my zambian journey


My Photo
Location: raymond palko, p.o. box 160073 mwinilunga, northwest province, Zambia

i'm a fun loving guy who is trying to find my place in the universe. hopefully i can do this while using my knowledge and education to do a little good in this world.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

success at last.

after many trials and tribulations, the clinic money has been received. the past month has kept me extremly busy, going back and forth between my site and the provincial capitol of solwezi buying materials. we have purchased everything needed and construction is well underway, and should finish by early september. the process has been long and tiring, but very rewarding. in addition to the clinic, the project has provided an economic boost to my community. the majority of building supplies was bought in solwezi but roofing planks, doors and other materials were purchased locally, giving honest work and pay to villagers. for example, the six guys making the planks received about $75 each. school fees for one of their children cost between $2 and $10 per year, and uniforms $10. many of them are planning to use some of the money to pay others to plant beans for them. about $20 would be the cost for someone to plant a field which should yeild $500 worth of beans. so this was an added benefit that i didnt anticipate. so thanks a lot to everyone who has donated to the project. know that your money was spent as best as possible. and if you or anyone you know wants to donate more, please go to, click on donate now and find other projects in zambia.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Tunasakalili nan kashi

This is Ray's sister, Abby, posting a huge thank you to everyone who has supported this project. With the donations that have come in recently, he is very close to meeting ALL of his budget EXCEPT for the solar panels. His supervisor will be giving him the total amount raised shortly and then construction will begin. And as soon as he has access again to the internet, he'll be thanking you himself.

Friday, April 04, 2008

last call - may 1st

thank you so much to everyone who has contributed funds to the clinic project. because the end of my service is rapidlly approaching, we are issuing a ''last call'' on donations of may first. at that point i will take the funds raised and use them to build a smaller scale project that can be added onto in the future. it may not be the grand vision for a full scale clinic that i originally imagined, but rather a smaller health post. we hope that this will be a crucial first step in bringing better health care to the community, inspiring the members and government health officals to continue making additions and improvements in the future. again, thank you so much for your generosity.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

community contribution

forgot to mention this in earlier posts. the program we are using to get the clinic built is an official peace corps program, the peace corps partnership program. one of the requirements is that the community involved make a contribution of 25% of the total project cost either in cash or kind form. because my community consits of sustenance farmers, we are making our contribution in kind form of brick molding (already finished!), gathering sand and stone for the foundation and labour. this is great as it will give the people a sense of ownership in the clinic.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

more on the clinic


just so you know there is now a link to donate in the 'links' section on the lefthand side of this page. wish me luck as i begin the transition back to zambian life on sunday nite!

Monday, December 31, 2007

just assist me one clinic

hey all,

its wonderful to be home for this short break, and thanks to everyone who has made this time great. now my turn to beg. i am working with my community on a project to build a desperatly needed clinic. this is the summary from my proposal:

The community remains greatly underserved in the area of Health Care. The district hospital is 52 kilometers away and the nearest rural health center is 25 kilometers to the west or 18 kilometers to the east. Because of these large distances it is not uncommon for pregnant mothers to travel on the carrier of an old bicycle or parents to carry a sick child on foot through the night often reaching medical attention after it is too late. Therefore the community is applying to the Peace Corps Partnership Program for funds to construct a rural health clinic.

you can donate online by clicking here. any bit helps, and please spread the word. the goal is to get the money in by the end of march, so that the month of april when there is no school in session all community members will be free to build and the school can serve as a secure storage facility for the materials. as the process goes along i promise i will actually update this blog so you know whats happening with your hard earned money.

thanks in advance and please spread the word! happy new year.

Friday, September 28, 2007


hello all and sorry for not posting anything in forever. as sept wraps up its proved to be one of the most whirlwind months of service yet. in the beginning of the month i was reunited with all of my training group for our medical checkup. this was great to spend time with some folks i hadnt seen in months. immeadiatly thereafter my friend jeremy and i went on a vacation to the beautiful neighboring country of tanzania. it was a bit hectic at times, racing around to cram as much of the country into twelve days as possible, but nevertheless awsome. zanzibar, an island off the coast in the indian ocean was bueatiful. white sand, clear blue water and fun british people to hang out with. also there is the port town, stonetown, which was amazing. super narrow winding streets and fascinating architecure plus lots of fresh seafood which i looked at, but of course didnt eat. and it has a large muslim population, so going during ramadan made finding food tough at times but provided a rich cultural expirience. from the beach it was off on safari on the mainland. i saw snow in africa for the first time, on the top of mt. kilimanjaro, which was quite unique. our three day safari covered lake manyara national park, ngorongoro crater and taragire national park. all three were amazing, with the crater being the best. i'd have to say it was actually one of the greatest days of my life. we say many animals including but not limited to elephants, girraffes, lions, cheeta, zebra, wildabeast, buffalo, baboons, vervet monkeys, impalas, dik diks and many more which at this time im struggling to remeber. all in all it was a wonderful vacation - it surely didnt all work smoothly but that was part of the beauty and i wouldnt change it for a second.

and now i sit in solwezi, eager to return to my site this weekend. finding mysely more than halfway finished my service is quite rewarding yet scary as well. im having to start considering my next steps in life, and sometimes i feel like i have less direction now than before i came. but im sure in time if i think long and hard about what to do ill figure somthing out. if ive learnt anything out here its that things probably wont go as planned so just enjoy the ride. well thats it for now and i really cant wait to see you all soon when im home for the holidays.