Sunday, February 20, 2011

10 Months Left!

Blog 02-18-2011

*cue “Jaws” theme*
I figured you didnt want a whole line of “duh duh” to introduce my story. My last trip going back home I was waiting for a bush taxi to take me back from Farafangana. The van pulls up with a large…lump…on top. Curious to see what was on it I walked all the way around it. It was a brown skin with not much identifiable due to the tarp it was on. 10+feet long, several feet around and bigger in the middle…I wasn’t sure what it was! Eventually they moved the tarp slightly and I was able to see its easily recognizable head. On top of the car was a hammerhead shark! The fins and tail were removed and it was still huge! The bunnies I had just bought were supposed to be transported up there with it. As I went to call a friend (before I could snag a picture) the car drove away! It came back an hour later unloaded. What do you pack on top of your car?

Lychees
Lychee season came and went all to quickly. With the first few drops of rain, the lychees ripen and by December they are finally starting. Within days the ground in my village became covered with peels and seeds. I could buy ~40 lychees for 5 cents. This led to a lot of gorging and a few weeks later…fly season arrived. I love lychees, but I’m not sure that they are worth the flies that came with them. After going on vacation over the holidays, by the time I came back they were gone. A few weeks of eating 100+lychees a day and I already want them back.

Roofing
When I got back to my home sweet hut, part of the roof to the latrine had blown off. After getting that fixed, a while later the peak of my roof flew off! It was during an ugly day and when I told my neighbors that the top of the roof blew off they came to help. In the rain. I was amazed that they would climb up and fix my roof in a light rain. They wouldn’t accept payment for it as they said it was a favor and I ended up having to tell them that the money was a New Years gift for them to take it. That night it rained harder than I have ever seen and I was unbelievably grateful that they had fixed the huge hole.
The last week has been a bit crazy weather wise. After my roof was patched (it still is leaking a lot in other places and needs to be replaced) I started gathering supplies to redo it. Before enough ravinala leaves could be gathered, a storm hit and the paths flooded. Since the men carry them on these paths I wont be getting my roof fixed for a while.

Bunny!
I am the proud new owner of a white and grey rabbit with dark eyes. He is really cute and eats the weeds I have in my yard. He also loves to eat my sweet potato leaves which is fine with me since they are out of season and need to be dug up anyways. He lives a fairly peaceful life, even though the mayor’s rabbit sometimes escapes his hutch and harasses him. I don’t have a hutch yet so he sleeps in a movable container and spends his days at the end of a leash.

Moringa update
My Moringa tree nursery is tapped out at the moment…because we have planted them all! There are actually 15 left but are reserved for planting at the hospital. We’ve planted at the elementary and middle schools as well as a women’s center. The rest have been distributed amongst the community. I hope to plant again when its not rainy season and increase the numbers from ~100 trees to 200 or 300 trees. The tallest one that I planted in my yard is already taller than I am and I’ve trimmed it to make it bushier (aka more leaves).

World Map
The world map is coming along. I’ve finished a good chunk of the east and am about to start on Africa and Europe. We painted a large blue rectangle for the ocean/background. Next we draw the entire world, then fill it in with color. Since we started a month ago, things are going pretty steadily whenever school isn’t in session and there isn’t a cyclone.

Google calling!
I love google phone calls. When I am at good internet (which is rare) I have the opportunity to call any American number for free! So if I haven’t called you and you want me to, email me your number. Also if you get an unknown 760 number, answer it!

Cyclone Bingiza
As soon as I had to travel to Fianaratsoa there was a cyclone! We got one of the last taxis out of Farafangana, traveled through calf deep water outside of Farafangana and then traveled fairly quickly to Ranomafana. Earlier in the day near the park entrance to Ranomafana Park the river next to the road flooded to 5 or 6 feet deep, flowing water. By the next morning we still had to wait a couple hours for the water to go down to thigh deep. We waded through on foot and pushed the car for a kilometer and a half. By later that day the water was down but a large area of the road had sunken 3 feet due to erosion. Also by that morning the road from Farafangana was chest deep in water and fast moving. Everyone who left after us is stuck there. Out of the two options I’m glad to be stuck in a city with internet and a sturdy house.
For pictures go to alisonthieme.shutterfly.com