So, another fantastic month has passed, and I have just returned from my IST in Lusaka. It was FANTASTIC!!! So fantastic that it warrented two fantastics in a row. It was so wonderful to be able to spend a couple weeks with some of the coolest people in the whole world (whom I have missed very much since April), and we all had a great time. I ate lots of delicious food, even watched a movie (Inception was awesome, btw) and was able to really re-adjust my focus and gather my thoughts from the past few months. I learned tons of great stuff and am ready to head back to begin working on projects. It really was like a vacation full of learning. And Education Vacation, in fact.
Once I really get some stuff going, I’ll fill you all in on what exactly I’m doing here. It’s easy to say that I’m in Peace Corps as an environment/agriculture extension volunteer. I can even say that my program focuses on food security and sustainable development in these areas, but when it comes to the actual nitty-gritty of what I’m doing here, it can be a bit confusing to understand, and even to explain. So, here are some ideas on what I have planned for the next few weeks…. I’m going to try to work with one of my local co-ops on improving the management of their 230 layer hens, teaching break-even analysis, improved record keeping, more efficient feeding programs and facility structure. I’m really stoked about this one, obviously, as this sort of thing is really my deal. :D I also hope to start a tree nursery so I can get all of my agro-forestry seeds started and turned into thriving seedlings by the time planting season rolls around in December. I am going to be working with one of the local missions on developing their fish pond (improve the structure, stock the pond, raise the wee fishies into delicious bream dinners, ect.). I want to start a garden at a OVC (orphans/vulnerable children) school near town so they can start earning their own money for toilets, a deeper well, books, etc, with the longer term goal of raising rabbits for income. My counterpart and I are also making plans to start a PLWHA support group (people living with hiv/aids) in our area, but this one may take a while. It may take some time before folks are really comfortable about coming forward about their status, there’s still a TON if stigma and prejudice surrounding the disease where I live. (I would never call Luapula “back-woods,” but I do seem to be drawn to the most rural areas no matter what part of the world I end up living in. Even in another country, I’m in the country… I wouldn’t have it any other way, really.) I have so many more ideas, and really because the realm of possibility is so vast, I’ll probably just play my cards as they come, and keep you all updated. It was brought to my attention that many of you have been asking how you can help, which is great, and I really appreciate it. If I need anything at all (aside from moral support in the form of letters, *winkwinknudgenudge*), I will most certainly ask. Well, I’ll probably still ask for letters too, to be completely honest…. Just stay posted :D
On a more somber note, I must be the bringer of woeful tidings. True to the ironic form of my life, the day after I posted the beginnings of the Eggs of Our Lives saga, tragedy struck. I returned to my village to find that poor Ozmodius has disappeared without a trace. Gone. I had become so fond of his bedraggled presence, and I immediately began investigating as to the circumstances of his demise. I refuse to believe that he ended his days in the respectable yet boring manner of accompanying my neighbors’ nshima and umusalu. That would be absurdly logical. Instead, I noted the sudden appearance of the Miguel Twins in the neighborhood. Dark and mysterious, Jose and Ricardo randomly showed up, lurking around suspiciously at the scene of the crime. Something about those two….I’m thinking that it is entirely possible that Arthur Jackson hired them as hit men to finish off Oz once and for all. Or it could be the jaded Barbie, disgraced and vengeful, but this is all merely speculation. The third theory is that Oz faked his own death, hired the Jose and Carlos as a front, and will someday re-emerge as a famous Zam-pop star, complete with convertible Mercedes and tons of hot chicks, and return to his old scratching grounds with the sole intent of making Arthur Jackson look like an utter fool. It might work, although some of his royalties will defiantly need to go to a feather transplant, complete make-over style. I shall keep a hopeful ear to the shortwave, just in case…
Hope the summer has been treating you all well. Cold season is just ending here and the days are getting hotter and hotter. While I am really loving it right now, I know that soon it will be too hot to work and bike during the day, and then too hot to even sleep at night, and the dust will stick to my sweat, and the wind will feel like an oven furnace. I have been warned….I can’t wait. Time to get serious about my sweet Zam-tan (don’t worry, I’ll wear plenty of sunscreen). Happy almost Labor Day to all, and to all those sorry souls going back to school….Godspeed…And HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! Sorry, I couldn’t resist. Love you all.