Tuesday, March 14, 2006

I walked to my maize field yesterday. Slight rain, sun peeking out from behind scattered clouds. The maize is past my head and thick cobs of maize are sprouting everywhere. A wind and rain day has knocked over some of my maize as the ground was loosened by the heavy rains.

I plucked two fat cobs and took them home to fire-roast and eat while hot. I was eating them and sitting in my cooking shelter thinking how nice village life is. The simplicity is something beautiful that I am trying to embrace with open arms. I was thinking about how tied to natural cycles I am when in the village, something that becomes lost when I am in the city. I don’t notice the rain, the wind, or the sun quite as I do when my doorstep is near the bush.

Recently, I have been working in the outskirts of the capital, Lusaka, assisting a volunteer in developing a survey to measure behaviors and beliefs related to HIV/AIDS in his ~7000 person catchment area. He is a crisis corps volunteer working with an NGO there. Crisis corps volunteers have completed a 2 year Peace Corps stint and are extending service in a number of “crisis” areas, such as HIV. My class work at Rollins as part of my MPH gives me background in this area; hence I have been requested to come to the capital as often as necessary to make an instrument that may be adapted or used by other volunteers or NGO’s here.

It is a bit tiring coming here out of the village and adjusting to urban life for a few days of work at a time, but I am glad my MPH is proving useful as there have already been things I was able to clear up regarding the survey. As a friend of mine says, “we don’t have resources to squander here”. This makes me want to squeeze as much out of this survey and make sure it is as systematic and thorough as we can make it.

I will be assisting in training surveyors and will also be assisting in training the new group of HIV/AIDS volunteers scheduled to arrive in June. I am busy, but happy that my brain and effort is being used for something that might positively impact the health of people.

I am well and turning 32 years old while in the city. I may celebrate by smiling, something commonplace that just feels good.

I once again hope this finds everyone well and I will eat a freshly roasted cob of maize for each of you. I know, the sacrifices that we make for friends.

Love, niko.

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