Wednesday, December 28, 2005

ho ho ho

happy holidays from the lands of tanzania. i hope that everyone is having a very festive holiday season. i have a few moments and thought i should write a bit of an update. seems i get to do this about once a month...and well it is that time again boys and girls. so the last update was just after thanksgiving. well i returned to site and prepared for our inservice training seminar (ist). i worked very hard for the short time i was in the village and got all my materials prepared. so i was in my village for four months after swearing in. during this time we were expected to get to know our villagers and some of the major problems that they face. it is a very loose, indirect communication needs assessment. then we made wish lists. a list of everything that villagers believe that will make their life easier, then my wish list of all the projects i would work on if i could choose, and then compared it to a list of approved projects by the peace corps. if a project appeared on all three lists then it goes into a suggested schedule of projects to attempt. i have PLENTY to work on the next two years. a bit overwhelming as of right now. the first large project (my food preservation projects should be coming to an end within the next couple of months) is a chicken project. this is a 6 month long project that starts with seminars on how to make chicken feeds (there is a guy in my village that has agreed to let me use his machine to grind raw materials such as corn, millet, fish etc) then there will be seminars on building chicken houses. one of the most difficult obstacles between both of these is to try and use as much local materials as possible. building the large elaborate chicken wire houses and bringing food for the chickens that has to be bought is not as sustainable. chicken feeds are more expensive that what people feed their whole family. but if you can use stuff that is laying around then it is more likely that people will continue the practices after i leave....well that is the idea anyway. so after about 6 months of intense education then i hope to have a large amount of top quality roosters brought in as breeding stock to improve the local varieties. SO that is the boring details of what i hope to be doing for the next few months. there are also a bunch of smaller projects i hope to be working on though i will spare you details and maybe bore some of you with some letters.

WHEN GOOD TIMES GO BAD. so i went to this seminar in Amani national park. it was great. beautiful rain forest. i saw several species of monkeys that i have never seen before. chameleons the size of my head. long walks to waterfalls. all is well in the serene rain forest. till DUM DUM DUM....i was sitting on the couch all ready to go hang with some friends when my friend lizzie turns to me and is surprised the shade of grey my face had turned. i suddenly realized i was too weak to stand on my own. after a lovely night on the bathroom floor some good friends take me to doctor (which i was fortunate to be staying next to the malaria research institute of tanzania where there are a number of doctors on hand) they believed that i had giarrdia exsaserbated with food poisoning. wow. that felt great. i really thought that i was never going to get better. it only lasted a couple of days but when i woke up that third morning i sweat there was a bird singing outside my window as the sun broke from behind the clouds. so it has been a week since then...i feel great. and being a little more careful with what i digest.

so fortunately i was feeling better before arriving to the beach on christmas eve. the hotel we were staying at had a seafood buffet with so much good food that i ate till i was sick again. OH MY GOD it was SO GOOD!!!! i did cut my hand while cracking the fresh crab though. fooey. then i woke up christmas day and went on a 5 hour snorkel trip. great stuff. i found nemo...several times. i also saw some lion fish and some of the most amazing star fish. so many beautiful fish. then i realized that swimming for 5 hours with your bum in the air is not good for the backs of the legs....rough bus ride the next day. so with a sunburned bum i go to say goodbye to the sea when it gave be a final farewell by stinging me with a SEA URCHIN!!!! oh my god that hurt. for about 1/2 an hour i thought i should start writing a will not knowing if it was poison in me or what...then it went away...completely. just a few days afterward now and not a sign it even happened.

then just after christmas i went to dar es salaam (port of peace). when i thought i would try out the deadly sin of gluttony. wow. one day i had 3 lunches. one of with was subway (the only U.S. fast food chain in tanzania).

no i am meandering my way back to village. i will spend new years eve with a group of volunteers in the district before heading back to the village on new years day. there is apparently some ex-pat club with a pool that we are doing new years eve at. it should be fun...then back to site. and i will have to camp out there till the end of the month. but i would like to remind all that my birthday is jan 13th. i dont need much...just an email...or a letter...a simple hello.

well unil next time. hope all of you a happy new year.



Blogger chris said...

you are so awesome for what you are doing....

goodbye! i dont think i will be around during the 12-13th of january, so happy birthday right now! yay!

12:27 AM  
Anonymous powersbongo said...

A Ministry for East African integration is needed in the Tanzania Government if we are to be taken seriously

2:21 PM  
Blogger jstrozes said...

Sorry I haven't written. I was back in Cote d'Ivoire and Burkina Faso for a few months. Things are not going that well on that particular piece of coastal area. Anyway, sounds like good old Peace Corps fun. Watch out for those ex-pat's their a tricky bunch.

On a side note - my research in Cote d'Ivoire took me to a national park as well. About 49,000 people are living there illegally. I interviewed two villages of 14,000 and 12,000 respectively. A new government army group has been specifically tasked with removing the inhabitants by any means necessary. The inhabitants killed an elephant one of the nights I stayed in the village and there was a raid. I wish it was waterfalls and long hikes - I also got malaria - again.

6:11 AM  
Anonymous Kyle said...

You crazy kids and your maleria and coups. ; )
anyhoo, I know i'll be shunned for mentioning Starbucks, but they just came out with a new tea flavor. African Red Bush.
that's got my Janey written all over it! lets see if we can get some to you, huh?

9:42 AM  
Anonymous Jim said...

Happy birthday Jane. We miss you around here in T-Town. I hope you have a great time on your b-day! If you turn another year older on another continent, when you get back does it count? Love You Sister.

9:27 AM  

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