So, its time for one of those free writing exercises.
You know those ones where you sit down and decide its time to work on your thoughts, to organize yourself, and to bring your mind into focus and clarity. It’s a difficult series of moments, the flow of thoughts, images and feelings through your mind. Processing, channeling them through your experiences and moving those thoughts into actions. Giving them substance and making them tangible.
Here we go. Woooooowie! What a ride!
Today has been such a whirlwind, this way and that, here and there. I woke up today a little on edge. I’ve been on antibiotic for my spider bite and as such it’s thrown off my daily rituals a bit. Bathing three times a day, and taking my medicines, and then of course there’s those warm fuzzy side effects to taking medications that destroy the natural biotic balance inside you. Worth it? Absolutely judging by the rate of infection before I started taking them.
Soooooo cool. I read Dune last night and wrote a late night blog about the importance of letters, the hidden meaning, and why it’s a measure of respect and deference that is demonstrated by how you respond. There’s just so much to think about.
I’m at a cross roads just now. The projects I have left require materials. I’ve built a bamboo solar drier at my hut and I’ve built another at my EHT’s house. I’ve also built the frame for a third. In conjunction with those projects I’ve put together two electrified driers which utilize solar and electricity where available. Just now I’m working over the designs in my head on how to create a hybrid device. A mixture of an electrified light bulb drier and a solar drier. Built of mud brick using clear plastic and blast plastic with a cardboard or sisal material cover. We’ll see if it comes to fruition. I finally have the bamboo required. So, it’s time to get to work! As for the rest of the materials, burned/fired brick is surprisingly hard to come by in the wet season. Go figure… sun dried and then fired mud is difficult to get in a season with high humidity and daily rains. I couldn’t have expected that….Oh wait! Yup! It’s in them there calculations haha. Oh, the glories of seasonal living.
So maybe I’ll just end up biding my time until winter – dry season. But there are projects that should be done now. I just need to find the funding and transport. For 150 dollars I could build two circular 6000 liter rainwater storage tanks and the necessary gutter system. If I got more creative I could probably do it for even less – maybe $100 for a five to ten year system. It could provide 12,000 liters of clean, drinkable water.
But I’m severely limited. It’s hard to sit here during this first rainy season and not impose my will. I see people suffering from lack of clean drinking water, watch children fade and die, and the sick grow sicker from lack of clean water and diarrhea. I know the solutions, but it’s not for me to fund their projects and do the work. It must be sustainable. There must be understanding even if it comes at a high cost. Otherwise, as soon as I leave, the projects will fail and the suffering will be returned – if not 10 fold. These projects must be something they want and do or change will not occur. That’s a whole different kind of thought process, a new diplomacy, a new subterfuge. I guess that’s the really difficult part, manipulation through information and sensitization. Not in a negative sense, but in a life saving, benevolent sense. Rough man. – Slow and frustrating. And the suffering that happens in the interim as you shape awareness and bring about change is heartbreaking.
I guess that’s the hardest and best part about Peace Corps mentality. It’s such a specialized and specific track of mind. What other organization works in such a manner? What other organization understands, joins, and works within a culture, to effect change in such a positive grass roots way? Sustainable, community- led development, guided and co-facilitated by a volunteer, but not carried out by them, not imposed upon the community. A shining light of peace and good will, illustrating the future, and capacity and opportunity, without impressing imperialistic or colonial ideals, without controlling. Subtle manipulations of information and culture to bring about change from within. Like Planetologist Kynes joining the Fremen in Frank Herbert’s Dune, leading through information and subtlety – leading a people toward improved health and development. The development of struggling nations in their own way, through their own understanding and shaped interpretation.
What better way to teach than to live and understand a people by staying with their poorest and suffering, understanding their needs, and using only what’s available to them. Finding solutions that they can manage. We as volunteers are the binding clay that allows the community to build a bridge. It is us that allows for all the pieces to come to together and be bonded. To join, support, and create the foundations of the future. What a thrill and what a responsibility.
Man, that got deep quick didn’t it. Sorry ya’ll. We’ll I’m signing off on those deep thoughts and I’ll return to you soon with another update.