In Chipata for a workshop in evaluating the LIFE program

Last week was a somewhat slow week as I was adjusting to being back at site and reconnecting to people I had been working with previously.
Two Sundays ago I went to my garden to see how my plants had faired since I had been away to find the little pit that I had been getting my water from was dry. Most of my plants that had been there two weeks previously were still alive though.
On Monday I met with one of the few women in my village that speaks English and we organized a meeting to see what projects Dovu village would be interested in getting underway. I also went for a walk and met the head teacher at a local basic school and we agreed to meet Tuesday as well.
However Tuesday there was a funeral so the headman and the majority of the village members were gone. I did talk to one person who worked on health education about what issues he thought should be addressed and what my areas of specialty were.
On Wednesday I planted a bunch of things in pots but didn’t do much else.
Then on Thursday I went to the BOMA. There I saw the closest volunteer in my program who was presenting a proposal to the district entrepreneurs organization about getting trash cans for the BOMA because people just through their trash wherever they feel like. They thought it was a really good idea and I found them to be people that would be good to work with. It seems you meet the best counterparts you can work with by chance. I then met with the district education resource officer who said that as it was getting near finals for this semester, no one would be able to address the internet proposal and that it would make sense to try a NGO or the local business association. I was walking out of that office to try to find one of the leaders of a local NGO (AllyNet) that I had met with when he showed up on his bike. He said that they had just gotten a computer and wanted me to set it up but it was getting late in the day so I couldn’t do it then.
Friday was going to be cleaning day because the mice had been driving me crazy at night but I didn’t know what they had been eating as everything was in containers. As I went to move one of the big zipper bags I found I had been chewed through and they had plenty to gorge on. It took four or five hours but I got the “pantry room” part of my hut clean and everything that the mice could possibly chew through is now suspended with twine from the sealing.
Saturday, my APCD, PCVL and someone from Washington were coming to meet with me and the other Chadiza LIFE volunteer for part of an assessment of the LIFE program and I thought to bring my new cycle. My cycle was not included in the things that came (some plants, a bunch of seeds and a 5L jug plus the three people). The meeting went alright and I had thought that they would be spending the night; however they said they needed to leave to go back and prepare for a workshop on Monday and Tuesday (of which I was also not aware of). After sharing some nshima with my family they left with whether I would attend the meeting still up in the air. I didn’t have any rides set up and I wanted to meet with the person who had just gotten the computer on Monday so I was fairly sure I wasn’t going to go. However I called my closed volunteer to see how they were getting there and he said that he didn’t have a ride yet but that he was going to see whether his neighbor who has a vehicle that he uses as a taxi sometimes could bring us. The volunteer was going to call me back, but service around my village is spotty at best so I never heard back from him.
On Sunday I through some things together just in case the taxi did show up and then spent the day as usual. It was getting to mid-afternoon and I had figured that the volunteer had found other transport so was just about to go to the garden when the taxi shows up. I quickly get my stuff together and we head to Chipata.
Today we had sessions addressing the findings from the meetings the person from Washington with the volunteers, then we spent the rest of the day addressing the issues the volunteers had found with our government forestry counterparts.
Tomorrow I believe will be more of the same.
Oh, I also have a cold and it’s hot.

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