No Power, No Patty


Didn’t feel that good so spent most of the day listening to my last audio book. At about 1800 hours my new cycle came but it still had some problems. First of all, they hadn’t hooked up the rear break so stopping is really jerky. Second, the placement of the seat is too low, but I fear that raising it so that it is at a conferrable height would make it more likely to tip over on turns. The break issue can probably fairly easily be fixed but the seat issue will probably require some more substantial work. A chair that I scavenged when I was in Lusaka also came but the driver had to take off the back and didn’t bring the screws to put the thing back together which kind of sucks. Hopefully I can find something else to put it together with. What the driver didn’t bring, and that I was really looking forward to, was some fruit chutney that I had asked to bring up with the other things. This was annoying.


Went to the BOMA to charge some things and meet with the person from ALINET to see whether he had gotten the CD’s back from someone he had loaned them out to but analibe (he didn’t have). We did chat for a while however which was nice, he came from southern province about a year ago and his daughter speaks a combination of English and Chitonga but not really any Chichewa. She is really cute though.


I spent most of this Saturday cleaning the area of my hut around my bed to try to get rid of the mice. They haven’t been as much of a problem lately now I think the main sound that keeps me up at night is the wood bees chewing through my roof. Across the valley I could see a downpour which means the rainy season is fast approaching. I put a tarp over my new cycle as a precautionary measure.


Well, I was clad that I took the precautions because it rained most of today. This meant that the meeting we were supposed to have got canceled. I spent most of the day reading and doing the last bit of the cleaning that I didn’t get done yesterday.


I woke up at around 400 hours and biked to the BOMA where, after plugging in my laptop to charge my mp3 players, I went to the Chadiza farmers training institute. I had a look at the field where I will probably be planting a demo plot. Then we discussed my moving my living area to their facilities. The person who had given me the tour didn’t know whether there were any houses that were free so we met with someone at the Agricultural office and our discussion seemed fairly promising that there would be housing, he just needed to confirm and said he would get back to me by Friday. I was then going to meet with the forestry officer but he was in a meeting and the District Education Resource Center (I’m going to shorten it and call it DERC), where I had left my laptop, was occupied so I couldn’t be on it. I went to the market to get lunch supplies, then went back to the DERC and was able to get my back pack with my cell phone charger out of the office. I went to a guest house and charged the phone and ate my lunch. When I got done with that, the meeting was over and I tried to add new podcasts to my ipod but I think my external hard drive has been bumped a few to many times because it wouldn’t turn on. This was annoying to no end and the casing doesn’t have any screws to open the thing and see whether there are any loose wires. So this put a damper somewhat on my previously good day. I then met with my forestry counterpart to tell him about the possibility of my moving sites and to see whether he knew of any vehicles going to Chipata tomorrow as I think I will spend until Friday there, relaxing a little bit, getting a few things, namely a new battery because the voltage of the one I have is too low and to get price quotes on satellite internet. Well I got back to Dovu village later then I wanted because the forestry officer had gone in search of a ride on my behalf. I packed and ate dinner, then went to bed.


After getting up at 345 hours and getting to the village at just past 630, I picked up my big backpack that I had left at my counterpart’s house and dropped off my bike. He didn’t know of any definite rides so I just was going to go out to the rode and look for likely means of transportation. I spied a ministry of education vehicle and was on it like a hot chicken sausage. The ride was quick, if fairly bumpy. I don’t know why Landrovers, supposed to be really good for off-roading, have such jarring shocks. I got to the PCPH at about 830 and first had breakfast, which I hadn’t had time to do before, then went to Shopright and the market by which time it was 1230ish. I did some procrastination, then went to the internet place till it closed. I went back to Shopright, both to see whether they now had brown bread and eggs (had eggs, bread kulibe), and because I had forgotten to get condiments for the vegetarian burgers I had bought. To my dismay, there was no power when I got back so I couldn’t cook the patties I had been looking forward to.

Monday the twenty ninth of September, approximately 1720 hours: inhaled first fly

(the remaining days up to now to come, probably tomorrow)

I went to the BOMA with the plan on helping someone involved with the Chadiza based adult literacy and education organization ALINET set up their computer but unfortunately he had gotten in a motorcycle accident and was at a hospital. I went to the post office and found that my absentee ballot was waiting for my attention. I then did some other things and charged my various electrical devices, went to the market, then prepared to head home. The forestry officer had said that he had a letter that had been accidentally delivered to his church at his office so I stopped by there and picked it up, then was on my way back to Dovu. The letter had a bunch of photo’s of home and the garden there which was great (it made me envy my water deprived plot here). Fairly soon into my ride I became plagued by a persistent fly bussing around my face. Despite numerous attempts to blow and sweep it away, the pesky bugger remained. I was just about to round a bend when I solved the problem once and for all by inhaling it. I have yet to be beleaguered by another one of these pesky critters.

Today I studied a little Chichewa, wrote a little on my laptop, went to the dimba (garden) and did a little reading. All and all it was a laid back day as I recall.

After doing my usual morning routine, I went to the Zingalume Basic School for a meeting of the JETS (Junior Engineers, Technicians and Scientists) club. They didn’t have any projects underway but we shared ideas and agreed that I would come the next time with a program in mind for the design of a windmill powered pump for irrigation. (I think I will try to make a scaled down model to bring the next time.

Today was a busy day. I got up at 500 hours, went to the BOMA and met first with the Chadiza boarding high school about doing some programming in the areas of computer science and appropriate technological design. Then I went to the Chadiza Farmer’s Training Institute and met with the director and lead farmer about doing some programming in agroforestry and conservation farming as well as looking into building a wind pump there as well. After stopping at the post office to deliver a magazine (it pleases the postal people they are given magazines) and find a package I have been expecting for a month now still not delivered. I then when to the BOMA and got some bread, tomatoes, ntochi (bananas) and this type of caned fish that is pretty good with crackers although not quite as good with the bread I had. Did some things on my laptop until I needed to get headed home, and then surprising enough, actually headed home.

This day which is and will always be remembered as a Friday I again headed for the BOMA, although today later then Thursday. I typed some journal entries, then did some administrative phone calling, went to the market and then head home. When I got back to Dovu, I noticed that there was some sort of meeting in progress. When I went over to see what they were doing, I noticed a bunch of little pieces of paper scattered around the ground with names on them and people talking adamantly in Chichewa. Someone came over who spoke some English and explained that the pieces of paper represented households in Dovu. I guess Dovu is a lot bigger then I thought because there had to be thirty of so names laid down on the ground. This was a good opportunity for me to tell everyone about a meeting that we had set up for the Dovu community to come and talk about starting an IGA.

I got up and prepared for the meeting which was scheduled for 800 hours. It was to be held at a church across the street from my house, and I was walking there when a bunch of people said they wouldn’t be able to make it because they were going into the BOMA for a church service. There wasn’t anyone there when I got there, and I wasn’t sure whether anyone would show up. I was walking back when someone said they were coming to the meeting and that there was more coming. People trickled in, however no one who spoke English, or maybe understood a few words. We had the meeting none the less and decided that there should be two areas to pursue: one of soya bun making and another of goat milk sales. We set up another meeting for two Sunday’s from now and the head women said she would advertise a lot. Hopefully there will be a fluent English Chichewa translator there to help facilitate. The rest of the day was fairly uneventful although when I went to the dimba to water my vegetables I found that all but three tomatoes and two squash had been plowed under which was really frustrating. I am either going to move my garden to the local Zingalume basic school and/or create a demo plot at the Chadiza Farmers Training Institute.

As far as I remember, all of Sunday was a fairly uneventful day spent mostly reading.

I rode to the BOMA and met with the person with the computer at ALINET, however he hadn’t gotten a chance to get the CD’s that were needed to run diagnostics and potentially reinstall windows. My new cycle was supposed to be coming sometime this week but I wasn’t that sure what day so I called Lusaka and they said that it was in Chipata and would be coming tomorrow. This was great, although I had wanted to meet with the Chadiza Farmers Training Institute tomorrow. I spent the rest of the day charging my various electrical devices and adding more music to my mp3 player. It takes a long time to find good tracks out of almost 10,000 songs, most of which are rap/hip-hop garbage. I checked mail again but still no package… ARG.

I woke up and hurriedly got ready as the person I had talked to yesterday had said the person would be coming early. Then I waited… and waited… Finally at 1430ish I tried to call various people but as my service where I am is really bad, it wasn’t until after 1500 that I actually got through to someone. Apparently the vehicle wasn’t in Chipata it was still in Lusaka waiting for funds to get the 400-500km to Chadiza. I was fairly annoyed that I had wasted a day waiting, but anyway.

Today, even though there was a slight change the vehicle might be coming, I didn’t want to waste another day stuck in Dovu so I texted the driver yesterday and told him I would be in the BOMA and to call me when he was definitely coming. First I stopped at the Farmers Training Institute to see whether they would have time to give me a tour of the farm but they were busy today so I set up another meeting time for next Monday. Then I went to the Chadiza Boarding High School where I met with the head master. This currently looks like my most promising avenue of getting internet into Chadiza and they also have a machine shop that I would like to develop a program around renewable energy. I have a meeting set up for Friday morning to get a tour of the facilities. Then I went to the market, had lunch and called the PC headquarters again. They said a vehicle would be coming Thursday which was somewhat of a good thing as it would be somewhat of a tight schedule if they were coming Friday although it would have been great if they had said it was on its way today. After lunch I met with the ALINET guy but he still hadn’t gotten the necessary CD’s. My lunch resting somewhat hard on my stomach and making me sleepy I updated my journal. I then check email, went to the Post Office and the package I’ve been expecting for over a month still was not there, and then I headed back home.