Monday, June 18, 2012

And I'm off once again. WHOO HOOO

T-minus 22 hours until I am on a plane headed back to Zambia!

Thank you all for the amazing response and support. Paint the the Movement is up to 115% which is just insane and so amazing. Donations came in from everywhere and we are just so grateful. A school that was pen pals with Cheleshe Chipele have been doing car washes and bake sales and put us over the edge.

It's hard to believe this all came out of one phone conversation and I can't wait to see how it continues to grow. If you would like we are transitioning our website into a blog format so you can come with us! I probably won't be posting much on this blog but using instead. Because lets be honest, I've never been great at the whole blogging thing at two is just too much to handle. But please subscribe or check in every once in a while at Paint the Movement and we will be posting pictures and stories along the way.

Thank you so so so much for making this happen

Love you all!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Almost there

Hey Y'all!

 I thought I would check in and give you an update on Paint the Movement. If you haven't seen the video or the site yet or are just in the mood for some mj and adorable kids, check it out

We launched the site on leap day, February 29th, and in just under a month have raised 71% of the funds. The support we have been getting has been absolutely amazing. People have been sending out emails to their friends and family, putting us on their blogs, talking about us on facebook and its working! We are getting wonderful messages of support and donations from people we didn't know but are now part of the paint the movement family. And getting an astounding amount of love from those that have been putting up with us for years. It actually feels like we are going to be able to do this. I'm looking at flights!!! (sorry for the amount of exclamations in this note but this is too awesome. and for those of you that don't know-I get a huge rush off of buying plane tickets) The more we work on the project and planning the actual week long learning event, the more excited I get. I know I have a slightly biased view but Paint the Movement is going to rock our faces off and have the potential to be better than any of us thought posible. I just can't wait til we are with the kids and teachers painting up a storm! And who doesn't love talking about practical but creative ways to teach and grow. I know I'm a dork but for real.

 We gave ourselves two months to raise the money and were able to raise 50% in the first two weeks. We now have only 2,500 to go. The rate of our donations has slowed down but that is to be expected. We need to reach beyond our immediate network and keep spreading the love. So if you've thought about it but haven't yet, send it out. If you have, we love you and keep it up.

Sending love and joy (and hopefully a post soon saying we made it!)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Start Spreading the Word

Hey everyone sorry for the cliff-hanger of a blog last time and then silence for awhile. We have been planning, organizing, and figuring out the best way to get out project out! We have landed on using a website called chip-in. It is a crowd-funding site where people can read about the project and donate whatever they desire through paypal. We have some pretty awesome incentives coming up for donations. We will also have all kinds of information, videos and pictures about the project. The challenge with chip-in is the only people that will see it, are people we share it with. So that is where you come in! We need help passing this project and site around. Our chip-in will go live Feb 29th and we will have til the end of April to raise 8,500 dollars. But we want to started with a bang. So start thinking of who you know that would love to be a part of this. We have put together a little video get the energy and excitement started. Enjoy! 1 week and couting...

The basic idea of the Paint the Movement. Moving Bodies. Growing Minds.
We are going back with the goal of helping physically disabled children at Chileshe Chepele Special Needs School in two significant ways.

1. We will be holding a teacher training for all the teachers focusing on utilizing physical therapy materials and equipment they have, fine motor skills, and alternative and creative ways to include physical therapy in the classroom. The best way to grow is through education and who better to educate than teachers that can turn around and pass it along. It can be the beginning of sustainable change and give some needed support to these motivated teachers.

2. While Ellyn and the district Physical Therapist are facilitating the workshop. Ashley and I will be prepping a mural. On the final day, students and teachers will come together and paint a mural at the school with everything we got; from the fine motor skills development to the hand prints of the children. It will be a chance to bring art to these children, something that they rarely get. We hope it will allow them to express themselves creatively and contribute to a powerful group message that will impact the entire community.

Love you all

Thanks for staying tuned

Sunday, January 15, 2012

coming to americaland

Hello all who are still reading!

First let me say I kind of failed at the whole blogging thing. I started strong and then it seemed life happened and I moved away from writing it down. I want to say thank you for all the letters, packages, emails, and thoughts. I don't think letters have ever been so exciting. Many were reread, shared and all of them were saved and brought back to America with me. Thank you for all that posted blogs for me! I am so thankful I had such a supportive network here. It was a big two years for y'all with engagements, weddings, kids, family loses, adventures, and funny daily stories that make life amazing. Thank you for sharing them and seeing that I was still connected to them even though I was half a world away. And thank you for putting up with all the stories about Zambia stateside. I feel like everyday the phrase "in Zambia..." comes out of my mouth and I don't think they are stopping anytime soon so thanks for patience and interest; both feigned and genuine. 

You might think its weird that I choose now to write another post but I feel like I can finally reflect a bit on my experience. Plus the education group that came the year after me and I helped trained just had their close of service conference. They are headed back to their villages and communities, passing off their projects, and saying goodbye. I can't believe its already time for it to all happen again. I can't really believe I've not only left but have been home for over 6 months. So it got me thinking...

The two questions people ask now that I'm back are; "How was it?" and "Did you love it?". And while the full answers to those questions will take years to fully realize and explain, I can say for the record it was truly amazing and I loved it all. I would often find myself saying I can't believe this is my life. While there were hard days and moments, there was never a day I wanted it to be over or come back. I left sad to leave, a little bit heart broken but knowing that chapter was done and I was coming home. Well I was partially right. A chapter might be done but the journey continues and home is slowing starting to feel like a place spreading across the globe. I thought about trying to recap my last year of service for you seeing as this was supposed to be a blog about my time in Zambia. But nothing really ever turns out the way you intend it to and often that slow shift and change makes things more valuable. So lets see what happens.

Over the last few months I have been trying to figure out what it all meant and what it means my next big step is. I have always walked into my adult life with set time breaks and experiences. college 4 years: goal-graduate and do the whole college thing. portland no more than 2 years: goal-support myself, learn a new city, and make sure peace corps was what I still wanted. and it was so Zambia 27 months: goal-be apart of as much as I could and help along the way. But now here I stand with no time limits, many goals in life, and difficult decisions to make. My time in Zambia gave me more confidence as a person but has made me realize how complicated and layers our world is which in turn as made me an even more indecisive person. (i know- who knew that was possible) My heart is pulled in two directions. I go back and forth between my ideological self "a person can add value and change to the world" and my now slightly jaded self "it was an amazing experience but we can't change whats happening". I question what change I made while in my community and if that change was good. I feel I probably got the better end out of the exchange. I wonder could I have done more? Did I loose part of myself as an artist and musician by stepping away for so long? Is the expat life the one I want? Or is teaching what still makes me happy? And can I combine all the worlds and I lives I want?

I know the problems of a privileged white girl. So I'll stop spinning and making you listen or more read any more of it. What will come out of all the indecision is yet to be seen but I'll keep you posted. For now I am only trusting the direction my heart is telling me to go. Which is first BACK TO ZAMBIA! and the adventure continues...

A few months ago my friend Ellyn (fellow returned peace corps volunteer) and I were talking on the phone and were both struggling with many of the same questions and one thing seemed to be so true. We both knew we had to go back to Zambia soon and had the next project in mind. Ellyn worked with this amazing special needs school in Northern Zambia and was now back still thinking about a physical therapy and fine motor skills training she had been planning and writing a manual for but never got to do. I was wishing I had included more music and art into my teaching time and was dying to get back and do another project with kids. We pulled in our other friend Ashley to help us merge these thoughts and make it actually happen. So now we have this awesome four day workshop involving bringing art and painting a mural into physical therapy and fine motor skills. As three broke ex-volunteers needless to say funding is going to be a problem but we're working on it. We are looking at different grants and ways to raise money so stay tuned!

I always feel a bit egotistical when writing a blog so thanks for sticking with me and indulging my thought process. Sorry this is a long one but its been awhile. I hope you'll continue to follow my journey. I'm starting the blog back up and hopefully we can make this project come to life! Enough about me how are you?! I'd love to hear how life is looking for you

Love to you all-Mutende Mwane (peace to you)


Monday, August 16, 2010

Letter from Stevie! Postmarked 7.26.10

Letter from Stevie! Postmarked 7.26.10

Editor: Monica Lucero

(editor’s note: I hope I got the African words right Stevie!! Love your style, we don’t measure our years like this often enough- what an awesome year you’ve had! Xo!)

“How do you measure, measure a year.”

(It’s amazing how often RENT gets stuck in my head…could be all the talk of AZT, ARVs, or all the candle lighting)

Well first let me apologize! I have majorly been slacking! I mean December? Merry Christmas? 6 months since my last entry? PATHETIC! I’ll try and stay more on top of it but to be honest no promises…

A couple of big things have happened in the past 6 months so lets do a quick review


- brought in the New Year in Malaui- fabulous

- enjoyed mango season- already miss it!

- Got some weird sand worms from Malawi- no further details needed

- It rained- a lot!


- went to Zanzibar with a big group of volunteers to go to an African Music fest and sit on the beach- the trip was amazing! Good music good food, good people, and THE OCEAN! Longest I have ever (and hopefully will ever) be away from the ocean.

- Still more rain

- Lots of school fun


- helped train the new group of volunteers that flew-in-newbies!

- Went back to Iwaka at the end of the month for a conference and ended up singing with a live band at a bar- a little Lauryn Hill


- had a huge Easter extravaganza with some volunteers stationed in other provinces. They all made the treck to NW and we made tons of food all weekend- Easter brunch= bloody mary’s, challan bread French toast, and bagels from scratch

- went to a few rehearsals with the guys I met at the bar and performed at this swanky Italian restaurant for an event the Italian Embassy was hosting- random!

- Had to say goodbye to a lot of volunteers that made up a large part of my life here- but finished their service- miss them tons!

- Mufumbue had elections for a new Parliament member. Things got a bit violent and we stayed far away!


- Had my mid-term conference- only one year left!

- Stayed in Iwaka for some medical fun- I’m ok!

- Had provencial then country wide meetings

And here we are in June! So now you are caught up on the highlights but there is one thing I want to go back and discuss before I move on. It’s kind of a big one…

April 25th 2010 was my one year anniversary of being an actual Peace Corps Volunteer. It means I am over half way done with my time in Zambia!

And with that comes all kinds of mixed emotions. I asked myself how do you measure a year?

One Year in Zambia equals…

- books read- 45 (Editor: WOW!)

- Schools visited- 7

- Nursery schools opened- 2

- Countries visited- 3

- Painfully long staff meetings- 49

- Hours spent hitching- well over 500

- Times I’ve seen apples for sale in Mufumbue- 3

- Provinces in Zambia seen- 6

- Zambian water falls visited- 3

- Kids in my yard daily- 8-13 (editor: “noodles” ☺ )

- Tables my host father has fit into my hut- 7

- Bafwas I have had built- 4

- Kitenge items I have sewn- 31… Christmas stockings, postcards, clutch, guitar strap, bags, earrings, 1/3 of a quilt

- Phone cases I have made and lost- 3

- This American lifes I have listened to – 62+

- Hours waiting for a ride at Kasempa turn off- 27

- Elephants I’ve seen- 4

- Bridges I have jumped off- 1

- Times I have performed in Lusaka- 3

- Pillows I had to destroy because of mold- 2

- Bags of charcoal- 4

- Times I took the bus instead of hitching- I still ask why I did that to myself- 7

- Pairs of reefs I wore to the ground- 3

- Engagements of weddings of close friends and family- 15- seriously guys!

- Volunteers that have visited my house- 11

- Other volunteers sites I’ve seen- 16

- Coloring books my kids have finished- 4

- Days I wanted to leave Zambia- 0 (moments? Yes, but entire days? Never)

How do you measure a year?

Seeing how I just finished reading High Fidelity here are some of my top 5’s…

Top 5 Zampop artists (enjoy the names)

- Dalisoul (youtube it! You know you want to!)

- Mampi

- JK

- Ozzy

- Cosmo

Top 5 artists I only love b/c

- Lady of Zambia Gaga

- Rhiana (well that’s not new, bit the conviction is)

- Akon

- Kesha

- All Zampop

Top 5 artists I have rediscovered and constantly have on:

- Bill Withers

- Michael Jackson

- Sara Berallis

- Amas Lee

- Sam Cook

Top 5 Zamlish Phrases

- sorry sorry (pardon me/sorry!/oops)

- I am used (I have adjusted)

- Ka-small (very small ka in front of any thing to make it small)

- You are creating (you are lying)

- At reast! (at least…)

Top 5 words in any of the Zambian languages

- mwane- used for everything

- bufi- bemba- lies!

- Twakosa- kaonde- we are strong

- Kafwako- kaonde- nothing

- Chambwende- luvalle- perfect/exactly

Top 5 vices I kind of liked in America that I can’t live without here

- salt

- Coca cola

- Crisps or potato chips

- Chips or fries

- Milk chocolate

Well I’ll stop there for now but I love and miss you all!

Mushale Bulongo

Saturday, December 26, 2009

"The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear"

Next Wednesday marks my nine month anniversary in country. This seems absolutely crazy. I am constantly mixed with feeling I just left, feeling like I have been gone forever, and feeling like I have so much more to go and work has just started. While my friend Brittany is talking about having a "It could have been a Baby" party, (who said theme parties had to die in college it dawns on me that the holiday season is upon us! The weird thing about time, is we all measure it differently. For the majority of my life, my years were measured by grade levels and summer vacations; then flights home, concerts, papers, finals, shifts, gigs, buying plane tickets, changing seasons, and of course holidays! I no longer have the majority of those things to measure tie and while there are "seasons" in Zambia, it's really not the same. If you think Northern California is moderate and never changes much as far as weather goes, think again. Zambia has 3 seasons; cold, hot, and rainy. Cold is from about June-Aug. and really isn't cold. It's true the mornings and evenings do cool down, but the days are hot and sunny. Hot season as you might have expected is HOT and dry. Rainy Season is rainy (shocking, I know) but when the sun comes out it gets pretty hot. You know it will never rain in cold and hot seasons, and you know it will rain at least once a day during rainy season. And while the small weather changes do affect me more with no insulation, heater, ice, or popsicles, I am always in a skirt and t-shirt; give or take a scarf and sweater in the morning. Rainy season I never leave without my rain jacket and random plastic bags.
But I digress…..the reason I started the topic is because without the same seasons as the West Coast, I don’t really grasp that time is moving there as well as here. It might be a bit egocentric but part of me still thinks it’s snowing in Portland. I know life didn’t stop when I left, but I have no concept of the day to day, so only the big events seem to bring me back to reality; like the fact that Joshy is actually in college; and way too many people are now engaged; and Christmas!
As many of you know, I LOVE Christmas. I think Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving, and Christmas should all be thought of together. A time of family, friends, cocktails, crafting, god food, good laughs, cuddling, Christmas movies/musicals, trees, tea, and of course Christmas music! And I start early. None of this wait ‘til after Thanksgiving shit. I start November 1st baby. (well to be honest, most years I have to working start on some kind of Christmas program in Oct) This year, even though I was in a sundress, I was cleaning my hut to the most awesome Christmas play-list in the morning on the 1st. It was fabulous. And really I have to do all I can here to make it actually feel like the holidays. This holiday season holds a lot of firsts for me. (like most of what I have done in Zambia…I guess that one was a bit too obvious) While I won’t be getting little booties to hang on the tree saying “Baby’s First Christmas”, this one might end up being more signifigant….A Christmas of Firsts!
This will be the first Christmas in my memory that I won’t be spending on Montego Key, which means this is the first Christmas away from my family (Last years freak snowstorm aka “arctic blast 2008” was a close call…but was saved by Craigslist…got to love it) …and NO bloody marys! With any luck I’ll be able to find something resembling tomato juice and vodka, but honestly there is nothing better than bloody marys at the Greenwells.
This will be my first Christmas out of the country; my first Thanksgiving sans family as well and will also be turkeyless. This will be the first holiday season I won’t make haystacks with my mom and stay up til midnight Christmas Eve wrapping presents along with the rest of my family, all ducking into different rooms avoiding someone different every ten minutes.
This will be the first year in who knows how long hat I won’t be singing in any type of Christmas program. First year with no tree, or lights, or hell…even electricity. First New Years with no ocean and I’m sure the list can go on….but never fear, not all firsts are bad and life here is totally worth it. It will be my first North-West (Zambia) Thanksgiving. All the Volunteers in the Province are coming and we are doing a Zam-style/Americaland Thanksgiving with lamb, chicken, and soya, instead of turkey and tofu-rkey. My mom is sending “White Christmas” so I can bring the tradition and greatness to the Peace Corps House. There will not only be lots of carols but I’m sure plenty of Christmas crafting, decorations, and a Christmas bed!

And while you are all bundled up and pale, I will be sitting on the shores of Lake Malawi with a group of people I love and eating fresh mangos. (still probably pale as well) New Years will include a full moon and hopefully just enough craziness. Plus, not only do I get to avoid all the holiday shopping commercials, I get to celebrate a whole 10 hours earlier. (Most five year old kids would kill for Christmas morning 10 hours earlier than last year)
So Happy Holidays everyone! I hope you enjoy the people around you and embrace all the cheesy and wonderful parts of this tie of year. I miss you all and love you all so much. Eat lots of food, drink good (or cheap) wine, sing carols as much as possible, and enjoy the lights……I’ll miss the lights for sure. Travel safely, and if you can, check in on my mom. I think all these firsts will be hard on her too.
And remember: Will Ferrell said it best…. "The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear"

10 points if anyone knows what a Christmas bed is….
20 if you can correctly guess how many times I used the word Christmas without counting…..there really is no good synonym for that one….

(included in a letter written to Maggie Nov. 14, 2009 and posted by Dad)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

All That Glitters is Gold

Posted by Karly
Written May 13, 2009
(Sorry for the delay. I was out of the country, then I moved. It took awhile for the letter to catch up with me)


First, let me preface this entry by saying that I believe people are born with a sexual preference and people don't choose to be gay or straight. And while I am straight, I admire those who embrace who they are even when it can be a more difficult path. I will continually fight for equal rights and think they gay marriage struggle in America has gone on way too long. That being said, I don't think I will continue the fight in Zambia.

In Zambia being gay doesn't really exist and if it did, it would be illegal. One of the good sides of this (if there could ever be one) is the fact that men can be as feminine as they like. Grown men can wear pink cheer camp t-shirts. Guys hold hands in public. Men can sing as high and as loud as they want, and basically act as openly gay as they wish to and no one assumes anything because there isn't even the question of gay or straight. As heart-breaking as it is to see a clearly gay man and know he will never accept a part of him, it still makes me smile just a bit when I see a man just flaunting it!

Today I walked past the most flamboyant bike I have ever seen. Now a lot of people in Zambia trick-out their bikes with reflectors or crazy mud flaps, but this one went above and beyond. It was wrapped in streamers, covered in fake flowers, and even had a pinwheel on the handlebars. The driver of said bike is part of the praise team at the Church of Destiny and when I walked into the church and saw him tuning a guitar-like instrument, I thought, "now there is a homosexual." I felt so bad for him knowing he could never truly be himself (with that said, I don't actually have any idea what the underground gay scene is. As far as I now, no one has heard of any. Lusaka might be a different story, but where I am, I think the chances are slim--but there must be something, right?) So I sat there thinking, "at least this boy can sing and no one will say anything," but he broke my heart.

Then a week later her passed me on the coolest bike ever! It happened while I was in a bad mood getting worse, and it turned my whole day. I mean, how can a grown man riding a mike with a pinwheel and so may shiny additions it glitters not make you smile?

If you've got it--flaunt it!

Love to all,