Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Panic Attack...?

I'm in Lilongwe. It's my first time in Lilongwe, or any real city, since swearing in. I was treated to dinner last night by a friend/professor from Cal who is here for an AIDS/HIV conference. Sitting in the lobby of her hotel I had a bit of a panic attack. I didn't think I would be so wierd coming back to a Western, developed setting. But I was. It didn't help that it was probably the nicest hotel in Lilongwe. I saw myself in a mirror larger than my hand. I look different.

My projects in the village are coming along. The biggest hat I wear right now is (I didn't think I'd be saying this, but I like it a lot) that of labor organizer. A type of union, kinda. All the resorts in my district, and there are a lot of resorts in my district, buy their produce from Lilongwe, which is ridiculous for everyone involved. So I'm working with an agriculture extension worker to organize the villagers to be able to grow and sell to the resorts. It's a real no-brainer. Other than that, I work with one Village Natural Resource Management Committee (or VNRMC for "short") at a tree nursery, and they want to expand into beekeeping. Beekeeping is a great way to generate an income in the forest without cutting down trees, and in fact works to conserve trees. There's a huge market for it too. Then after school clubs: Wildlife, AIDS and Human Rights. That and cooking, and that's a day at the lake. My Tonga is improving. Life is wonderful.

Hope you're all doing well and well enough say hello.

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