As to my side; I finally finished that goat husbandry training that I feel has been pending for months. It went more smoothly than I ever could have dreamed and the content was rather impressive. Once it was in full swing really I was just on food duty, which can be crazy for 30 people when you only have a bike, which means lots of bread and spreads. Sometimes trainers were late and trainees didn’t show, but at the end of I was left with and students that hopefully learned enough to not kill these 500$ a pop goats from south Africa; not to mention a bloody bowl of testicles from the castration practical. I was a bit skirmish the how time and my site mate who came to take pictures couldn’t hold still for the phantom crotch pain. But my women jumped right in to participate. I was so proud of them.
I go to Lilongwe more often these days to enjoying an array of creature comforts and spend time with the boy and recently (I don’t know how my boss worked it) we got to have a luncheon with the president of Malawi! We went to the state house complete with Zebras grazing in the front yard, lunch, speeches, open bar and dancing. It was super chill and I was surprise at how much fun we all had. It was a good PR thing and they even put it on the local TV station. My first time ever to shake the hand of a political leader and his wife, it was awesome! But man did I get some nasty blister because after only wearing tevas for some 17 months having to polish up and wear heels was a bit too much for my feet.
I have now sat on this email long enough I have other things to add to it. Now the goats have actually arrived in the village. We are still waiting on the big males, which is unfortunately the main point but the other 40 local females for breeding are there…well actually only 25 of the 40. So here is the story. When we meet the suppliers in the boma the goats they had in their truck were not only less then 7 months old and sick but they were fainting because they hadn’t been feed of watered for 2 days and later some would actually die. This was a breech of contract so we got the price lowered but for what we were paying they were still way too expensive. We were paying 2 different prices as the goats were coming from 2 different places and we did this in order to mix up the genetics. Come to find out later that the further away company called the closer company and they all came for the same place but the prices remained the same. I was furious and thinking of the horrible things I should say in Chichewa to their faces. I laugh now as the worst things I could think to insult them with is that I hoped they got aids and die. This country will never go anywhere if citizens and government employees continue to try and take financial advantage of those local people who have initiative enough to try something new or people who are trying to help or at least not until there are legal consequences for such to action act as deterrents. For example, Peace Corp had an accountant who for years and years embezzled money. By the time they caught it in the records he had taken thousands of US dollars. But even with lots of paper trails and evidence because the court system doesn’t work here and probably someone got paid off it has been two years and no sentence/verdict has been passed. It was just frustrating in that we tried so hard to do our homework so that we would get a good product. Talking to vets and extension agents in order to do the right thing but we still failed. We are still trying to coordinate for the male goats, which is the whole point. We are thinking this week but once again I’ll get back to you if it actually happens.
Got an oil press to a women’s group but they are dragging their feet to find someone to make the stand of it so I may just borrow my sitemate’s tools and go try to make it myself, though the board I got for making it I think is going to be too thick and heavy so I might have to buy another one. Recently went to a wedding…When I finally arrive back in the states I’m going to miss being the guest of honor, given all the best food and seats, everywhere I go. I didn’t the story all that clear but my neighbor was saying something about two guys stealing all the money that was earned for the new couple and then something about the police finding the guys and an ax.
In other news my neighbor’s twins are babbling up a storm and they know mama and the name of the dog, Charlie. They are little crawling monsters that can stand and dance if you give them a beat but not walk. The Academe has been on their winter break so there are no students around and I have found pleasure in going and watching music videos until late in the afternoon at the club there. It’s still a little cold here to be using the pool. While waiting for my rare door to door ride to Lilongwe the other day (To get to Lilongwe it is usually a 2k walk to the road, a 30K ride in the back of a pickup to kasungu, a 2k ride on the back of a bike to the main highway where I stand under a flattop African tree where I do my hitch hiking to get to town. Then people who take me to Lilongwe usually can’t drop me exactly where I want to go so I often have to catch a 15 min minibus ride too. You can imagine how nice a direct delivery is.) I played a Malawian game called fly, which is a kind of dodge ball with the neighbors. I had played it many times before but it had been awhile and the interaction was refreshing but I was so dusty by the end I had to go take a bath I couldn’t go into town looking like that.
It is crazy to think that I only have 8 months left to be here and have to start little by little thinking about what will be next only when I have begun feel that I have gotten settled here. It’s rather tiring yet exciting that once you get a job lined up and your life in order you have to turn around and change it again. I’m considering anything from staying here in Malawi, doing initial 1st world reentry on an organic farm in Squim Washington, moving to Vermont and getting a low stress job going food service or going back to school. I don’t have to starting making serious decisions about this kind of stuff until December.
As it is i'm going up to the northern part of the country to Karonga where a girl in my group is holding a week long women's development camp. Showing these high school girls their career opportunities, other women who hold leadership positions in the community, their rights as a human being, reproductive and sexual health, leadership skills, self respect and in general just create a space for discussion. I'm going to get help teach and control the chaos as needed. Well that 's all i can think of for now so i'm going to head out and get lunch at my usual greasy spoon place in the old town market called the silver spoon where i get a coke, a huge plate of beans, rice with greens and a type of tomato sauce to pour over the rice for just $1.50 of 210 Kwacha.