We’re back to the village after spending most of August in Lusaka-the capital for trainings and a vacation to South Luangwa National Park.  When you get out of the village you kind of go through culture shock all over again when you return.  Then you pick yourself up after a day of wondering what you are doing here and do whatever comes next.  Right now that means taking control over the improvements to our hut instead of relying on others, because I’m an American and my hut shall be a beacon of shining light upon a hill. 

I’ve biked in from the forest to the town to buy wood to take the wood back to the forest to make shelves so we can get are floppy books and dirty clothes of our dusty floor.  This will cause some serious degradation to the rodent habitat in our hut.  We’ve had terrible luck with the carpenters in our village one just ripped us off, he did good work he just didn’t finish it.  We went to the subchief, he sent his “police” to talk to the carpenter and the carpenter found me days later and asked for more money, I biked off before I lost my cool.  The other carpenter I made a contract with and even offered more money if the shelves were finished by July 1st, today is September 8th I think and all I’ve seen is some shelves half the size we agreed on.  This will be awkward when he finishes, I really want the shelves but they are nowhere near what I drew up.  Not all carpenters are bad here, but the trained ones in my village are dishonest and slow.  Granted it’s a lot of work, they buy these rough hardwood planks from locals who go to the bush and they hand plane them.  People expect their slowness and deceit, but it’s baffling these people have a skill and could make some money but they don’t manage well.  So I bought some pine planks from a retailer selling from a plantation in the more industrialized Copperbelt region and hopefully they last a few years before the termites finish eating them.  Termites really are ecosystem drivers here, wood just don’t last.  There would be no excuse not to build better structures or to fence in animals if they weren’t so destructive.  They contribute to a sense of impermanence.

Anyways vacation; we saw some animals and slept and dined in the lap of luxury while rocking around the bush in landrovers.  Seeing these African megafauna is a transcendent experience and those privileged enough to see what remains I think are convinced of the worthiness in  all the altruistic acrobatics performed to save them from ourselves.  I hope some photos show up on left side of the blog. 

We’re getting down to the doing of things in the village and we should be busy until the rains come towards the end of November (planting season).  Carly is in the school teaching today, and should start painting a world map on the side of the school and working with the equivalent of girl scouts.  Me, well I’m busy but nothing is concrete I’ve spent the better part of the dry season splitting sutres on legumes to save seeds while planning for a huge introduction of nitrogen fixing vegetation this rainy season, don’t be scared if you hear of atmospheric Nitrogen levels worldwide dropping around December it’s just me down here in Zambia.  We bought tickets to fly back to US for Xmas for 3 weeks, and that is that.