And only about 34 hours late

2010-04-26

Well, I’m back in the States for the foreseeable future (note, the future is more then a little blurry so trying to foresee it is figurative and the figure is all scribbles in the sand at low tide). Getting pulled from my site went remarkably smoothly and I think, all in all, I did achieve something during my two years. This isn’t to say that I wouldn’t have liked to achieve a great deal more, but in the past month or so before leaving many things finally clicked into place. I posted my Description of Service report in the last post if you want to see the ‘glorious’ achievements I have done. And, of course, since all my potential employers enjoy reading my blog they will gobble it up and contact me immediately.

When I got to Lusaka I was inundated with paperwork until minutes before I rang the COS wheel-bell and was somewhat frenzied until I got to the gate for boarding the plain to Addis Ababa. Well, things did not start off well for my journey home because the plane did not lift off until about three hours after it was supposed to due to fueling problems. This meant that we touched down about 15 minutes after the plane I was supposed to be transferred to left. The next flight to Washington, my next stop, didn’t leave for a day so this meant I needed to spend a night in Ethiopia. Fortunately there was another PCV (or actually I guess now we’re RPCV’s) on the same flight and we shared a room together in the hotel. The hotel was pretty descent and had good food if bad coffee (isn’t this supposed to be the home of the best coffee in the world?). Well, after a day spent mainly watching TV, we finally got in the air again and after roughly 16 hours sitting in fight and about an hour or two in Rome for refueling we made it to Dulles Airport at about 8:30AM (back in America so I need to start practicing the AM PM instead of the 0830 hours).

Customs went remarkably quickly and I was directed to the United Express ticket station to inquire as to when my flight had been rebooked to. It hadn’t. And to make matters worse, the flights to Bradley were booked until Monday. I got a standby ticket and the third wait began. The first flight at 12:20 was already overbooked and although I waited with bated breath, or at least as much of one as I could muster given how tired I was, no seats presented themselves. So then it was to another terminal for the next chance five hours later. It wasn’t looking good as there was a huge group of high schoolers’ coming back from some trip but when everyone got on the plane it turned out there were two seat remaining. I was just about to head to the terminal when those two people with the tickets to those two seats rushed up. And so it was back to waiting. Fortunately at this point the ticket takers realized that I was extremely tired and they were really helpful, so much so that they did some computer magic and got me a definite seat for the 10:30 PM flight. I slept on the seat for about an hour and woke up worried I had missed the flight. I hadn’t and was the first person on the plane. After about another hour I touched down for the last time, only about 34 hours late. And thus ended the two year, two month chapter in my life.

Now I need to figure out what I want the next one to be about.

Back until I leave?

2010-01-29~2010-02-12
On the last Sunday of the month I headed back to Chipata. I had the taxi driver take me to the Lusaka post office because the Zambian mail company has a fairly ingenious idea of combining a mail service with a bus service. I had read in an old travel guide that the post bus only ran on Tuesdays and Fridays or something like that, but I thought it would be worth the short diversion because they definitely leave on a schedule. To my joy they were “going today so I paid the taxi and got all my stuff out. It was only when I heard a number of people talking about Ndola that I happened to ask where they were going, which was not Chipata. Annoyed to no end, lugged all my stuff back to the street and flagged down another taxi. The second bus I got on at the Intercity Bus Terminal was the fuller of the two that were headed to Chipata. I was going to wait at the curb until the first bus headed out but the teeming crowd of ticket salesmen (the number of ticket sales men to customers at intercity is probably four or five to one) convinced me to get on theirs, agreeing that if another bus left before them, I could get on it. Another bus did, and fortunately I was able to rush out, flag it down, argue with the ticket salesmen, load my luggage and get on the bus before it left the station. And thus, I left at a near record of just after 9:30 and got back before dark.
The last Friday in January I had called a guy who ran a computer training institute in Chipata and who is knowledgeable in hardware about having him see if he had a replacement monitor for my laptop. I had set up a meeting with him for Monday morning and went to his school at the third floor of an old British built quasi-government building he rented space from. He seemed to be able to help me but he was either really busy or pretending to be really busy so the whole thing took all day and he hadn’t put my laptop back together before close to 1800 so I needed to spend another night in Chipata. Tuesday he had checked just about everything there was to check and the diagnosis was that the actual monitor part and the tube that makes the screen light up (that I thought would be the logical thing that had gone as the screen goes black) where not the problem but it was the part that process the information that will be displayed on the screen that was, and that was the part that he did not have. So, although now I know what the exact problem is, I’m not sure it was worth the countless hours I spend waiting for him to spend another five minutes on it before he was interrupted. Late on Tuesday though I finally made it back to site where I will be, maybe until I leave for good unless I got to the house in mid March.
Since I’ve been back I’ve been working on getting the Inoviropreneurship program going full swing (first project is doing a version of the TLUD stove that uses only clay) and getting my pedal powered generator working. Alright, need to go get some more chain for the generator.

2010-01-08 (is the date in which this synopsis [rundown {abridgment}] is being written)

Got back to Dovu village a little after 900 Wednesday and was very, very tired; not having gotten much sleep the two nights (or knights as I had, for some reason, written before reading again). I attempted to put a new rime (the old one was very warped on the special hub that was custom made for my cycle but this tiredness progressed into a headache and a general feeling of bad. I lay down and fell asleep until 1830ish when I debated falling back asleep but finally decided to have some tea and rice. Yesterday I finished putting a chabwino wheel on and biked to the Zingalume Basic head teachers house but he was in Chipata.
Next week I will be doing some or all of the following:
getting the Inoviropreneurship project revised and started with the Zingalume head teacher; getting my pedal powered generator working; making a solar stove using cheap bathroom mirrors; hopefully finally succeeding in making soap; if the big goat in my village has kidded, milking her
The two weeks after that I will be in Lusaka, on vacation/starting to figure out what I am going to do when I return to the states the first week, then attending the COS conference the second.
Wanting to go back to the states but wanting to get more things done here before I leave.

Garden, Generator, Malawi Vacation, Chipata and Quarterly Reports

Well, the month of December and therefore 2009 has almost ended. While I was in Dovu I was mostly working on getting my garden finished being planted and on finally making a pedal powered generator. Then about two weeks ago I headed to Chipata on rout to Malawi on the 24th. After a hectic and expensive travel (the “taxi” [Canter truck] cost me 3,500MK to take me probably less then 10km) I arrived at Wheelhouse Marina in Senga Bay. There is a gorgeous view of the lake and a yurt kind of thing that is on stilts over the lake where there is a bar. Unfortunately the bar plays very loud music all night and I had to camp in my tent. So I moved to Monkey Bay, the town just outside the national park in cape Maclare, early. There I stayed in a dormitory and they didn’t blast the music all night. But there were no mosquito nets over the beds and the food was way over priced. The water was very nice and the shore is covered naturally with sand. Although I enjoyed swimming and the view I left early because I was spending too much money being board and because I was getting eaten up even though I put on three different kinds of bug spray every night. I have to say, even though I can’t stand dealing with transport of any kind, the bus system in Malawi is much better then in Zambia as there are legit busses that actually leave on a schedule (although they don’t go to Chipata so I had to sit in a crowded mini bus and deal with being hassled. Anyway, now I can say I’ve been to Lake Malawi.
I’ll be in Chipata until January 5th or 6th relaxing and working on my quarterly report, then head back to Chadiza to get my Inoviropreneurship program underway.

A Friday of BOMailarging

2009-12-18
In Chadiza charging things and checking email. Have been working on getting my dimba (garden) up and running and finally making a pedal powered generator using a very, very old Landrover generator. I just hope the tork is not too much when I connect it up to a battery. I’m going on vacation in Malawi from Dec. 24th to Jan. 4th and heading to Chipata on rout there pa Sunday. I will be in Senga bay from the 24th to the 28th –monkey bay from the 28th to Jan 2nd and then Senga bay from the 2nd to the 5th (traveling back to Chipata on the 5th).

TLUD, Dimba, Thanksgiving, Getting Stuff, Electronical Failure Mango Chutney, and….

TLUD, Dimba, Thanksgiving, Getting Stuff, Electronical Failure Mango Chutney, and….
The last two weeks before I left for Chipata about a week ago I was basically focusing on two things: dimba and BioChar stoves.
The BioChar stoves (a type that uses small branches and fibery weeds and consists of an inner chamber where the solid fuel goes. This inner chamber has many holes in the bottom for fuel and is coated with a narrow outer chamber that encircles the inner chamber and draws air up so that when it reaches what would be smoke, it is preheated and this smoke can catch fire, meaning that little toxic fumes reach the environment and people’s lungs.) have been a huge success. People are really exited about the idea. After doing a test run in my village, I got the students at Zingalume basic to make a second version. At first they were kind of uninterested in the project but when it was done, and the stove was lit, they were very impressed, as was the head teacher.
My dimba has been a lot of work, getting the beds made and beginning to plant. I so far have five beds (about a fourth or fifth of the garden) planted with some tomatoes, two beets (had a bunch more but the grasshoppers love beets, even tephrosia only slowed their demise), some soya, broccoli seedlings up the wazoo, popcorn, carrots, watermelon, cantaloupe(?), and a few other things.
I have also been trying to get strong enough potassium hydroxide (homemade lye) to make soap. I’m almost there. In the BOMA I’ve been trying for the umpteenth time to get internet in Chadiza, although as of the last meeting with one of the interested parties the meeting still had not happened.
On Monday I spent pretty much all day trying to find transport to Chipata with no success. I finally left Tuesday morning for the provincial meeting and that night we had pizza from probably the only semi Italian family in eastern province (well, there’s a radio station called Radio Maria that has broadcasting towers here… maybe it’s owned by that family… or maybe it’s Spanish).. That afternoon I had also tasted some sour ketchup and threw up all over my sheets that night, feeling miserable until Thursday. The meeting was somewhat uneventful but a little later in the evening we had a talent show and I was impressed at some of the talent, one in particular where one man played the guitar while another woman sang a lengthy witty song about Peace Corps Zambian life she had written. On Thursday at about 10:00 all the LIFE’ers trooped over to the office of the provincial forestry officer where we shared what we were up to and found out what she was wanting to focus on. Then we, or at least some of us, myself not included, got back to preparing our thanksgiving dinner (there were a little too many cooks and another would have spoiled the meal). They had been working on cooking since I got to Chipata and I was very eager to see what they had made, probably compounded by the fact that I hadn’t really eaten anything for the last two and a half days. The meal was really good and the dessert equally enjoyably. To say I was not hungry anymore would be an underestimate.
Friday was Eid and since most of the shops are owned by Muslims, everything was closed which kind of put a damper on my plans to get things I needed but I did finally find a reasonably priced old vehicle generator so that I can finally, at long last make my pedal powered generator. This is a good thing because it means I won’t need to keep lugging it to the BOMA and back every few weeks.
This weekend I began making some mango chutney that has turned out to taste really good. Why is it that if it can be canned, I can cook it, if it isn’t cannable it doesn’t turn out quite like I planed?
Going back to Thursday, when I had tried to plug in my external hard drive, nothing happened. I tried to disconnect and reconnect everything that was connectable, to no avail. I am now almost certain that Zambia is host of the electronic demon because my palm is also beginning to freeze up every once awhile (removing the battery, shaking it and bumping it and putting the battery back in usually fixes it). This means that I will be podcastless until at least midterm conference.
Monday I was walking with a heavy backpack for about 8 hours and on my feet from 5:00 until about midnight with only a few breaks, buying things from shops in the “down shops,” trying to get MTN to have reliable internet again (the MTN shop is about 4km from the PCPH) and bottling my mango chutney. I didn’t get everything done so I won’t be going back today but will go back on Wednesday.

Well we had our first rain yesterday, probably 3-4 cm at least

Well we had our first rain yesterday, probably 3-4 cm at least. I was really worried that the new black plastic my villagers had put on would blow off because they hadn’t had a chance to tie the udzu (long grass) down yet.
What I’ve been working on:
Well, I’ve had quite a few fairly successful classes with some students at Zingalume basic on trying to get them to think in innovative ways. It is interesting to see what things they can do and what things are really difficult. Probably the best class that they really thrived on was when I had them make the paper airplane that could go the farthest. They made one that went quite a bit farther then the quick one I did and even gave good reasons why they tried that design.
I think this time (and what feels like the umpteenth time) I have attempted to organize the Chadiza organizations together for the purpose of internet it will actually work. I’m meeting with the high schools this afternoon and have had several meetings with members of three organizations all of which were very interested (the high schools had already set up a committee to address the issue before I had even returned from Lusaka). Now we just need to have one or two meetings with all the organizations together and get the company we are going through to come and do a technical assessment of the terrain. Then it’s just a mater of getting the equipment.
I’ve also been slowly trying to make some lye that will actually be a basic enough pH to make soap out of fat. I have also been making a fuel efficient stove that burns not only small sticks, maize cobs and other small woody things but also the smoke (like what a roaring fire that has flames shooting out of the chimney does).
Yesterday, after the rain had almost let up I spent an how beginning o prepare my dimba for planting. My garden will (come mbuzi or high water) be bwino kwambili this year!

Before the date and time of 2009 10 02 16:12…

I forgot to mention this in my last post, maybe I was too annoyed or something but I now have a baby named after me. Born a couple weeks ago, Aaron from Dovu is really cute and really likes to sleep (much more then even I, I don’t think he even woke up when I held him for some photo’s).
This week I met again with Zingalume Basic and set up the date for the first class (Monday). I also worked on my water wheel and need to get some mealy meal sacks for the actual “paddle” parts.
Today I got some more honey, a covered plastic basket to keep food in so it doesn’t get eaten by koswe (mice) but still gets aeration and some mealy meal sacks for the aforementioned use. I did not however communicate with the outside world because the MTN network was down… I hope the outside world is OK!

Today stared out a horrible day, Hot, Bread, Zingalume

Today stared out a horrible day. In the morning my alarm didn’t go off so I woke up ≈80 minutes later then I had intended. As my 12v battery has not been holding a charge I needed to lug it to the BOMA along with my heavy backpack so what would have been slow going was slower going. I also decided to wear the pair of pants I had that the front pockets don’t snap down. About a third of the way there I realized a pill bottle containing my malaria medication had fallen out. Then about halfway there I realized my 8gb flash drive and two rechargeable batteries had fallen out. ARG! I hope someone picks them up.
This weekend I didn’t do that much because it was too hot (≈35-37°C). Even though it’s the rainy season it still seams humid as well although not as much as in Connecticut. Monday I baked some bread, first started out using my solar stove oven but it didn’t get quite hot enough to start the baking process. I finished it off using a new oven idea that is basically a pot big enough to cover my brazier. This worked well. I also went to Zingalume basic school and met with the teacher who is in charge of clubs to discuss trying to integrate the syllabus I worked on last month into the remainder of this term.

An update of ordinary magnitude

2009-07-02~2009-07-25
Week one(ish) of July (week of Forth of July, Unity Day, Hero’s Day) I was in Chipata spending some time relaxing after almost a month in the village as well as finding out how to make soap.
Week two (with a bit added on in the beginning and the end to bring the total up to day 18 of the seventh month of the ninth year of this millennium) I was back in the village doing two soap workshops. Probably my most rewarding workshop was working with the teacher in charge of the JETS club in finally getting the Solar Oven project under way. I also had several good conversations with the head teach, who I get along well with, resulting in asking whether he wanted me to work with the other teachers in doing some programming in the area of Inoviropreneurship (innovation, the environment and entrepreneurship). He liked the idea and when I asked him how much he wanted me to do he said that I should write a daily class for ten of the thirteen weeks in a semester. So I’ve been pacing myself in writing the fifty lessen plans.
On the eighteenth day I took a dreaded taxi to the city known as Chipata and spent a while working on beginning the structure of the syllabus. I also made pancakes for the first time since I’ve been here (and a long time before that) and also made some soya burgers that were really good, I just wished my stomach had been feeling better.
Then on the 21st, I headed down to Lusaka to finally get a cycle of sort. Of coarse the shop had not been notified when I would be coming and they were not all geared up to go. Hopefully they will be on Monday. I’ve been spending a lot of time getting hooked on Amateur/Ham radio. I think it would be awesome if I could get myself and a few local Chadizians’ licensed. Then we could communicate throughout the world. The summer CHIP/RAP (CHIP=community health improvement project, a combination of the old HAP/CAHP) intake of ’09 came late Thursday night and were at the PCHQ on Friday. They seem like a pretty good group. Alright, back to haming, pondering whether I should spend some time writing lessen plans and working on a CAD drawing of a portable waterwheel for irrigation I’m designing.

Minto Wonder Wheel

2009-06-24~2009-07-01

The 7 or 8 days (depending on how you look at it) have been almost as productive as the week before, it would have been as or even more productive as the weeks before this last week except that my back and left leg were complaining that I had been bending over and favoring my right side too much and so I didn’t do any more double digging or composting (although I was approached as to whether someone wanted them to help clear the field of weeds [for a fee of k20,000 for the large side, k15,000 for the small side of course] and they did what would have taken me probably a couple of weeks in a couple of days so I have plenty to compost when I return to the village). I did however make another go at banachar which I got many other villagers interested in and I think it was a success. That is of course contingent on the charballs that the villagers made sure were perfectly spherical burn better then the last ones I made but I think they will. Yesterday I successfully got a taxi to Chipata on the first try and they were only around 40 minutes late!

Tuesday was somewhat of a relax veg out day and I stated up too late watching movies (an ok movie about a Egyptian born engineer married to an American who gets kidnapped by the CIA and tortured because of a terrorist act he did not commit and Fight Club from beginning to end without being interrupted by the pesky parental party). Today I found an ingenious idea for a means of generating power using a small temperature variant. Basically the way it works is you have a bunch of tanks containing a fluid that easily converts into a gas arranged in a circle in such a way as to look like a big watermill (the circle turns). The opposing tanks are joined by a pipe and there is a source of heat in the bottom and something cooler on the top. When the liquid in the bottom is heated and turns to a gas, it rises up to the tube on the top. The tank on the top is cooler however and so the gas converts back to a liquid causing the tank on the top to spin downward towards the bottom and the tank on the top to spin upwards. Although the whole thing does not spin that fast, if you have a large enough circular structure, the torque is enough to give off a descent amount of energy. I am definitely going to build one, the only problem is finding a liquid that changes to a gas easily but is not supper flammable or toxic or both and not really rare. Most of the fluids I have found in that people are using are at least one of the above mentioned heal risks. I would use mercury I think if I was in the states and designing it for a large scale production but to put such a toxin in a place that A. there are almost as many iwe’s (children) as there are udzudzu (mosquitoes) this time of year B. most people have an innate need to take things apart and tinker with things C. there is a remarkable lack of mercury in Dovu village and lastly D. that probably most villagers have never seen mercury or have any idea what it is. Therefore I am in search of a fluid that meets the required specifications and is not dangerous or rare in Zambia. This challenge aside, I think the project has great potential to power villages all across Zambia for next to nothing in parts.

All for now, I’m still wondering why this inventive idea is not more widely known and utilized.

Peas, Compost, Solar Cooker, BanaChar, Hoe the day away PLUS… some other stuff

This last week, in all has been a slightly productive week. I planted some more peas, spinach and broccoli, made a Solar Cooker and was going to try it out on Saturday to cook beans but the day was cloudy. I also started a compost pile using the plentiful supply of cattle manure and made a test run of some “banachar” using mashed banana peels, charcoal dust and a little bit of sand. The test bio-charcoal should be ready in a few more days as they are not dry yet. Yesterday I spent aprox. 7 hours working on hoeing my big garden of weeds to get it ready for planting when either I get an irrigation system set up or the rains come. It will be a big process as I only got a small fraction of the field clear, the soil when dry is very hard clay and there is crab grass throughout most of it. Today I am in da BOMA using the internet and hopefully meeting with my forestry counterpart to talk about setting up two projects. One is collection of plastic bottles for use in drip irrigation and the other is clearing fields using biochar instead of open air burning that is very harmful to the environment and people’s health.

Finally made it back to site a day late because my taxi didn’t go to Chadiza the day I was intending it to leave

Finally made it back to site a day late because my taxi didn’t go to Chadiza the day I was intending it to leave. I feel like I have been trapped in my village for the past week because I don’t have a bicycle and my ankle has still been hurting me. I did a thorough cleaning of the “kitchen/living room” part of my hut and finished building my table. It looks really nice and is really solid; the only thing is it is really tall. I also did my first attempt at a solar stove but because I didn’t have the proper glue I had to use duct tape and couldn’t get it to be flat enough to reflect the rays all in the direction of the pot. I also began making a bed using the “double digging” method that I we had learned before. I planted a few peas and will plant some spinach and broccoli probably tomorrow. Wednesday I will hopefully make it to the Zingalume basic school where I am trying to work with the JETS program on the umbrella solar cooker as well as some other projects.

The second part of my journal entry of the past three weeks; I wanted to get it posted in case the power goes out like it did for most of yesterday

4th week of May…

Sunday I felt better. The taxi came a little after 8:00 and we said good bye to my Zam-Fam and flew as fast as a small sedan loaded with luggage and people can go over bumpy dirt roads back to Chipata. The day was rather uneventful because it was Sunday and just about everything was closed but we bought food at Shopright and I loaded things onto my new mp3 player my family had brought.

Monday we took the bus that does usually leave on time and got to Lusaka about 1500. There we took a taxi to the same guest house we had stayed in the last time we were there and after buying some cloths detergent headed to the Mahak Indian restaurant where they have a really good meal that has free refills.

Tuesday we toured several organizations that make adaptive equipment. We went to APTERS (Appropriate Paper Technology) where they make chairs not that different in concept from the ones my father makes as well as office supplies like the pen holders my family bought. We also went to DisoCare, the wheelchair and general design company that is building my cycle. I came expecting the cycle to be well under way but they were still waiting for payment which was frustrating. The last stop we went on was the Ubuntu office which looked like an office. We bought a shirt made by the wife of the person who was bringing us to all the places who does clothing fabrication and after seeing the house he lives in went to a craft market run by orphans to get some things to bring back as gifts. Then we quickly headed back to the Peace Corps HQ to deal with the cycle issue. We also were going to meet with my APCD but he had gone to northwestern on site prep. Having dinner at Black Night, the really good bread & pizza restaurant, we found a good bus company to Livingston that leaves when it is scheduled to, flagged a taxi and got ready for the next leg of our travels.

We woke up really early again, packed and then waited for the taxi to show up. We were shooting to leave at 5:00 but apparently he had overslept and so shoed up at around 5:40ish. We still were able to get a ticket and this time the bus left almost exactly when it said it would. I really wish this company had a route to Chipata. We got into Livingston at about 13:30 and walked to Faulty Towers lodge where we dropped our luggage and had a lazy rest of the day.

Thursday morning we had breakfast at the guest house and got ready to go see the falls. The falls are very impressive and the climate directly adjacent to them is kind of like a mini rainforest. Like a rainforest, it is very, very wet – it made me think we were in the middle of the rainy season again. My right foot was really rolling over and I decided I needed new boots – and the fact that the ones I was wearing were waterproof did little to prevent my feet from squeezing out water when I walked by the end of the walk. We went back and had a late lunch and walked to a Chinese restaurant for dinner where we met another PCV and her friend visiting from the States.

Friday we had a hurried breakfast and my Dad and I headed out to go on a microlight flight while my Mom and sister were headed to a horse back ride. Although expensive, the flight was wonderful. It definitely reinvigorated my desire to take up flying when I get back to the states… and have the money and time. We got back around 10:00 and waited for the other family faction to arrive. Their excursion was equally enjoyable. We went to the Livingston Shopright and bought a few things for lunch and breakfast Saturday morning, then headed back. For dinner we tried the pizza place there. It wasn’t as good as the one at Black Night but was still not bad.

Saturday we got up somewhat early, ate a quick breakfast and headed to the bus stop. When I got there I realized I didn’t have my water bottle. Against my families concerns I ran back, found it, and took a taxi back to the terminal with 10 minuets to spare. Unfortunately, because I was wearing my water shoes that had less support, I strained my inner ankle in the run back. We made about as good time as in coming to the city and got back to Lusaka at about 1500. First we dropped our stuff at the guest house, and then we went to the PCZHQ to download the photos from my sister’s computer. We forgot my Dad’s which sucked but at least we got my sisters pictures from her semi professional camera. We then took a taxi that was supposed to be headed to the same Mahak Indian Restaurant that we went to last time we were in Lusaka, however none of us could remember how to get there. We finally got directions, but they were for the other Mahak eatery in Kabulonga that didn’t have the same all-you-can-eat dish.

Sunday we regretfully said good buy early because I needed to go to Manda Hill to get shoes and they needed to head to the bus stop. We walked to the end of the road together, and then we headed our separate ways. I think it was a good trip in all. I was successful in finding shoes that fit, although the pair I bought were some of the only ones in the store big enough. Zambians must have small feet. After getting some things from Shopright I took a taxi back to the PCZHQ and started trying to get windows working again on my laptop. I was actually successful in finding the solution to my problem and finally, after 4 months, had it working again. I got to bed really late though and only got about 4 hours of sleep.

Monday I had a few more things to do on my laptop, I needed to check in on the progress of the cycle which of course no one knew what the status of it was, and I tried to get a new mosquito net but apparently they only have the exact number of ones that there are volunteers and they are shipped from Washington so they were not available. I finally got everything packed and got to the bus around 1500. Fortunately, or unfortunately it took an hour before it finally left but I didn’t get there until after midnight meaning another 4 hours night sleep. To make maters worse, I got sick on the bus and just barely made it to the window to through up a couple times. Luckily I was feeling a bit better by the time I got to the house.

Tuesday we had our provincial meeting which was somewhat standard and then in the afternoon there were some workshops for project ideas. By the end of the day I was incredibly tired and I got to sleep before 2100. There was no power or water for most of Tuesday which was sindibwino because I wanted to begin writing this blog.

Wednesday the power came back on and I began writing this epic blog and scanning my laptop for viruses but didn’t do much else because my ankle still hurt.

Thursday, today, I am hopefully going back to my site finally for a good long stay.

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.