Heather returned to raise her daughter, Radiance, in her Peace Corps village 
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Heather Cumming returned to live in her Peace Corps village in 2010 with her 7 month old daughter. She created Simwatachela Sustainable Arts and Agricultural Program (SSAAP) because rural areas are too often overlooked.  

In her daily life she uses the skills and values learned in Peace Corps and has passed them on to Radiance, now 11. She shares her experience here. 
SSAAP office hours are Tuesday and Thursday, 10:00 -13:00 and 15:00-18:00. In Zambia we use Military Time, Metric System, British English.

This photo was taken during a quiet time in the office after loans were issued. The lady in the red shirt is holding some of the 423 applications for new loans.

Since joining TCP Global in March of 2021, SSAAP issued 58 short term loans for revenue-generated activities in addition to SSAAP's general loan program. 
Africa is a Holy land, and never let anyone tell you differently. Don’t take the poverty and tragedy as its full picture. While there is obscene poverty, there is also a Divine essence that I believe is the strength of unburdened Nature.

Most frustrating place to survive juxtaposed with the healthiest place we may find one day when the rest of the world becomes too contaminated.

Africa teaches simplicity ~ and simplicity is the hardest Path of all, because you must shed all that you are not, and get to the authentic self, the essence of our true beings.  
I get tired speaking ciTonga all day, which I learned in Peace Corps. My African father, Gibson, reminds me all the time I should be more proficient. My grammar is horrible but people understand what I say which is all I care about, but he is disappointed in me for not being fluent like an African and I know this. 
The kids play make-believe, putting blankets in the mango trees for a house and building a fire and cooking play-food, i.e. discarded food scraps from their mothers. 
These children bring me water as they know I will empty the water bucket in our house and re-fill it with a toothbrush, soap, piece of candy, or empty bottle/jar they can take home. Radi says our house is ‘trick-or-treat’ for them. 
There are cats, goats, cows, chickens, guinea fowls around the house all the time. Radiance learned how to vaccinate goats, sheep and cats and has our 7 cats on a 3-month deworming regiment.
Our sitting room has bookshelves for Radi's books, homeschool textbooks, reference books (travel, medical, parenting, science, etc.) and one for astronomy, astrology, metaphysical books.
We prepare food in this indoor kitchen area before taking it outside to cook on the brazier. It looks cluttered in this photo, but it seems normal to me now.
Our pots are cut-up bottoms of old water bottles our visitors have brought here and then thrown out. 
We are pure-blooded resourceful Africans now. Other people’s garbage is our treasure. We don’t waste anything – a profound idea the Africans taught us, which is pure recycling and one of the many benefits of being poor: learning how to be equally-creative as you are poor to balance the poverty with the creativity = resourcefulness. 

Radi gets clothes much cleaner than I can, having learned to wash clothes with her friends in the village as ‘playtime.’ Village children do chores together and make it fun. 
Radiance cooking in the outdoor kitchen. 

Radi is an incredible cook – and the best part: she Loves doing it! 
Traditional Zambian meal: n’shima, soya pieces, and a leafy green called ‘rape’ in English. It grows quickly and easily in our garden; you can just fling seeds at the ground and in a week or so, it grows.   

Radiance’s ‘Mandala Meal’ – a colorwheel of relishes and pickles (‘achaar’ in Hindi) and in its center: a heap of beans and rice.
Radi fell asleep with her headlamp on. We call our bed ‘Cloud’ because it feels like drifting on a cloud – so heavenly we can hardly get up in the morning. When we emerge at 11 on days off, eyebrows are raised at our laziness.  
No matter how many times I tell them we stay up late and use the night to write letters, talk to people in the U.S or tend to homeschool workbooks, they don’t understand.  

It is a culture-clash I am unwilling to compromise on and that just has to be okay.

Some mornings we wake early to read and write. Once we open our front door, there are many interruptions and distractions. We Love the peace the silent nights provide us.

Our beautiful A-frame roof,  was built in 2014. The planks are made of eucalyptus trees and the roof is thatched with dried, tall grasses. 
Love the people in the village: they are the realest people I have ever known, and they Love us too and I can feel that: the energy of Love. I will do whatever I can for them, just as they have done for Radiance and I, until the day I die. 
"The developing world is full of entrepreneurs and visionaries who, with access to education, equity and credit would play a key role in developing the economic situation in their countries." Muhammad Yunus                     
TCP Global requests your support to:

1) Connect TCP Global to a grassroots partner like YOGI in Nepal. Join the TCP Global team in zoom sessions to support the loan program.  

2) Forward this notice so others can learn from Judith in Uganda the difference a small loan makes.

3) Volunteer like Kenney, to mentor a loan program in a country you know well.

4) Make a donation like RPCVs of Chicago, Kansas City, Long Island and Madison-Wisconsin, and Friends of Colombia and Nepal.  
Until Peace Corps is back in the field, TCP Global is a good substitute for Peace Corps Partnership Projects for supporting development in small and remote communities around the world.
For more info, contact
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