Freeloading in Zambia

Saturday, November 12, 2005

The Break-in

As I previously mentioned, I am living with a family while during my training in Mwekera. After 5+ years of living on my own, it's not been easy adjusting to living on someone else's schedule. I have to eat when the family eats, I have to be to bed at a decent hour, and I can only bathe when she's got the hot water ready. I appreciate the food, shelter, etc., but this has definitely solidified my desire for independence. The fact that the Peace Corps staff have been treating us like H.S. freshman doesn't help things, and lately I have been getting the middle school urge to skip class and run away from home.

Last Saturday night, after a looong week of class, I took a well-earned break and did some drinking. It was nothing extravagant, just a couple of bottles of liquor (mmmmm, Ron Baccarat rum) some "crush" (juice concentrate) and some rousing games of ping pong. Only when we decided to turn in for the night did I realize the time - 3 a.m. Yee-ikes. I did tell my "mom" that I would be home late, but this was pushing it. "I'm TWENTY FOUR," I keep telling myself, "this is not something I should be worrying about." Well, Wyatt, right about now is when you should start getting worried.

It was late, I was drunk, and I needed to get in a horizontal position - stat. The front door was "locked" - meaning that a bent nail had been pushed over the edge of the door - so I had to knock. And knock again. And knock again, louder. I can't be sure, but I'm pretty certain that she was awake at this point. I was being loud, because I was not about to stand outside all night out of courtesy. If you don't want to be woken up don't lock the door, I'm thinking. I finally give up and start trying to jimmy it open.

The front of my house is a wall of planks nailed together (not unlike the market booths), and is semi-freestanding, so I decided to make a go of it and tried to push my way in. Keep in mind that my judgment might have been a bit impaired at this point. It was a controlled push, and I almost had the wall pushed far enough to the side that I could slip the door past the nail when 'crrrreeeaaak' - I pulled a plank off the front of the house. You all know the sound of a nail being abruptly pulled from a board, it's pretty unmistakable.

Whoops. So now I'm standing ashamed, afraid of the consequences, and with a light sweat on my brow from the exertion. Completely defeated, I start saying "Hodi, hodi, hodi," which is the Zambian way of saying "Knock, knock." She finally came and opened the door, and after a cursory apology I went straight into my room.

She never said a word about it.


  • At 6:03 PM, Blogger lauren e said…

    wyatt dean. wtf, mate. be nice to your Zambian mother and stop pulling the house apart, you hulligan.

  • At 5:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    wyatt i will always remember you

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