Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sometimes You Have to Catch a Kid by the Throat

So what's been going on with me for the last few months?

New Bed
So my old bed was a ¾ size, but I bought a double size mattress. That's been working out for a while, but my back has been bothering me enough with biking so much, so I decided to go ahead and buy a new bed frame. So I went to the carpenter and ordered one, including that it is much higher from the ground to allow for more storage space in my tiny hut. It cost $60 plus a $8 delivery, and only took out part of a clay wall in the installation. It's quite nice.

Bagheera's New Bed
The day before the new bed was delivered, I broke down the old bed and managed to create a functional but not so pretty shelf to hold clothes and other random things I've collected here. So it's been 7 months, but I'm finally not living out of bags, except now, but that's cause I'm in Mansa.

Bagheera has been sleeping on a chair seat next to the bed since I got him (since he's not allowed on my bed), but since the new bed is bigger and my hut is so small, the chair seat doesn't fit anymore. So I broke that down too and rigged up a new bedside table, complete with new fabric for him to sleep on. He loves it.

To Catch A Goat
I've been complaining about goats in my yard eating my plants for quite some time. Every time I mention it they tell me they are going to encourage their friends to tie up their animals (and it's the law). And when the goats come again I complain again and they tell me next time it happens to go to the headman. At the last fish farmers meeting I brought it up again and asked what happens if I catch a goat in my yard. They debate and argue for a while and finally don't come to a conclusion for me. I ask if it's mine, if I can kill it, if I can eat it, etc. But nothing. So after the meeting I'm sitting under my porch cooking spaghetti and a mother goat and a kid walk right past me. I put down my book slowly, and take off chasing them around my cimbusu then through my hammock area, under some thorn bushes, where the kid gets caught on a vine. It's mine. Tied it up with a rope, then carried it to the headman's house, where he continued to laugh at me. I told him I'd catch one. So we headed out to find the owner. Some other neighbors stopped by to see the goat I caught, and tried to help with ideas to help me out, such as building a fence around my whole yard (dozens of stakes when they only need 1, ugh). I ended up giving the kid back, but I told them next time I'm having goat for dinner. Now I kinda hope I do.

Trip to Tang
A group of us are planning a trip for Easter weekend up to Lake Tanganyika near the town of Mpulungu. After, we're headed to some hot springs south of Kasama. Looking forward to some relaxation, I'll add some pictures when I'm back.

Compost Contest
Most of the farmers in my fish farming group have been having trouble taking their compost cribs seriously and adding lots of compost. So, I held a competition, anyone who could stand on their compost crib by the end of the week, I'd take their picture. We've heard that Zambian farmers are very jealous and competitive, so if we can find a way to use this constructively, give it a try. I had 12 out of 12 winners.

Pepper Paradise
I've finally got pepper plants growing. So far I have to go to Mansa or bike 2 ½ hours to Samfya boma to get peppers, so I'm quite exited for the possibility of some peppers in my garden.

Bike Wreck
Headed back from a boma 20 km from my site one evening, hoping to get in before sunset. Heading across a large dambo I heard a crunch beneath me, looked down to see my front tire heading behind me. I guess the wheel wasn't put together well and I never thought to check it. I kind of blacked out for the fall, and “woke up” sliding across the gravel on my back just in time to kick my bike away from falling on me. I picked myself up, seeing stars, and began picking up pieces of my bike. I had 3 cuts across my right elbow, a burn on my right wrist, 4 cuts on the back of my left hand and 1 on my palm, my big toe was gashed, my belly was scraped, as well as my back, and my helmet had a scrape. My basket broke and my new odometer destroyed. I have no idea how all of this happened. I was 10 km from 2 friends heading the opposite direction without network connection, 10 km from my nearest neighbor, and 10 km from my site.

I managed to put my wheel back on my bike, reattach my basket (sort of), and headed home. Throughout the week bruises showed up on both sides of both my knees, and thighs, as well as my left shin. My shoulder still hurts, I think I landed on it.

Broken Tooth
And of course when all my cuts and bruises had healed up well, I ate some rice and beans and chipped one of my molars. Zambia wins again.

1st Fish Harvest
While looking over the ponds, some of the group members saw some nests created by a big fish in one of the ponds. We decided we could drain that pond and harvest the fish, fill the pond a few days later, and still be on schedule to get fingerlings with all the other ponds. It took about an hour all together, with several of the group members and I running around in the mud chasing one fish. Patrick, my counterpart ended up catching the fish. We spent a while longer picking out pests from the ponds like frogs and other types of fish, as well as collecting fingerlings they eat as relish.

Snake n Shed
While cleaning out my shed I ran across a snake hiding underneath my cement mix and lime. Managed to take it's head off with a shovel, grilled the body and fed it to the cat. Turned out to be some kind of viper, not deadly, but would have packed a punch.

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