Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Updates All Around!

So what's new in the last month or so?

Well first of all when I got back from Lake Tanganyika, Bagheera decided to go off on some wild adventures. My counterpart, who was taking care of feeding Bagheera while I was gone said that he had eaten his food the night before I returned, but no one had seen him since. While I hosted 2nd site visit I heard nothing about him until I brought it up at my fish farmers meeting. One of my neighbors said he had seen Bagheera near his house for the past few nights. So for the next few evenings I went to his house to call for Bagheera (he knows his name). But I didn't have any success. Then I hear that guy's neighbor started hearing him in the night. So I went over to his house after dark to look for him. Still nothing. So I opened it up to anyone in the village who could either come get me when they found him, or bring him to me, I'd pay them. Still nothing, though people still talked about seeing and hearing him. I don't get it.

Just before this was going on, I was looking for puppies. I have wanted to get a dog but since I travel so much I wanted to make sure I had a neighbor who would “own” the dog, and I'd help pay to feed it. I did have a neighbor lined up, now I needed to find the right puppy. I was going to get a puppy from one of my nearest volunteer neighbors, but she got relocated due to some safety concerns at her site (nothing too serious). So getting those puppies fell through. But I did find a puppy being sold in the next village over, so I decided to go take a look. The one who hadn't been sold yet cost 5 kwacha, about a dollar, but was still too young, so I'd have to keep checking back and wait.

While this was going on I went to visit another neighbor, Diana, and while at her site, while she was doing laundry on her porch, right in front of the door, a tiny kitten walks straight into her house. So now I'm catless, unsure about a puppy, and my friend now has 2 cats, and the big one has a problem with the small one. One thing led to another and we named it Mama, after her cat, Papa. And I took it home on my bike in a basket, 26 miles of bush paths and bumpy dirt roads.

Mama is completely different from Bagheera, but it's more her attitude. For instance, she likes to climb trees like Bagheera did when he was young. Mama though, climbs them, cries for hours because she can't turn around, gets tired, and passes out on the branch. Sometimes I have to go save her. She also didn't come home one night because she climbed up on the not finished structure of my chicken house and couldn't get down.

Oh yeah, I finally finished my chicken house. I know some of you were wondering how people build houses here. I've documented the whole process other than making the bricks (which I should have soon soon). Making my chicken house is similar to how they build their houses, so you'll get the idea.

With the leftover bricks from the chicken house, I made a few additions to my land. I'm fed up with dealing with goats eating all of my vegetables, I tore down my first nursery garden, and the living fence for my big garden isn't living so well. So, The main thing I built is a raised circular herb garden. It's a lot smaller, but since it's smaller and closer to my porch, I can care for it easier. Hopefully I can eat some peppers soon. I made a few smaller flower and herb beds, as well as put some bricks around some trees I'm desperately trying to make live.

In other news, due to some scheduling conflicts, I was given the choice of where I wanted to do PEPFAR training. PEPFAR, I forget what it stands for, is an initiative to help spread awareness and education about HIV/AIDS. So, in June I'll be heading to Northwest province for a week long training with a counterpart so that we can take the information back to the village and host workshops, etc. Turns out on the day we leave PEPFAR training, Chipolopolo is playing in Ndola. So I'll be able to fulfill my dream of being a soccer hooligan for an evening. Chipolopolo (meaning “Copper bullets” because of the Copperbelt (which made Zambia, Zambia))) won the African Cup a few years ago. Saying you aren't a Chipolopolo fan in Zambia is about as insulting as saying you don't take (eat) nshima (their main dish).

I was supposed to get a fingerling delivery a few months ago, but the night before they were supposed to deliver the fingerling production plant found out they didn't have plastic bags for delivery or oxygen to put in the bags to help the fish survive longer. So, last week I went and bothered anyone I could about when I'd get the fingerlings. I talked with just about every person who could get the job done, and as far as everyone says, I'll be getting fish in my ponds later this week. I also bothered the Department of Livestock and should be getting a Newcastle's vaccination in July to vaccinate as many chickens in the villages as I can. Newcastle's is probably the #1 killer of chickens in these parts. Plus, by that time I'll have my own chickens so I'll get them vaccinated as well.

(Side note: I'm posting this blog a day after I wrote it, and I was just informed that the fingerlings won't be coming this week, but maybe next week. Again.)

I also got my first case of Malaria. Luckily I was at the provincial house at the time, so I had friends and things readily available to help me out. It began with horrible headaches one morning, which I helped treat with some Tylenol, but by the evening I was in bed rolling over with cold sweats, which continued throughout the night. The next morning I called medical to explain my symptoms and they started me on Coartem, the malaria treatment medication. You take 4 pills twice a day for 3 days. I've taken 5 of the doses and I'm feeling much better. The second day I had to keep a steady input of Tylenol to keep the headaches and cold sweats down. Today I feel I can probably make it without any other meds. The good news, I'm instructed by medical staff to eat a high calorie diet, because Coatrem does a number on your liver. So this morning, with my appetite back, I had 2 buttered pieces of toast, 3 scrambled eggs, and a bowl of ice cream!

(Again, since I'm posting this a day later, I'm feeling very well and haven't had Tylenol for some time.)

I also caught another goat. Ate it this time.

Sorry no pictures this time, internet has been awful around here.

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