The Weekly Whirlwind

The last two weeks or so have been a whirlwind. This time a week ago I was in Lusaka although it seems like a month ago. I got some x-rays of my neck because that was where the discomfort had been and there was nothing out of order. However I stayed in Lusaka until Thursday because PC was finally going to work on my cycle to make one which was ridable. Last Friday I went back to site for the weekend and set up a jury rigged “irrigation” system that basically consisted of 25′ of hose connected to the 200L barrel I bought a while back. The kids were eager to help and filled up the tank several times and watered what was in the range of the hose.
On Monday I went back to Chipata to investigate possible bicycle engineers in the area to work with on the creation of a ridable cycle, however this was in vain. Although there is probably the biggest bicycle plant in Zambia here, they didn’t want to deviate from the standard cycle ridden by practically every Zambian. Another engineer was more interested, however he didn’t really have the resources to work on the complexities of designing a three-wheeled cycle using local materials. All this means that it is back to the same designers in Lusaka in May. Monday afternoon I went to the Msekera Conservation Farming Center because I found out that they have low cost irrigation systems for farmers in the area as well as training in their use. They were going to come to my site on Friday the 24th, however since then they have said that their schedule is too tight and it will have to be sometime in May. The one thing I was able to get is a rhizome of bamboo to plant in my Village as the closest place to find bamboo in Chadiza that I or my villagers know of is in Mozambique.
I tried to go back to site Wednesday the 22nd but the taxi didn’t come until after 1700 and I didn’t really want to get to bed at 2300 hours so I didn’t take it and will go today hopefully around noon.
Although I would have liked to set up an irrigation system this week (next 7 days), I’ve set one of my goals for before I go to Lusaka for the midterm conference is to get a working brick oven. I made one a while back but I have yet to try it out. I also got an innovative way of making a solar oven that uses an umbrella turned upside down. I also plan on making that in the next week. All for now.

This week, this horrible week

Had a rather scary bike accident Monday where I blanked out briefly. I first couldn’t remember what I had been doing that day, and had gaps in my memory in other times. That had mostly gone away that night and was completely gone the next day. My neck hurt though and I just felt kind of off that next day. I got a ride with the Eastern Province General Service Officer and spend the night in Chipata, then headed to Lusaka the next day. To make this week even more horrible, my wallet with all my bank card, my ID cards and a million kwacha (just about a months pay) in it. PC reimbursed me for the money but it was the irreplaceable things like my college id and such really sucks to loose. Hopefully someone will find it.



Well, one of the reasons I haven’t posted so far is because the charger for my laptop, along with a bunch of other electronics was left in the taxi I took back to my site. Supposedly it got dropped off at the provincial house; however I haven’t been able to get to Chipata since then. Hopefully I will be able to go sometime this week. Another reason I need to head there is because I am trying to build an irrigation system for my demo plot before the dry season starts in earnest. I got a 200L barrel and about 16-17m of house however I still need to either get a lot more hose and try to design a pump, or get about 300m of strong rope and a bunch of pails. If I had more time, I would try to apply for a PC grant; however by the time one would be approved, my vegetables would have dried up and blown away.

Yesterday… THE CHISWE’s INVADED! I was walking behind my hut when I saw, as I have seen several times before, a line of ants moving in a narrow steam. In passing I hoped that they didn’t come into my hut but it wasn’t until I was surrounded by them that I realized that there hundreds of thousands or maybe millions of them. And that they were red ants. And that they were angry. I quickly made my escape, but not before they had begun occupying my entire body. After having taken off my cloths, picked the little buggers off me, and given my cloths a hardy shaking, I headed back out to face my foes. In the short time I had been in my hut they had almost entirely encircled the house and were demolishing virtually everything living. A villager had some meali-meal she was spreading out in a line to try to prevent their advancement but I realized more drastic measures were required so I was glad I had bought some ant spray, at the time to try to prevent termites (to little success). This eventually did the trick. Realizing that they were facing a mighty adversary, they eventually retreated. Just as fast as the countless tiny fiends had come, so they vanished, leaving not a living one in site. I wish I had a picture of the reddish black ground to show of the hero pyrethrum isotopes really are.