Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Hey everyone. Not a lot has changed in the past week. I'm still here at the lake having an awesome time, frequently applying sunblock, and eating fresh fish. I was on the southern part of the lake in Cape MaClear, but now I'm up north at Nkhata Bay. Good times. Happy New Year to all! Welcome to 2011.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas!

First of all a big thanks to all those who donated to the Bangu well project. You're really making a difference to the people in my community. When I told the Chairman of the Village Development Committee (the one in the pink shirt below), that I secured funding for shovels, piping, and bags of cement, he went nuts and started dancing. So thanks from all of us in the village!

The last couple days I've been sick so I'm still recovering from that. Before you get excited, you should know that its just a head cold...nothing cool and exotic. This morning I got an awesome hitch into town where I am until tomorrow morning when I'm off to the lake.

I'm excited to spend the next two weeks hanging out by the lake, though it doesn't feel like Christmas, maybe its because its so hot and humid. Oh well, first Christmas away from home and I'll be spending it in a tropical paradise. Not bad.

I hope everyone over there has a great Christmas and a very happy New Year!

I send pictures in the mail yesterday so you should get those in a few weeks.

Monday, December 20, 2010

This is not the borehole project...but

This is for a smaller scale water project with my community. There is no water in my area so people in the village are resorting to what they're ancestors did...they're digging them. this project is to get more supplies and find cement so the water is clean(er).

This is my real first approved grant, so I'm excited! This is an amazing organization if you're looking for some place to donate. Its only available for peace corps volunteers which means more of the donated money actually goes to the project. I'll be buying bags of cement the first of the new year.

I should tell my friend Andrew (the one in the pink shirt in the photo) that he's famous. That might excited him.

This morning I headed to the bank with three members from the village development committee so they have a place to store borehole money before its done (mostly so its not in my house). Done and done after waiting 4 hours in the bank (that's how things are done here) and then lecturing the teller about the necessity and functions of the federal reserve (idiot). I even offered to draw her a graph, I'm not sure why she declined...maybe it was a translation issue. Whatever.

Rain storm. The rain finished but I have a problem with my bicycle tire....can't figure that one out and I have 18km before I'm home. Won't walk it...what to do.

Anyway, Wednesday I'm off to the lake to enjoy my Christmas vacation for a week and a half! I'm excited. I just got all those pictures and videos my mom sent so a big thanks and I miss you to all the folks in Lake Stevens. You're great. I'm going to send more pictures tomorrow in the mail so hopefully they should get there in a few weeks!

Thanks for all of your support, I'll try to get another post in my Christmas, maybe pictures if your lucky (actually, no, that won't happen, sorry). Anyway, hope all is well in 'merika!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Chitukuko wa Madzi

One of the diggers standing in front of a hand-dug,un-cemented, traditional well.

I might move here."Water Development"

Dear, Lake Stevens, WA,

I am craving an Ixtapa Burrito and a Pepsi. Eat/drink on on my behave. Don't forget the chips and salsa. Most of my cravings are Mexican food.

That is completely beside the point but now that its out of the way I can get back to the issue at hand...what's happening here.

Yesterday, I was at a friends house when I saw a little boy dancing. He reminded me of a muppet so I laughed at him. It turned out he ate to quickly at was choking a little. Fail. People asked me why I was laughing at a choking 8-year-old boy....I tried to explain that he looked like a muppet (with my explanation I did my muppet-head/arm flail-you know what I'm talking about) but the explanation didn't help my case. Luckily the friend whose house I was at is the boys uncle so everything was explained. Amy strikes again.

It has cooled down here considerably, when the rain is actually falling. When its not falling, its unbelievably hot, or at least unbearable humid (it really IS the humidity that gets you).

I got grass clippings to bring back to my village to plant along the sides of the roads to prevent soil erosion. I'm also going to plant it on the sides of the river banks but I haven't told anyone that. I'm in the boma right now hoping to hear some things back from some different proposals and contacts I sent out last week...also, because I was looking for an excuse to get out of the village for a bit. Its always nice to take a break and get a cold fanta or bag of milk (yes I take a lactaide and yes, Diana, its pasteurized).

The borehole, I'm almost positive, is going to have to wait until next year because of the rain. Its here. I still have to convince my village to go along with it and wait almost a whole year, but that's ok.

Friday, I promised to explain the larger water project thats sort of still in the brainstorming area.

Water in my area is piped off the mountain from the Lujeri river that runs off Mt. Mulanje. Its piped down around tea fields and into the villages. The problems start right as it reaches the village because the bulk of the water is diverted into the tea estates to water the fields. The problem, with the water in the village, as I've been told is that the pipe that runs through the villages is too small. If the holding tank were to be situated with more cement to increase pressure, and the small pipes were to be switched out with two larger ones and expanded the length of the district, people could put taps in wherever they wanted and the water problems, would theoretically be solved. Keep in mind, however, that this is what was explained to me last week, I still have yet to see the scheme. I'm hoping to this week have a better idea of what exactly is needed. I know, however that it would mostly be pipes, taps, cement, and I don't know what else. We'll see if I get to see it this week and what I find out, but that's what's in the works right now, other than the fact that its lunch time and I'm hungry but I'm trying to upload photos so I'm stuck here until that's done.

I need to get flour on my way home so I can make pancakes. I make them a lot. :)

With the holidays coming up I'm finding myself slightly nostalgic for cooler weather, fudge, and dad's snow onsey (not that there's still snow on the ground). Then again, starting next week I'm going to be lounging on a white-sandy beach in a tropical paradise so both have their benefits. I have, however, been listening to Christmas music.

I went to my first wedding in Malawi this week. I'm not sure if I was late or early or that's all they do but it was a lot of dancing. Also, people here throw money (while dancing, of course) at the bride and groom. I think that's a tradition that should be taken to the US (meggie?). I like it. Anyway, it was a lot of fun, especially when the headmaster of the primary school in my village says "lets see your moves". People here need to stop watching bad American television. It was a good time though, despite the fact that I got caught in the rain. I have a hard time explaining to people that I'm used to the rain. They say it rains where your from too? Oh yes. Haha. Well, that's about all for now, enjoy the pictures, sorry there are only 3.

Love from Malawi

Diana's coming! She bought a plane ticket!!!!! Wahooooooo!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Hey there from Malawi

where rice is a breakfast food, eggs are strictly a dinner food, and bananas are to aid digestion after meals (I'm not convinced)..and people here think everything I do is backwards.

This week, I'm still messing with borehole stuff, I'm not so sure now that it will happen this year seeing as how the community isn't even 1/4 of the way with their contribution and the kids start on Christmas Holiday today until the first week of January. Bad timing I guess, its the hungry season, after all; no one has money. Anyway, that's an update on that.

On top of the bore hole I'm trying to get my hands on some smaller scale proposals to get bags of cement so some of the hand dug wells, and more that will be made, can be cemented so they're at least producing clear water, instead of the cloudy, dirty water people are using now. We'll see how that goes.

What else, I'm still working on a greenbelt project to plant a sort of nitrogen fixing, creeping grass along the sides of the roads and rivers to help prevent erosion. All that's left now is to get the seeds which I have been promised by a person who is now really hard to find (I think he's avoiding me).

Other than a bunch of other little projects, like trying to find and oil press, knitting machine, gender development, small business advising, ect, I think I finally stumbled upon the large scale water project I've been waiting for in my area.

I'm not sure if I've explained the water situation in my village, other than complaining about how it never works. Actually, that's a story I'm going to save that story for when the internet at MMCT isn't broken and I'm not paying and uploading pictures for a proposal that needs to go out this week. Basically, I could fix all the water problems in m y area pretty easily, it just might mean me staying here an extra year....its a big project. More on that later.

That's an update on my projects.

In other news, Bri and I found bacon at a gas station in the boma (less sketchy than it sounds) so we're going to have BLT's - lettuce -mayo. YEAH!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Well hey there

So, I typed up a long post about everything I'vebeen up to this week (mostly complaining about long meetings that turned out to be pointless and talking about how I eat baby chickens and bugs and they're delicous) but then I accidently deleted it.

On the bright side, I uploaded this photo of a boy in my village. Meredith, this is the 13-year-old boy I promised you to. I went to take his picture and he asked me if it was to show you. When I said yes, he made me wait so that I could dress up. He ran to hishouse, colored this paper tie and pinned it on his shirt. Then, he let me take the picture. He also said that if you come here he'll give you a 50 kg bag of should be exciting. I probably should have put this on facebook.

Anyway, meetings meetings meetings this week since I've been back from Lilongwe.

Village Development Committee
School Committee
Community based organization
Head Masters

All concerning the bore hole and the 25 % required community contribution.

Long meetings. In these long meetings, people are mostly discussing how to make people bring money. I'm worried because the rainy season is here.

I really wish I didnt erase that post. It was a good one.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Chuck likes the chimbuzu too much


I peed on her head this morning.


Happy thoughts from Malawi.