This last week I have been in Chipata in a HIV/AIDS training session with local counterparts. It is interesting to here the Zambians speak openly about sex and the differences between men’s and women’s sexual relationships and their perceptions. The training ended on Thursday and I have been busy trying to install a Linux build on some flash drives which I finally achieved but now the problem is that I still can’t access the internet on my cell phone because it requires an .exe (windows) program so I have been trying to find a windows emulator, so far unsuccessfully. Short one I know.
The weekend in which the days of February 2009 21st & 22nd was included I found a internet place that, although it was fairly expensive because you paid by the hour, it was the cheapest if you needed to download things, which I did because they didn’t have a bandwidth limit. Also, if the last sentence, to the reader, does not seem extremely convoluted, you have laxer reading standards then I. I got most of what I really needed to do, done save for working on the quarterly reports and researching whether it is possible/feasible to by a stepper motor/generator from a treadmill from the states and have it shipped here. I got a few things from the down shops but didn’t get much done during this visit because there was no power until my taxi came on Monday when, as we were moving my luggage to the car someone was turning on the power. The last week of February I didn’t do that much, just did some weeding and planting. There was supposed to be a meeting the day after I got back of the Chadiza Entrepreneurs Associationo at 900 hours, and my bike was still in the boma because I didn’t pick it up the night before when I was headed back Ku Dovu. Therefore I got up at 400 and walked the 10 km. However first the meeting was moved from 900 to 1400, then just before I was headed there, I got a text saying that the meeting had been canceled.
The eventful catastrophic however, was that I had left my laptop transferring files from my external hard drive to my mp3 player while I went to get some things from the market. When I got back, my computer had one of those blue screens that means fatal error. When I tried to restart windows, part way into the boot up I got, and kept getting, the same “unmountable_boot_volume” message every time I restarted windows. I can still “use” my computer by booting from the Linux OS I downloaded the last time I was in Lusaka. However the build I chose was a bad choice because it doesn’t come with useful programs, tends to crash and can’t play mp3 files, therefore I can’t even ad things to my mp3 players. Oh, and what’s even worse is that my mp3 player has crashed or at lease needs a re-installation which I can’t do because windows doesn’t work on my laptop. What’s more I can’t put things on my ipod because my Linux build won’t run my external hard drive and can’t play mp3 files anyway so I’m down to searching shortwave for channels that come in. (So far I’ve listened to BBC, VOA, Radio Canada, Radio Netherlands, Deutsche Welle Radio, Radio France, Radio India, China Radio, Radio South Africa, Voice of Russia and some other stations I can’t remember). The only problem is that most of them only come in for a couple of hours and even then not that well and that my radio player is not really portable in the sense that you can listen to it while moving from place to place. I finally was able to put some podcasts on my new phone, however the battery life on it is not as good as my devices for the sole purpose of playing music.
The first Monday of March, I happened to meet with the person from ALLINET I had worked with off and on in the past. We got to talking and we decided to start documenting the history of Chadiza by doing interviews with people who had lived in the area for a long time. On Tuesday we started looking for people to interview, however it started raining and we didn’t interview anyone that day. On Friday, the Chadizain who was working on the project with me had found some people who knew quite a bit about the district and we began filming. However the tape soon ran out of film which means that we could only get one interview in in its entirety. Oh, one other thing I have been working on is building a table using some wood I bought in Chipata a while back and finally had delivered when a PC vehicle picked up some volunteers in training who were doing their first site visit… yeah, probably first site visit was one of the best weeks of training. Anyway, I got the top of the table made and have started getting the legs of the table from local tries. However the tree I chose was a real workout to cut down and the problem I now have is that it didn’t really fall but just slid of the stump but is still vertical. My arm muscles are definitely not used to the rather awkward angle I needed to do the sawing, but the wood seems pretty good quality hardwood. I actually felt kind of bad about cutting down the tree because it had probably been there for 75 years. Hopefully I can rig up some means of horizontalizing the tree for easier cutting.
On Sunday, after having exhausted my arm strength for the day, I ate some beans I had cooked the day before and typed part of this journal entry while the rain came probably the hardest it has all year. When the rain finally let up, I checked a cup that had been sitting out in the rain and it was almost full, probably 5-7cm (4-5 inches). I went down to the closest stream and began to take pictures however a drunk man started insistently asking me to take his pictures so I began walking down the gushing river. I was about to go back and start preparing supper when the head woman and later an entourage of teenage villagers told me to follow them. They brought me to a rocky area that reminded me of Devils Falls back in New Hartford, CT or the tidal rapids in Blue Hill, ME. There were many pictures taken of various people in various poses from various angles and then I was told I would have supper with the son of one of the farmers.
Oh, and hopefully I will have time next week to post some blogs about what people do and what people like to do next week because I know that a lot of people have wanted to learn more about what Zambian culture is like.