Gooooooood morning folks! This blog’s a little down and dirty, a bit personal, the topics awkward but funny, and well… You’ll see. You’ll forgive me infusing a bit of humor to save you from the butt of it.
So it’s that time in the week when I lay in bed and write y’all another update. This week has been a roller coaster ride. Well actually, it’s only Tuesday. I feel a little bit like Theseus. Save the maiden, cut off some monsters head, return to a destroyed city…. Just kidding!
If you’ve had time to read my last few blogs you’ll note that I had my first brush with home sickness this week, brought on by a kind gesture by my host, and an intense desire to West Coast Swing – I know Tony Schubert will enjoy that bit – I also touched on communication, and some other nonsense.
But writing aside, I’ve been hard at work here in Chisunka. I had a quarter Lima -25m x 25m (75ft x 75ft for you non metric folks) – furrowed and mounds made. I’ve been busy cultivating soya beans, corn, garlic and soon watermelons, chard, and cabbage! Crazy exciting three months from now I know.
I took an opportunity to drag my hands out of the fresh, dark earth long enough to build a rushed, but makeshift solar drier out of my dishes rack. Using some black roofing plastic, a torn and useless old mosquito net from the trash at the clinic, the plastic that my mattress came in (I’m a useful junk kind of pack-rat ) combined with some fancy knot work, and a lot, I mean a looooot of staples, I had myself a downright sexy lookin’ solar drier. Now, a drying tray later, it’s lookin’ so good my host and neighbors want to make ’em as well. Food security here we come! Lead by example right?
I’ll end up making a much larger one when I get my hands on a sufficient amount of bamboo. Four boxes and eight trays. I’ll use it for larger scale food preservation and keep it out on display for the village. Once I get the kinks worked out (where to find the plastic) I’ll help pay to build 2 or 3 that size at the clinic for use by the villagers. It’ll help increase visibility and generate interest. It’s also a great IGA.
I bet your all pretty curious, none of this is awkward or icky… Yeah yeah, I’m gettin’ there! Keep yer shorts on!
After my solar drier and delving back into the rich earth, I was inclined to build myself a very simple but effective piece of goat prevention technology. A maize meal sack nailed to the bottom portion of my latrine.
Then it was materials gathering. Alcoholism is a big problem affecting health and food security at all levels in my catchment. There are no positives to it. It’s a drain on manpower, ability, focus etc. etc. In addition it’s a contributing factor to abuse, and child nutrition and health problems across the board. Commentary aside, the 1.5 liter beer bottles (that’s right just a little smaller than a 2L coke bottle only beer) when cut open, hung and filled with dirt, make awesome nurseries for fragile, tender new shoots! A little rope, a hot nail fresh from the coals, a little knot-tying, the bottles and boom … you’re making use of vertical space. With some creative hole-poking you can fill the top bottle with water and have a drip irrigation system for all 3. Not too shabby.
Then it was back to the grind, cooking over my braiser, slaving over hot coals in the humid heat… I mentioned I bought these ridiculously comfortable wicker chairs right? After cooking and stuffing myself with carbs, protein, and vitamins, it’s off to bed. Now, here’s where we get into that forewarned, prophesied moment.
Hmmm. How to say this… Errr, ahem (adjusts his collar) well, uhhh. Damn. Here goes. I want a chamber pot.
Whew. That’s better. So yeah, seriously. It’s a 15m walk to my latrine. It’s dark at night. Thar be snakes and other undesirables, not to mention night time is the time those friendly, female, blood loving, malaria ridden anopheles mosquitos come out with a thirst. I’m pretty keen on not getting malaria and it’s a hassle. I have to untuck my mosquito net (have to do that regardless), find my head lamp (it’s always in the same exact spot) put on long pants and a long sleeve shirt (alright that’s legitimate), then find my sandals (also always in the same spot), unlock my door, make the treacherous journey, often in the rain (yea that part really sucks) and then come back in and do the whole getting ready for bed thing again. So. Decision made. Back to 19th century ideals … Chamber pot it is.
Hahaha. With that I’ll leave you for the night.
Good night all.