless of the teaching on abstinence. 

As I was reading through the existing manual I kept seeing the words risky behavior. I asked a coworker if risky sexual behavior is more than just unprotected sex. She replied with a list of other behaviors and tucked in the middle was dry sex. Of course I asked what is dry sex (fearful of what might come up if I googled it on my work computer) and this is what she sent me.

Dry sex is a sexual practice of people having sexual intercourse with the woman not having vaginal lubrication. Vaginal lubrication can be removed by using herbal aphrodisiacs, household detergents, antiseptics,[1] by wiping out the vagina,[2] or by placing leaves in the vagina[2] besides other methods.[3]
The concept of the practice is that a dry vagina makes the vagina tight, which is supposed to increase sexual pleasure for the man.[4] Some men who insist on dry sex regard "wet" women to be unchaste.[5] However, dry sex is very painful for the woman.[1] Dry sex is common in Sub-Saharan Africa[1][2] and it has also been reported in Suriname among Afro-Surinamese women.[6]

"Dry sex" worsens AIDS numbers in southern Africa

Sub-Saharans' disdain for vaginal wetness accelerates the plague.

By Hank Hyena
Dec. 10, 1999
Dry, abrasive vaginas are seen as desirable in sexual intercourse in the vast majority of southern African cultures, notes an article in Tuesday's Village Voice. Aversion to moisture in penetration has inflamed the HIV/AIDS epidemic in this region.
Many men and women regard the smell of vaginal secretions as repulsive, the report says, plus they're embarrassed by the noise of wet sex. Dry vaginas that are swollen with friction are also tighter; this pleases the men because it makes them feel larger. One common belief holds that loose, slippery vaginas are evidence of infidelity.
Dry sex promulgates HIV/AIDS in three ways: The lack of lubricant results in lacerations in the delicate membrane tissue, making it easier for the lethal virus to enter. In addition, the natural antiseptic lactobacilli that vaginal moisture contains aren't available to combat sexually transmitted diseases. Finally, condoms break far more easily due to the increased friction.
Sub-Saharan women attain this dryness in various ways. Herbs from the mugugudhu tree are wrapped in a nylon stocking and inserted into the vagina for 10-15 minutes in a procedure that one woman described as "very painful." Mutendo wegudo (dry soil where a baboon has urinated) is a traditional Zimbabwean recipe. A crushed stone called "wankie" is also utilized, reports the Oct. 23, 1998, World African Network, as are potions called chimhandara ("like a virgin" in Shona) and zvanamina ("taste me only" in Ndebele). Shredded newspapers, cotton, salt and detergents are also used.
Young, educated, urban lovers are slowly slipping away from dry sex, but even in the cities, the practice is retained by 50 percent who regard wet intercourse as a Western import that seeks to emasculate men. Overwhelmingly, dryness retains its deadly lock in rural areas, despite attempts by HIV/AIDS activists to save lives through education.

As you can imagine I sat in disbelief and wanted to grab my crouch as I read this. This is so counter-cultural to what I know about sex. It is so hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that a woman could be of such little value to her partner. There are not words to describe the sadness I feel for these women... and these men.

Side Note: I would like to state this practice is not common among all Zambians. There are woman I work with that are Zambian and this is not a practice they would allow.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Transport-Lusaka Style

For me one of the hardest things to get used to is being immobile. We are pretty much always dependent on others to get around. Either we ride with our roommate who has a car or we call taxis to get wherever we want to go. There is also one other option: the minibus. All the non-locals also known as ex-pats have briefed us about the minibuses. It seems most expats don’t prefer them because they are so tightly packed. These buses are all over the city. This is how a lot of Zambians get to work. People literally cram into these buses where personal space is not an option. You may be sitting four people to a small bench seat.
Recently, we rode one. We were coached on what was too much to pay and how the system worked.  We were told there is a driver and usually a conductor, who also serves as the salesman. The men hang out and try and get you on their bus. The men walk up to anyone in the vicinity and says “minibus minibus”.

I had my rules and norms for minibus riding and I was ready. We approached the minibus stop for our first riding expedition. In my nonchalant but firm voice I say “How much?” I kinda keep my pace so he knows he may lose his sale. He replied 3 pin (equals about 50 cents in USD). I pause to make it look like I was contemplating his offer and then I say ok. Will and I jumped on and we headed down the road. Success!!!

I love the minibus.  It is one of those things that makes me feel like I am getting immersed into daily Zambian living. Our first experience was delightful which I am sure will lead to many more transports by minibus.

The beloved minibus.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Mmm coffee

 I have found the most wonderful café: Vasilis. It is my weekly oasis that I look forward to because I know it offers me the comforts I miss dearly. We were warned before we came that the coffee was not very good. I thought, ‘How bad could it be?” For those of you on the edge of your seat - it is bad. So bad that I have given up my daily coffee, and I LOVE coffee. Most of the coffee here is instant, which is another term for “brown water.” But back to this quaint café. It has a European mod feel. The walls are smattered with earthly tones of tile and other textured layers. It is crisp and clean with white décor. There are chandeliers hovering over rounded booths; huge glass doors that fold out like an accordion on to the patio. The patio is perched just above the local shoppers. It is a fantastic place to people watch. (Last time I was there a man came pivoting by with boxing gloves and shorts on hitting the air.) 

Creme filled ones

Iced ones.

Twisted ones

And last but not least... My Americano.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Last weekend we headed to Livingstone which is south about 5 hours. It is also where Victoria Falls is located. It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. I will try again to upload some photos. Our internet is PAINFULLY slow.

I have been feeling great. We had an ultrasound last week and the baby was sucking its thumb and stretching its legs. Our doctor let Will do some of the ultrasound which I think was really exciting for him.

15weeks and the giraffe is pregnant too.