Monday, October 31, 2005

siku kuu halloween/ rat's nest

hey everyone, it seems forever since i have last posted a message. but life in the village got busy fast. i have not made it town for a while, except for brief business related stuff. yes i have business related stuff going on. so today is Halloween and i have taken a 24 hour break from the village and came to the big city (as opposed to the little city close to the house) the was a big costume party of wazungu (a term that is debated whether it is derogatory or not for foriegners). i did not decide to come till the last minute...and was the only one not dressed up. though there where some people that must have been awfully bored in their village because there was a lot of time put into their costume. this morning i started off with hot chocolate cake and banana honey ice cream for breakfast (the catholic diocees just opened this brilliant restaurant to raise get your french press when you order coffee and they have GREAT food) then went out for a cheeseburger at 10am....hee hee, i love being in the city!!!! though i did get randomly picked on by some immigration officers today. it is peek safari season and there is one of the largest safari parks next to the city so there are white tourists everywhere right now. some officers stop me coming out of my hotel and want a copy of my passport, gave it to them and had not realized that the date on my visa was incorrect. long story short, called peace corps....they took care of everything, as they always do.

so i guess i should probably recap a bit on what i have been up to over the last month. the swahili still blows, but improving slowly. a few weeks ago, my village must have decided it was time for me to get to work. i went from reading books all day long to all of the sudden (literally in one day) emerged into many projects. the way projects ideally work is that they are brought to me by the people in the village themselves. this way you know there is a desire and want for the project and you are not trying to convince. really i believe i have said it before, but i am a mere facilitator into what the village needs and wants. so i cant remember if i mentioned it or not, but the last volunteer started many bee projects around my village. after several people approached me and told me they want help marketing their honey, i have started a survey to find just how much honey we produce. so far about 40 people produce about 175liters every three months (it flucuate) together. some take their honey to dar, peace corps volunteers are largest buyer at the village level. they sell some to the locals, though mostly seen as a medicine. the things about our honey is, well, it is the best honey i have EVER TASTED IN MY LIFE!!!!! there is a natural flavor of caramel and vanilla IN the honey....anyway, i am sure this boring but i have been work on a grant to get marketing representatives to come and help me teach local marketing to the bee keepers so they can sell their honey in a more efficient manor.

next the biggest time consumer is jam making. i had invited my fundi (the man that made my furniture) over to my house for tea and served chapati (greasy tortilla) with some peace jam that i bought he loved it and wanted to know if i could make it. i said yes (we were trained how) and to let me know when he wanted me to come teach. thinking that this would be a long way off or that i would not hear anything about it again, i put it out of my mind. but then the next weekend i had a group of mamas (adult women are called mamas) show telling me they would buy all the ingredients if i would teach them how to make jams. the reason this is popular is because fruits have such a short harvest season and they end up feeding all the fruit they cant eat to their animals and then grave fruit the rest of the year. since peaces wont harvest for another month or two, i am using mangos. bonnie (another volunteer) came and helped me translate, i had a HUGE turnout and then had more people tell me they wanted me to teach in other subvillages. so have written another grant to invite the food preservation instructor for the ministry of agriculture university to come and do a large production lessons for the villages.

so as i am not supposed to be grant writing till after i have done my in service training in December, i don't quite have approval yet. though i turned them in and my boss got right back to me saying that they are great ideas and wants to expand on them to make them include other regions that i would be coordinating. also say that he would use my grant as the example of how to write a grant (because i am sure there is much needed improvement on mine) and that it would be completed by the 16th of jan. which is right at the end of peace season so there will be lots of peaches to work with. so things are looking good for the jam making and marketing!

lets see, i also built a seed bed for transplanting vegies and a compost pile that is made from eucalyptus and screen. i actually hammered my thumb in the process. all the materials though where locally gathered or used from rubbish. (sorry been hanging with the brits)

well this seems to be long and am sure an incredibly excitable read..OH OH OH I do i have one good story....hee hee hee, you are going to LOVE this. so the other morning i am laying in bed, being lazy. i put my hand up behind my head to adjust my pillow, and i felt something run across my shoulder and under my arm. i jumped up and sat up in bed. i thought, what was that? must have been a piece of my hair tickling me, surely. or that i was still half asleep and that i was delusional....but to make sure, i picked up my pillow. a 2-3inch long mouse ran from under my pillow jumped off my bed and out the door. i just sat there for a moment, then chuckled then went and made coffee. it wasn't till after a cup that i realized that A MOUSE HAD BEEN NESTING IN MY HAIR!!!! and then i got upset at the fact, that it really didn't seem to bother me. so yeah, after all these years, my hair has actually become a rats nest that it has been called so many times!!!!

on that note, i sign off....

love jane


Anonymous The Sixth LeGrand said...

I can't believe no one has commented on the "rat's nest". You are top five of the coolest people I know! Jam Master Jane and the new addition of stray cats - ROCK!!
Since I only go on vacation once every five years, I don't see myself in Africa soon - but if the day arises I'm there buddy!
Love you bunches and can't believe it's going to be forever and a day 'til I sees you again!

10:03 AM  

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