Tuesday, April 18, 2006

I am waiting for my maize to dry, after which I will store it for use as ground meal. I am looking into obtaining a hand mill so I can nixtamalize some maize to make tortillas and tamales. Nixtamalization changes the cooking and nutritional properties of maize and is done by cooking and steeping in a basic solution, usually lime (Ca(OH)2).

My garden is yielding fresh amaranth leaves and herbs and some melons, squash, beans, and tomatoes are on the way. Everything is very healthy, but the dry season is coming and things are starting to dry out already. I have a separate small tree nursery that I hope to move to a fenced area soon. There are goats, chickens, and cows that decimate most greenery that they fancy so keeping my green things alive is going to be a constant challenge.

The work I am doing in the capital goes well. It keeps me very busy and has reminded me that I need to adequately rest sometimes before trying to do too much ( I got really tired).

The village work goes well as well and is always challenging. I recently had a meeting and really annoyed a couple of people who were hoping to get preached at about the dangers of HIV/AIDS. I said I don’t proselytize and wanted to emphasize that I felt it inappropriate and naive for me to come in and preach answers to them without fully understanding their culture or how HIV has affected them. I therefore wanted them to discuss the HIV-related problems in the community they see and offer suggestions how to attenuate them and I would guide them or offer advice also suggesting that behavior change was a strong issue. There was a pretty heated discussion between some in the community that agreed with my approach and others that just wanted me to teach them about HIV/ARV’s/ transmission issues. It was quite interesting.

Malaria has been bad as of late. I have seen numerous folks, usually children, going into convulsions from severe malaria at the clinic. There are a lot of issues surrounding this disease here, though the science of its’ transmission is relatively simple. I am not usually outdoors after dark, as the mosquitoes get pretty bad around dusk, though their number has decreased as the rains have eased off.

Other than that life is still good, though I have lost weight as I am not working in the fields anymore and my muscle mass has decreased.

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