Portrait of a mud hut


This is my hut! It’s my home for the next ten weeks.


Inside is one room with mud walls and a painted cement floor. The entire room is about 8′ by 9′, so a flea would call it pretty cozy. Only the essentials in here!


Mosquito nets are crucial here. Malaria is a real threat, and I’m taking malaria prophylaxis weekly. One of the side effects is having extremely vivid dreams. I’ll keep you updated.


This is my family’s compound. See all that freshly swept dirt? Zambians sweep compulsively. Apparently it’s to sweep out the bad juju from the house. Or to keep grass from growing, which makes it easier to see snakes.


Mom and Dad, you finally got the little girls you always wanted. These are some of my host sisters. The two on the right, Malenga and Mwila, are trouble on wheels. They crack their toothy grins and I’m like putty in their sticky little hands.


Malenga walking me to school. On the first day of language class, my host mom (bamayo) took me to make sure I didn’t get lost.


She also made me peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with hot chocolate for breakfast. Yes, it is kind of like I’m five again.


18 thoughts on “Portrait of a mud hut

  1. Oh, I loved seeing these pictures Matthew! It looks like your digs are pretty cool actually and I’m delighted to see that your host mom is feeding you well. Shall we send a care package soon? If so, should we include things you might like to share/show your new little sisters? We love and miss you….and are also happy that you are on your journey. xoxoxo

    • Thanks Denise! I love care packages. 🙂 Anything with candy would be delightful, and it would also make me quite popular among 4-year-olds and Peace Corps trainees alike!

    • Thanks Nikole! I really appreciate you and all of the other faithful commenters. Commenting is vastly underrated, especially when I can’t access Facebook. 🙂

  2. So good to see you’re doing so well. Looks like you’re having a real adventure. Thank you for letting us share it with you. Miss you!!

  3. Thank goodness you’re alive. I love the photos; the little girls are very cute, I am sure they love you! A big NOPE to the mosquitos…Hope launguage classes are going well, please send me an address as soon as you have one (even if it’s HQ where you can pick up mail). Love and miss you terribly.

    • Thanks Lyuda! My mailing address is on the right hand sidebar of this blog. Ironically, I can post and comment, but I can’t view the actual blog itself. Ah, the wonders of internet data plans. Lucky there’s an app for blogging!

  4. Your sisters are adorable! I especially like the photo of Malenga walking you to school!

    Note to all your faithful readers: Matt’s birthday is just around the corner (March 10). I’m sure he would really appreciate birthday greetings from home. Here’s his contact info:

    Matt Young
    US Peace Corps/Zambia
    PO Box 50707
    Lusaka, Zambia


  5. I love it! It seems like an almost idyllic existence. by the way, be sure to put in “Lusaka Province” in the address. My postage software would not accept it until I did.
    Matt Young
    US Peace Corps/Zambia
    PO Box 50707
    Lusaka, Lusaka Province

      • Postcards – $1.10
        First class envelopes
        1 oz – $1.10
        2 oz – $1.90
        3 oz – $2.70
        3.5 oz – $3.70

        First class packages
        oz Price ($)
        1 6.55
        2 6.55
        3 9.15
        4 9.15
        up to 64 oz – $39.65

        Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelope $23.95 up to 4 lb
        Priority Mail Flat Rate Medium box $59.95 up to 20 lb
        Priority Mail Flat Rate Large box $77.95 up to 20 lb

      • I think my dad already responded, but I’ve heard from other trainees that it’s about $1.15 to mail a letter from the States. It’s almost exactly the same price (5 kwacha) to mail a letter from Zambia to the U.S.

        Hope you’re doing well! A letter is forthcoming, but it takes 2-5 weeks so don’t hold your breath waiting for it. 🙂

  6. btw….make sure you are getting permission to post these photos (of the Africans I mean)..some still believe in that “you are stealing my soul” stuff….

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