Things are moving along here. In town for meetings with other Peace Corps folks and then back to the village for 2 more months before our community entry planning stage is done. Been keeping busy, just because it takes so long to do basic tasks. We’re happy, healthy, and well fed, and there is plenty of water.  We still don’t see animals apparently they need trees and to avoid humans. Life in the village is good, and other interesting things that I don’t feel obliged or able to tell of. I’ll be tackling the “chitmene” beast which is the word for their own special brew of slash and burn agriculture practiced in Zambia. Red clay acidic soils without money for lime or enough fertilizer so chop burn and grow the maize on the ashes of forests. Can’t really find any silver bullets to take this one down just little tricks like nitrogen fixing trees and maintaining organic matter in the soil. It’s not very sexy and maybe less then they expected from the red, white, and blue, but it’s right up my alley slow, laborious, and sustainable. I say its what people back in America are going to, so maybe by the time I make it home you all won’t make me a liar. Anyways any help on this dilemma is appreciated I’ve heard say of “Bio-char” where charcoal is kept in the soil and its miraculous, maybe I’ll try this if I can get one person out there to say it makes sense. But maybe I’ll just avoid new and crazy cures and stick to good ole toil and self reliant independent yadda yadda to suit my self. Still I know some of you like plants or at least dilemmas so if you want you can help a brother out.

We’re starting to plan vacations and such so it’d be helpful to know if anybody wants to come to Zambia “the real africa”.  I prefer my own slogan something like,  come to zambia where your intestines will hate you, your brains will fail you, and your dreams will thank you for ending their banishment to nighttime.  It’s interesting to be a celebrity everywhere and to have people seek out your advice on all matters. If we chose we could probably be delivering babies and rewriting the constitution in our spare time if we did everything they thought us capable of. Carly is in schools somedays which is more than can be said for many teachers and students. Crowded classes of squirmy unruly and underfed cuties are led by teachers filling empty vessels to pass as education. This is a far cry from the Montessori world she was accustomed to, so she will be busy with her own goliaths.

Me I work with everyone because I work with farmers and I help people make money. I think they should name a book in the next testament after me.  We’ll see what comes of my time here, it’s similar to being in America in that people are much more likely to do the right thing if it pays. My job is to help make the right thing pay, which is possible but it would be just as possible to make the wrong thing pay, the land being ripe for entrepeneurship and initiative of any sort. I hope this isn’t offensive and gives a better picture of the experience. Next time I’ll bring photos. Definitely my best job I’ve ever had and maybe the job I’m best suited for.  Everyone be well and somebody put a friggin finger in that oil spill so I can quit listening to the BBC condescendingly pinky sip about American follies.

Mike

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