Journel Entries Dec 11th through 26th 2008

2008-12-11~2008-12-26

The last two weeks I have basically been doing two things: working on my dimba (garden) and going to the BOMA. I said I would pay someone in my village k100,000 to plow and build a fence around a new space close to my nymba (house), however when I left to go to Chipata for Christmas, they hadn’t really started, a week and a half after I left. I did plant a bunch of things inside my expanded fence that I put udzu (grass, not plural for the lethal weapon) along. The only problem is the water doesn’t drain well so I get water in the holes I put my seeds in. I should have made mounds not holes, but oh well, hopefully they will still grow.

In talking to someone in the BOMA who works with the organization ALINET we had the idea of creating a Chadiza TV show. I think this would be great if we can actually see it through. I talked today, (Friday the 26th) with someone at ZNBC, the national broadcasting body run by the Zambian government, about how hard would be to submit the show, and he said it would be very easy.

On Monday I got up at 3:15AM and biked to the BOMA with someone from the village who was going to get his maze milled carrying the axel to my cargo trike I was going to have ground down and threaded so I can make each wheel able to turn independently. Well I tried to find a government vehicle going to Chipata but it seemed that none were. After hemming and hawing over whether to leave my stuff in the BOMA and try again tomorrow or take a taxi, when someone kind of acting as a taxi showed up, I decided to pay the 40 pin and go. We went a different root then we usually go so that part of the way could be on tarmac, however that meant it took longer, the time compounded by the fact that when we had too many people in the vehicle so just before we reached a check point where we would have been stopped, we dropped someone off. Then after the vehicle had been checked by a police man, we drove a little farther and waited for the other guy, who had gotten a bike taxi to take him to where we were. When A little while after I got to the provincial house, I realized I had not gotten the axel from the taxi driver and had no way to contact him. He never showed up so I’m kind of stuck. I guess I will have to look for a long 9mm piece of threaded rod. I was really tiered from getting up pa 315, so I didn’t do much the rest of the day

Tuesday I went to the market and Shopright, then went to ProNet for a while. Coming back, I worked on typing in the words in Chichewa and English that I had recorded audio versions of and also had dinner that some people had cooked with everyone.

Wednesday I spent a while recording audio which is slow going because the flash cards that have the spelling of the Chichewa were not really in the order I had recorded them. Fortunately Chichewa is written almost 100% phonetically so it’s not that hard to get the spelling correct. In the evincing we had a many course dinner that a volunteer had cooked and had chocolate fondue and apple crisp for desert.

Thursday I spent a while typing in more Chichewa, then someone came and said that it was time to open presents, which I was not expecting. We had a good time opening presents and I wished I had brought the stockings my family ku America had given me so I could also put something in them and give them to people. I got a goody bag, some pottery that had been mate locally and some rechargeable AA batteries which was a large gift it seemed. We then had a Mexican meal for our Christmas dinner which was really good. After washing some dishes, another volunteer and I watched the movie Fight Club – not at all what I was expecting – although I didn’t see all of it because my family called. It was nice to talk to them and hopefully we can have a video VOIP call when I go to Lusaka next week.

Friday went to the market and got some more black plastic, this time they had some heavy stuff that was good, and a bicycle spoke truing fork for hopefully putting the wheels back on my new bike. While at the market I brought my video camera and filed some footage of the market and downtown Chipata. Around 1200 or 1230 I went to the internet place for a while. Then at a little after 1600, I headed to the office of ZNBC because someone had said they had electrical parts I could use to make the pedal powered generator I would like to build. The guy there wasn’t sure why someone had said they have electrical parts, but we talked about internet and putting the Chadiza TV show on their station. I then spent a while chopping up vegetables for some stew, but it wasn’t ready by the time I wanted to eat, so I just had peppers, mangoes, frozen bananas & broiled zucchini. After dinner, the acting PCVL, one of my nearest PC neighbors, had a writing workshop where we all wrote for 10 minutes about a word that had been chosen at random from a magazine, then read them out load. The quality of the writing was impressive given that it was just free flow, never leave your pen from the paper/fingers from the keyboard. The ones I wrote are down below:

The police…

They showed up at ten. The sky was over cast and the wind blew like a dieing fan, sputtering. You see, the police came because there had been another incident, and this time it was worse. This time there were many small fragments coming together and they were beginning to make sense.

It all started some time ago, the first incident that is. Then, there were only a few involved and the whole thing seemed innocuous enough. I wouldn’t have noticed it if it weren’t for the fact that I had seen the two together before, always speaking in hushed tones and glancing side to side like they were being followed. When they caused it to occur I had been watching them through the tinted glass of my beat up 1964 VW bug. They started getting things out of the pockets of there trench cotes – that was it! Their trench coats were the key. I saw it now but what if it was too late. And it was.

Gift Certificate

I got this gift certificate in the mail with no name, no return address, no way to tell who had sent it. It was to a store that had been around for some time, though I had never been there. Well, now I had a reason to go in. I think they sold clothes; there was probably something else that was there. But who had given it? Had they meant to put a name, or were they just trying to act as one of those anonymous philanthropists? I never understood why people didn’t want to get credit for what they did. Maybe they just figured that when they had given enough, it would slowly trickle into people’s consciousness who had been.

Then there was the obvious idea that it was a promotion, but it had been all hand written. Maybe I should go to the store and ask. Anyway, I didn’t have any need for more cloths, or anything else for that mater, except for some occasional trips to get food I couldn’t grow and a few other things.

6 months. A quarter. A half of a half. Six months in 18 to go. In one sense it’s an enormous amount of time, 18 moths before I graduated from college, I was still thinking I would make a movie for my final project, but it isn’t really enough time to get anything really substantial done. I wish I had known exactly what I would do when I got posed, but I’m still not sure I have any idea what I’m doing now. Well, I know what I would like to do, but the challenge always is making a dream a reality. Isn’t strange how true the ying and the yang are? every action has an equal and opposite reaction, even when it doesn’t seem action has an opposite like an apple, what’s the opposite of an apple?

In the corner,

We were sitting,

Sitting in our little room,

Writing things that made no sense,

Writing with no purpose, none,

Save to practice ancient skill,

Once known to just a few,

This ancient art can bring down foe,

Can be the meaning of a life,

However is it not so strange,

That words cannot be used,

For the purpose of an interface

Between another two,

Unless they have that shared knowledge,

Of a common idiom.

Problem. Mavuto. Mavuto Problem. You see that’s the problem, try as I might, ndi Chichewa is still pagono pagono. Isn’t it strange what words you pick up and what words, you read over and over and over again and still, a few minutes later, you can’t think of it if your life depended on it. I think it’s kind of true that if you actually set out to learn a specific word, it’s expediently more difficult to remember. And that’s the problem, you need to pretend that its not important, and you’ll remember it.

Problem, if there were none, there would be no solutions. It is just that one cannot always choose the problems one faces when they arise out of the occurrence of something not initiated by you.

Problem, what makes things interesting, challenging, but not always fun

Journel Entries Dec 1st through 10th 2008

2008-12-01&02

Spent most of the day at the ProNet internet place doing research on various ways to connect to the intent and some other things.

2008-12-03

After getting some stuff at the market I went to talk again to an electrician who I have inquired about making a pedal powered bike generator and who had suggested my looking into a “dynamo” type generator (I was a little unsure what it looked like but he had said that it was a generator used to electrify bicycles). I basically went to all the bicycle stores in Chipata in the last few days, and although the thing seemed familiar to some of them, no one had it. After doing some internet research, I found that dynamo generators also referred to DC generators old used in old vehicles like VW bugs. I got a circuit diagram for use in regulating voltage in this type of generator as well as a diagram which required far fewer parts for use in regulating voltage of a more modern AC car alternator with the built in circuitry to convert it to DC so that all you really needed was the proper resister and a few fuses. I got a recommendation of where to find an alternator for the later of the two designs and this store did have one although the price was fairly steep.

-went to the internet place briefly after calling a taxi because I didn’t really feel like trying to deal with the hassle of trying to hitch and I would almost certainly need to find a taxi to go the last 10km from the BOMA to Dovu village.

-at about 1430-1500 the taxi came and after waiting a while for another passenger at Shopright, finally left and we headed back

2008-12-04

-Spent the morning planting things and the afternoon reading

2008-12-05

-went to the BOMA and charged my devices and got some things

-came back and planted some more things

2008-12-06

-spent most of the day cleaning my hut and putting black plastic under my ceiling to prevent the sawdust from the termites and other burrowing insects that are slowly eating my rafters from falling down on everything. Also directed a villager in putting up another tarp and some black plastic.

2008-12-07

-planted more things then cooked some tomato sauce/salsa. Read some and went to bed early so I could get up early.

2008-12-08

-met with the DFO regarding signing a leave form for some days I plan on going to Lusaka at the end of December.

-went to the market and got some mangoes and other things, including a Zambian native squash type thing that my banja had given me earlier and tasted pretty good

-charged my devices and finished a memo I was working on to the Chadiza environmental committee about the health and environmental risks the open-air burning of brush and trash (lupya is the Chichewa term for it) that has been rampant in the BOMA and elsewhere (at least until the rainy season has come.)

-tried to fax the leave form but the first place I tried didn’t have a fax, they sent me to the district commissioner where it was out of order so I finally went to the Zamtel (government run company that handles land lines) office where there was a fax but the boss wasn’t in so I will need to try again Wednesday

-planted some more things then had dinner at dusk

2008-12-09

-late start (woke up at 6:30!)

-at about 10:00 I started working on clearing an area that I want to have fence put up around to have as a garden closer to my site. My wrist got a bit tired of all that slashing so I turned to raking what I had slashed into a compost pile until it started raining at 1430

-studied some Chichewa and cooked my squashy vegetable

2008-12-10

-went to the BOMA and successfully faxed my leave form

-got bananas and mangos from a rode side mini marketplace that has more then one salesperson on Wednesdays I guess because that is went most people get paid and so that is when there are more people selling things.

-went to the District Resource Center as dark clouds looked over head and called PC Lusaka to try to set up a home stay for the few days I’m in Lusaka around the new year.

-the rain that came never completely abated until I needed to leave so I put on all my gear a headed out. Of course, as soon as I got on the road the rain went away so by the end I was more wet from sweat then I would have been from rain had I not put on my gear.

Long over do journel update #2

2008-11-19 – Wednesday
-Had a laidback day reading physics
-Was going to go to Zingalume basic school to see whether the chongolowa club (a national environmental education club) was meeting but I could see rain just about where the school is

2008-11-20
-got some things at the market and tried probably with no success to help someone setup an email account on his phone
-Began reinstalling windows, first tried to repair the OS but to no success so I had to wipe the entire drive and completely reinstall it, it was still in the process of reinstalling when I needed to go to the meeting
-had another computer lab meeting and we agreed to set up one computer at the District Teaches Resource Center (DRC)

2008-11-21
-tried to install word but MS installer was not installed, so I spent a long time trying various things

2008-11-22
-read physics
-packed a little

2008-11-23
-packed a little more
-read a little more physics
-were supposed to be having a meeting to finish the goat milk stand but I guess everyone was at a funeral

2008-11-24
-spent the day trying to reinstall word but the power kept going out so I read PDF’s on electronics and neuroscience I had put on my phone until I needed to leave

2008-11-25
-today was supposed to be the big day I began my move to the Farmers Training Center so I spent the morning packing and making sure everything that couldn’t go on the first trip there would not get wet by the leak in my roof
-at about 1300-1400 my APCD and the eastern GSO finally came and that is when I got the news that I would not be moving.
-apparently they felt that there were more reasons for me to stay then to move. Why they couldn’t have just had a phone conversation a month ago and I could have gotten this message then I have no idea but I am just going to put this ordeal behind me and move on. The biggest annoyance is that I should have started my rainy season garden a month ago.
-road back with them to Chipata and got there at about 1700
-went to the market and Shopright and got fruit, vegetables (about 40 tomatoes because I was going to make tomato sauce) and some other things although I didn’t get quite everything

2008-11-26
-First went to the bank and got a debit card so I can get money when the bank is closed, then went to the Zain (used to be Celltel until they were bought out) and got another SIM card because the one I had wasn’t working. I guess the person who can do that wasn’t around so I will need to go back tomorrow
-went to the internet place but the person working there had to go out so I couldn’t use their power source but needed to sit outside and use the internet there. The speed was going slower then dial-up so I went back to the house and had lunch
-when I went back to the internet place it was back open and I was able to use an Ethernet connection which was the fastest I’ve had since I’ve been here. I spent most of the time looking into ham radio as a means of connecting to the internet. Basically what I found is that ham internet is the same thing as Wi-Fi only instead of being limited to around a watt of power it can transmit at say 100 watts. The only issue is finding out what Zambia’s regulations are regarding radio transmission.

2008-11-27
-went to the “down shops” in search of a bunch of things
-went to an electronics store to see whether they could make a generator that would function at the proper rpm. They said I should get a “dynamo” charger and they would modify it although I wasn’t sure about that, I said I would look for one.
-got back and finished cooking some sauce I had made, then watched movies until the big feast began. I ate enough to last a week, the food was good although I missed my aunts cooking back in the states and the one thing a great deal of my extended family can back really well (with the exception of me) is pie. The pie here was pretty good, and someone had made three ice-cream cakes although they used a lot of artificial flavor and color.
-I then sat in on some high stakes poker until it was time for a phone call from my extended family. The VOIP connection wasn’t working however which was really frustrating

2008-11-28
-In the morning we had our provincial meeting, then I tried to use the internet, but the power was out so I went to the Zamtel Chipata office (they’re the land line telephone provider) and inquired about dial-up costs as that is the way we will connect up to our computer lab until we can find funding for a broadband connection.
-the power was still out so I went to the market again in search of the generator and a few other things. I got almost everything I needed save for a generator specifically designed for a cycle. I think I will have to get a vehicle generator, then change the rpm by using a big wheel connected to the small axel of the generator if I still want to pursue this project.

2008-11-29
-went to the market and got some more bananas and mangos
-sat outside the internet place and used the Wi-Fi access till the power ran out on my battery. I did some research into cell phone call back that would let me dial a pre-assigned number, then that number would call me back and let me enter the number I was trying to call. Since Zain and MTN don’t charge for incoming calls the call would be free. I haven’t found quite what I’m looking for but I hope I can before I need to go back so that I can call anyone for basically free. I also did some research into how to grow pyrethrum from seed for extraction and data to back up a letter I want to right to the appropriate ministry in Chadiza about why the rampant burning of trash and brush going on in the BOMA is bad for peoples health, bad for the environment and why there are better ways to improve soil.
-when my battery got drained, I went back to the house and ate lunch and then worked on PC paperwork for the rest of the night.

Long over do journel update #1

2008-11-03 – Monday
-Biked to BOMA and met with DFO
-met with member of ALINET were going to go to Chadiza boarding but he had to meet with some people who are building a new house for him
-went to Chadiza boarding and met with the computer teacher regarding internet. The plan we came away with is that for just the school to get satellite would be too expensive so to get dialup until a meeting can be organized of interested people in the district about setting up a community computer lab and then every member paying a portion of the fee.
-went to the market
-went to the FTC and talked to the person in charge to make sure that she new that PC admin are coming tomorrow, then charged my various devices.

2008-11-04
Well, today was supposed to be the big day I moved to the FTC, however it appeared I was naive in thinking it could be this simple. At a little after 10:00, the PCVL and the GSO (General Service Officer) came and we discussed the steps necessary to move. It seems I was thinking in an American mindset and was not taking into account the impact it would have on the village and the chief. There needs to be a meeting with the chief and a Dovu village meeting first. Now the date I will be moving won’t be until early December. We met with the person who oversees the FTC and showed the PC people the house I would be moving into. It’s not really the picturesque hut I live in now, but it’s bigger and hopefully won’t have the termite problem that my current one does.
-met with the head teacher at Zingalume basic school and talked about trying to set up a demo plot in their garden as well as continuing my work with the JETS and Chongolowa clubs

2008-11-05
-Got these really good indigenous fruits that are really sweet and good as well as some mangoes
-clouds loomed over the horizon as I biked to the FTC to charge my various devices, then shortly after I got there the downpour began
-the power was intermittent so I wasn’t able to completely charge things
-the rain hadn’t completely let up by the time I needed to leave, so it was fortunate that I had brought my pack cover to cover the basket with my computer and food items, although I didn’t have my other rain gear. Fortunately the centimeter a minute rain that had been coming down had abated.

2008-11-06
-Made the mistake of not doing my activities under the open sky first because it began to rain again before I was really able to get much of anything completed

2008-11-07
-Bought a bunch of bananas from a guy carrying them on the back of his bike, then realized I couldn’t bring all of them back in one go what with my backpack and other produce so I had them dropped off at my forestry counterparts house
-Got some stuff at the market then used my computer at the place I had dropped off my bananas because the FTC was occupied. I tried to print fliers advertising a meeting about getting a community computer lab with satellite internet access in Chadiza, but the power kept going out.

2008-11-08
-I was surprised that my roof had not been a sieve but there had been a few leaks so I spent part of the morning putting a tarp on the roof with the assistance of a village teenager who scaled the wall easily. I wish we had tied down the tarp in more places because when it got windy, the tarp billowed and the noise was really loud.
-My solar panel had not been charging my battery that well so Friday I bought some longer wire and went about doing a little bit of rewiring. Then I got the assistance of another village teenager to put the panel up at the crest of the roof. The only problem was that that night the power for the battery still wasn’t charged so I think it most have had some sort of bad connection.

2008-11-09
-I climbed up the somewhat tipsy tripod stepladder that the villager had used to reposition my solar panel and went about tying another washer of the tarp down to the roof. I then found that one of the new wires I had gotten had come disconnected. I reconnected it and was beginning to try to climb back on the later when it fell. Basically all I had to keep me up there was friction and some twine which I held onto with dear life. I tried to remember the Chichewa word for help but to no avail so I used the English version. The one kid who was nearby obviously did not know the word and I decided to definitely memorize it.
-At 1400 African time (close to 1500) we had our dairy goat meeting which basically the main outcome of it was to schedule a date to actually begin construction of the milk stand.

2008-11-10
-spent a while trying to find a printer that worked to print some fliers advertising the internet meeting and finally printed from a random office in a building that has a bunch of different government offices in it. Met with the DFO about the internet meeting and whether they had any honey left (they have some combs that need processing). Put up some fliers and went to the market, then charged my devices and went home.

2008-11-11
-well I was going to go to the BOMA today until the construction of the milk stand had been scheduled. However, only few people showed up and we canceled it which basically meant the day was a waist.

2008-11-12
-went to the BOMA and met with the person who at Chadiza Boarding school who may be teaching some classes after having gotten two pints of honey from the forestry office.
-Had lunch with the ALINET person who was going to show me his office, but needed to wait to hear back from someone
-left the BOMA for Zingalume basic school where there would have been a chonglowa club meeting if the students hadn’t needed to work on the construction of some new buildings. Yep, that’s right, you want a proper school house – go build it! (After having gotten approval of the head master and hired a building contractor that is)
-my solar panel had still not been charging my battery so I had my village brother/atate (he’s probably around my age or a few years older, but I think he has kids who are more then just toddlers so I fell alright calling him my atate) climb up on my roof again and try to secure the connections again, which I tested by trying the lights, which worked so I new the break had been fixed

2008-11-13
-went to the BOMA as early as possible and after trying unsuccessfully to find the ALINET guy to see whether he still has the price quotes for satellite internet I had given him, went to the market.
-I was more successful in my attempt to get the price quotes at the FTC, although the people there said they would be unable to attend the internet meeting
-at 11:00 I went to the District Teacher Center where the internet meeting would be held (had to wait until then because grade 5 was having exams until then) and typed up an agenda for the meeting
-we started a little late and it wasn’t until around 15:00 when everyone who would be attending had trickled in. It wasn’t quite the turnout I had hoped for (basically the people there represented the two high schools in Chadiza and an HIV/AIDS organization) but at least some people came. The main out come of the meeting was to try to set up a community computer lab first, then to worry about internet. Some people who going to look into a location for the lab, either a building where the fair grounds are, or someplace right next to the district resource center.

2008-11-14
-went to the market
-went to FTC to write some journal entries
-large clouds loomed over the horizon as I packed up hurriedly
-unfortunately I did not leave soon enough, as I was nearing the crest of a hill, the ski opened up. I quick covered my cargo and put on my rain gear but not before getting wet enough so that if hadn’t been a veritable torrent I wouldn’t have gotten that much wetter. One of my anti-wetness protection garments blew away in the process and I had to go running after it. It was slow going the rest of the way, I could hardly see the road but I finally made it.

2008-11-15
-it was a typical Saturday without much planed. At about 1500 another storm loomed overhead. As it came near a fierce wind came roaring up, so fierce was it that it tore the top layer of my roof off. After the wind came the rain and the next hour or so was spent trying to keep my possessions from getting drenched. When the downpour let up ndibanja (my Zambian family) helped me put the plastic back on and new grass on top of that, however it got dark before we could tie the grass down

2008-11-16
-because I don’t go to church, my Sundays mornings are usually fairly laid back
-in the afternoon we had another milk goat meeting and today we actually started to build a milk stand. I had needed to rethink a little bit how I wanted to teach the construction because to build it just like the stand I milked my goats in the states would require getting k50,000-100,000 worth of lumber not to mention the nails and other hardware. The design we used will be a permanent fixture because the platform the mbuzi climb up on will be made out of bricks and the part they put their heads threw is put in the ground. Basically I think the only thing that is not something found locally is a the one nail that was used to make the part that closes around the goats neck to prevent it from getting out. We got done with the front part that goes in the ground and hopefully we can complete the construction before I need to move.

2008-11-17
-spent a long time trying to print some memos to get more people to go to the next internet/computer lab meeting because the computer I was trying to print from, and therefore my flash drive were infected with a virus
-finally printed and gave a memo to someone at Eatright restaurant, the business which is owned by the person in charge of the Chadiza Entrepreneurship Association. I went to the market and got some mangos, then distributed some memos to the Chadiza AG ministry.
-I then had lunch and found that in running the antivirus program on the computer that I had printed from, I had infected it worse and basically made the computer un-runable.
-I met with the person from ALINET and we went to a building that had been sited as a possible place for the computer lab. It seemed pretty nice although not quite computer-lab-esk
-I was going to go meet with my forestry counterpart but dark clouds again loomed over the horizons so I instead packed up and put on my rain gear. I felt somewhat silly for wearing it however as the rain never came

2008-11-18
-went to the market
-tried to fix the computer in the day high school computer lab to no avail the reinstallation CD is at a teachers house so I will have to reinstall it Thursday at the earliest.
-chatted with one of the teachers and got my journal up to date

No Power, No Patty

2008-10-09

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.

2008-10-10

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.

2008-10-11

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.

2008-10-12

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.

2008-10-13

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.

2008-10-14

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)
2008-09-29

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.

2008-09-30
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.

2008-10-01
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.

2008-10-02
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.

2008-10-03
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.

2008-10-04
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.

2008-10-05
As far as I remember, all of Sunday was a fairly uneventful day spent mostly reading.

2008-10-06
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.

2008-10-07
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.

2008-10-08
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.

Today was more of the same; hopefully we gave some good ideas

Today was more of the same; hopefully we gave some good ideas as to how to go about implementing several projects that had been identified as key. Tomorrow I will go back to Chadiza without my cycle (I thought until about noon today that it was in transit to Chipata but the vehicle supposedly wasn’t fit to ride the 500km there so it will probably be another two weeks till I get it now. Frustrating to no end.

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.

Well, I’m now in Chipata

2008-09-12
Well, I’m now in Chipata, took the bus back early this morning enroot to Chadiza. Hopefully everything growing that I started is still growing and is ripe with vegetables. Next week I hope to meet with some teachers at the closes school to me and plant a bunch more vegetables because I don’t foresee my needing to be out of site for longer then a couple of days until late November (thanksgiving/provincial meeting) when the rain is beginning to come. On Wednesday someone from Washington and my APCD are coming to assess the LIFE program and deliver my new cycle. Hopefully they’ve made all the modifications necessary. Alright, hope to keep bloging via cell.

Successfully uploaded 1021 photos

Successfully uploaded 1021 photos, you can see them by going to http://otherrealm.org and download them by clicking on the little link down at the bottom right hand corner ( ). Going back to Chipata tomorrow and Chadiza pa Friday by bus because I guess I’ve been out of site too long but hopefully the cycle will be rideable. It is coming up on Wednesday when the LIFE program assessment person from Washington and our APCD come. I’m definitely ready to go back to site; I just wish I could make sure the cycle was exactly what I want it to be.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY CARA!!!

I’m still in Lusaka – now the estimated completion date is Wednesday. I’m ready to go back to my village just about now. I think what I’m going to do is make a photo album website like the one I made of my photos in the states ( http://otherrealm.org/ ), then, time permitting when I go back to Chipata I will go to the Wi-Fi place and upload them there. I think I can get the total size down to under 100mb although the photos won’t be print quality. I think I will take some more pictures of my banja and try to have them printed at a photo place in Chipata or maybe there might be a place in the Chadiza BOMA and maybe also try to go into the “city” part of Lusaka and take some pictures to contrast it to the village live. In response to who cut my hair, it was a now COS’ed (Close Of Serviced) RAP (Rural Aquaculture Project) volunteer did it. She was a veteran hair cutter apparently she had cut 25+ peoples hair during her time in Zambia. While stuck here in Lusaka I’ve been spending a lot of time in the Volunteer lounge on the internet or chatting with other volunteers in other provinces. Although there is a wider range of produce in the Lusaka markets, the price is four to five times more then even in Chipata and it is cheaper to buy at the local grocery store. Fortunately that store is owned by Zambians so I don’t feel quite as bad as buying from Shopright which is a South African chain that sells throughout Sub Saharan Africa. Alright, all for now, have to go email my sister and wish her a happy birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY CARA!!!

Well I will be in Lusaka for about a week

2008 09 02
Well I will be in Lusaka for about a week while the cargo-trike is being created. Being in Lusaka feels like I am in a different country from the village. Lusaka is kind of like Hartford would have been like in the 1990’s if it didn’t have any environmental regulations on vehicles. Whereas the village is kind of like the US in the frontier towns of the 1800’s (save for prevalence of cell phones, radio and plastic bags/bottles). Lusaka actually has sky scrapers and strip malls. I will try to take some pictures of the city this week so that it can be contrasted. We went to the machine shop around 830 and came up with a rough idea of how to convert the one speed very heavy cargo trike into something comfortably rideable on roads unpaved and sandy with steep hills. Ideally I wanted to convert it into a recumbent cycle however that required buying some more parts, which required going back to the PC headquarters to try to get the funds to go and purchase the parts. This took until lunch time and it seemed that the funs would not really be available because PC was facing a budget crunch (like every government office except for the military) so we would have to go after lunch. In the mean time I talked to some volunteers who were headed back from a vacation in Malawi. I also found that a bunch of “junk” that had been piled up since I had been here was going to be trashed or worse burned. Most of the “junk” however could have been used in schools (most of it was chairs that had a few problems with them but could be fixed very easily) or other places in need of resources. I asked, or more pleaded with a number of PC admin people however they all seemed to think it would be too much of a hassle and they had been sitting there for six months and they needed to go and that transporting them. I thought, surely in those months a volunteer could have found a place that was in need of some chairs and a vehicle that was not loaded to max to bring them but the truck had already left but anyway. I wish Sub Saharan Africa had the infrastructure to transport things using methods other then petrol but as first world countries do not, it’s a fantasy in the near future. Had lunch from the cook at the headquarters then met for a while with the APCD. At about 1500 I went back to the shop and we did a little reworking of the plan. Unfortunately we won’t be able to begin work until Thursday because Wednesday the 3rd is the day of Mwanawasa’s burial and is a national holiday so pretty much all business and a lot of roads will be closed. Got back and spent the rest of the evening on the internet.

Back in Chadi… Ur, Lusaka -Blegh

2008-08-23
I got up about a half-hour after my alarm went off and hurried to get ready because I was going to go with my DFO (District Forestry Officer) and a few other Eastern province counterparts. However, when I got down, they had already left. I ate breakfast then went to the main rode with some other PCV’s where we took a taxi to the bus terminal. The taxi driver dropped the others at a bus to central province first, then me at a bus that he must have had a relationship with the driver. I then began to whish I had gotten there earlier when the first group of busses left because it was over three hours before it finally had enough people to depart. The ride was alright, and they showed some movies. I actually slept a little toward the end. However, when I got off and tried to get awake I walked to the cargo area where they had put my bag to find that it was not there. Panicking slightly, I talked to the driver and he said that someone had called and said that a backpack had been left at the St. Francis hospital in Katete (There was another white lady on the bus who got off there and I guess they thought the bag was hers). Hoping that the driver’s explanation was correct and that it hadn’t been stolen, I got the contact information of the bus driver and the person who had called regarding the bag and then got a taxi to the PCPH. Fortunately I had put my laptop in my small backpack I brought with me on the bus and the “Zam-bag” (somewhat sturdy zipper bags that are sold at Shopright and that everyone uses to carry groceries and just about everything else imaginable in and which are really useful) that was not taken off but the only cloths I had were what I was wearing.

2008-08-24
I got up having gotten a relatively good night’s sleep although I was still tired and had a slow start – or actually I didn’t really start that day I think because I needed to unwind from the past week of busy schedules and the calamity that had taken place yesterday. I called the number the bus driver gave me who was helpful, and said she would call the driver. Then I txt’ed the driver to see whether he had left yet, and if so whether he had the bag, however he had not left. Still not sure as to what the status of my backpack was, some good luck came my way in the form of the PC General Service Officer (GSO) for eastern province coming and saying that he was going to pick up the Country Director because she would not be flying in on account of the late president being flown in and having a wake Monday. The hospital was on the way and he could pick up my bag, so I quickly txt’ed back the bus driver and told him not to big up my bag because someone else was. I was fortunate that he had not left and picked it up already, now the only question was whether the GSO could find the bag as I had not been able to get a hold of anyone who knew who had the bag. I then brought out my laptop and spend the rest of the day creating a CAD drawing of a cargo trike I am going to have made while half paying attention to the movies that were playing. About mid afternoon, the driver called and said that he was at St. Francis hospital but didn’t know who to ask about the bag. Fortunately someone else in the room who had spent some time there did. A little while later, he called and said that he had gotten the bag!

2008-08-25
No one was sure whether anything would be open today, but at about 10:00 I got out and went first to the cell phone store, which was open, and got some more talk time, although I didn’t get that much because I wasn’t sure whether the bank would be open. It was and I got some more kwacha, then when to Shopright and got some eggs and spices. Most of the market was closed, and therefore the stores that were open were selling things for higher prices. I got some peppers, cucumbers carrots and a few bananas but didn’t get a ton because they were really expensive and weren’t the variety that I like. Then I went back and had a little to eat. My next stop was going to be the Wi-Fi place, but unfortunately it was closed. Feeling kind of sick, I walked slowly back, getting some more talk time on the way. That afternoon about all I could do was sit and work on finishing up my CAD drawing. In the evening, the Country Director showed up, along with my backpack. I don’t think I’m going to put my backpack in the cargo area again. I was really annoyed that I wasn’t feeling good because the rest of the volunteers had made a really good meal, and had made an apple pie for desert, but the power had gone out before they could cook it in time for it to be eaten right after the meal.

2008-08-26
The country director, my two closest volunteers and the PCVL all loaded our stuff into the bus and left at about 800 hours. We stopped at the other education volunteer in the district’s site and had nshima with the family, then we went to the BOMA and met with counterparts that had gone to ISTT for the last two days for the program development training, one of whom was the DFO. He said that the district commissioner would like to meet the director and so we met him, then we went to my closest volunteers’ site, had lunch and finally went to my site. After the Director, PCVL and the GSO had left, I read a little bit, but not feeling that good again went to bed fairly early. I think the reason might be the water filters at the PCPH because it seems like it is nearly every time I drink water from it I don’t feel my best.

2008-08-27
Got up, studied a little Chichewa, read a little on DC electronics, then went to the dimba. A lot of things had not survived my being away, and it looked like nearly everything had been eaten by ngonbe (cattle). Watering went quickly though because I had the help of some Zambians visiting from the Mozambique border. Having more time as a result, I started putting up some DC lights I had gotten in Lusaka. On of the men in my family was very interested and helped me put the lights up. It was very nice to actually be able to read without the use of my headset.

2008-08-28
Today I went into the BOMA and met with members of a new organization that is just starting up in Zambia and that I think I will be able to help out a lot with. Then I went to the market and then I wrote some journal entries which I was going to try to post but the cell phone network was going slow and I kept getting Google page load errors so I was not able to post then. When I got done I biked back and started top make a salad for supper. When I had just finished making the salad, my atate/abale (father/brother [apparently the previous volunteer at Dovu and some other volunteers referred to him as their brother but I kind of think of him as a father because he has several children]) came and invited me to share nshima with their banja. In Zambian culture it is impolite to refuse nshima unless you have a very good reason not to eat it (came down with malaria, are deathly allergic to corn…). It’s a good thing that I enjoy Zambian food, although I wish they put less saladi (the Zambian [actually South African] name for cooking oil] and salt in their relish.

2008 08 29
Today I was going to make a solar stove. I somewhat cheated in that I had found one of those emergency blankets that are very reflective (was going to use aluminum foil) and spent a long time trying to make a frame to make the thin mirror like material concave. With some of the boys in my village’s help, I made a semi-semi-sphere by forming a circle out of a flexible stick, taping the reflective material over it, then putting a little bit of water in the bottom so as to make the material concave. When I put my hand over the area, it wasn’t incredibly hot and all my pots are made of unpainted aluminum so they don’t attract that much heat (somewhat silly when you think about it). I will try to get some black paint to paint the outside. After this somewhat disappointing experiment, I headed out to the dimba. When I was only a little ways on my walk there, I got a txt saying that I needed to go to Chipata Sunday to go with the GSO to Lusaka on Monday to deal with looking into getting a three wheeled cargo cycle (a pedi-cab that instead of another seat has a cargo area). This was slightly frustrating because I had just been in Lusaka and wished I had just stayed there but anyway. I quickly watered everything, not having time to transplant some tomato seedlings that were in need of transplanting because it was getting dark.

2008 08 30
Went to the dimba first thing today, calling a Chadiza-Chipata taxi on the way and transplanted a bunch of cherry tomatoes which I hope will survive when I’m away. That took until about 1400 and was fairly hungry as I hadn’t eaten breakfast. I was coming out of the dambo area (an area with a low water table that is where people cultivate) and stopped to great a family that had an adjacent dimba to mine and that of my banja. They invited me to share some nshima which was nice. Then I went back and didn’t have that much motivation, however I finally got up enough to pack and eat some of my perishable food. It is officially the hot season and I was in that transition phase. Therefore I didn’t really feel like eating… or drinking… (although this I needed to do as I was sweating like crazy) or doing much of anything.

2008 08 31
Woke up at 400 and hurriedly got ready, was just starting do drink my cup of coffee when my ride showed up about a half hour early. I hurriedly downed my mug, then got in the vehicle and headed off. We picked up five more passengers. It’s a very small car that has buckles for four passengers and we were six total, seven if you include the driver. My leg was almost asleep by the time we got there because I was sharing the front seat with someone else. I got to the PCPH about 900 and did some laundry, then washed one of the water filters because I think that’s the reason I haven’t been feeling good often when I am there. Then I went to the market, got back and put some ntochi (bananas) in the freezer for a little treat. At about 1500, the to be new volunteers (RAP [Rural Aquaculture Project] and HAP [I think Heath Action Project although the A & P could stand for something else]) showed up and we did our introductions. I will be going with some of them part of the way, then dropping them off and going the rest of the way to Lusaka mawa (tomorrow). It seems like a really nice group of new volunteers and I had nice conversations with a couple of them.

2008 09 01
Well it was about 1230 before we left for Lusaka; the PST’s got dropped off for their 2nd site visit, then the driver came back and loaded nine bikes and we left. We got in at about 2150ish and then my family called and we had a nice conversation.

I hope you have a big pot of synthetic pig tails ready at a moments notice

2008 08 22
Well, I’m done with In Service Training and will probably be going back to Chipata tomorrow. The IT guy at the In Service Train Trust gave me the keys to the computer lab so I will be able to use the internet for a little bit longer. Need to go pack and see how my counterpart is getting back so that I know whether to travel with him. Will probably be in Chipata till Tuesday when I will go back to site with the country director. Till then, I hope you have a big pot of synthetic pig tails ready at a moments notice (synthetic because we wouldn’t want to offend the vegetarian story tellers now would we).