Monday, April 16, 2007

I just came back from my small farm today.

Monkey and bush/wild pigs have been disturbing my crops so I have lost a bit of maize and some squash. I also planted pigeon pea on some land where I want to plant maize next year. The pigeon pea should make the soil nutrient-rich. I was looking at the pigeon pea growth and deciding how best to prepare for next planting season. I will likely dig in the soft parts of the pigeon pea around October this year.

I was also there to see how dry my maize was so I can begin preparations for harvesting. I should harvest around 200 kg of maize so we are looking into using an ox cart to bring it the 20 km distance from where the farm is to where I live. The family I live with will assist me.

Two weeks ago I was in a rural area for a training concerning the same program I work with. The training was entirely in local language so was exhausting for my listening skills. It was great for learning language but I was tired when the training closed.

A week ago, immediately following the training, I spent some days with a Japanese friend I met in Thailand as he will return soon to Japan. He is in Zambia working with the Japanese development organization JICA. We ate nice food and chatted.

I then went to Chaminuka resort for a final PC conference. I heard that the cost was 220 USD a night per room in which two volunteers stayed. The facilities were nice and the food well prepared and varied. The conference was for volunteers nearing the end of their contracts and was to stimulate thought and preparation for the end of life in Zambia and return to the states.

We have been generally told that return to states will be challenging. I agree on that point but am wary about taking specific advice regarding this as we were given advice before and during our arrival here to Zambia. Staff and other volunteers said that living here would be difficult and that we would consider ending our service early from time to time.

Being that neither was true for me, I think that some of the specific advice given regarding return to states may also not hold for me personally. I think that return will be challenging but not as overwhelming as the picture that some are painting.

As I have told others, sifting through advice is a skill I am learning. Sometimes advice seems to have more to do with the giver than the recipient.

Anyway the final conference was thought provoking and we’ll see how we all cope with returning to states and deciding what to do with the rest of our lives.

Other than that I’ve been working, smiling, biking, gardening, farming, and learning.

Still enjoying!

love. niko.

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