Tuesday, August 30, 2005

More Malaria

Seems malaria is the trend here in Chimoio these days. First Ricardo, now one of our Zimbabwean employees is sick with fever. Malaria, unfortunately, is really common here and doctors are actually quite good at diagnosing and treating the illness. However, as is too often the case in the developing world, the best malaria medicines are not available in Mozambique.

Before leaving the States, I stocked up on Malarone, a daily prophylactic that can also be taken as a cure. For people using Malarone as a preventive medicine, one pill is taken each day for the duration of the exposure, as well as for a few days before and after the trip. As a cure, a quadruple dose of the pills is taken each day for 3 days. No doubt, Malarone is expensive even for US standards (about US$ 120 for 30 pills without insurance), but it works well and has few side effects.

People have never even heard of Malarone here. The best malaria cure available in Mozambique is a 7-day treatment that assaults the liver and is not guaranteed to provide quick results. Many people have to endure a second week of treatment because the first round is not potent enough against increasingly treatment-resistant strains of malaria. When Ricardo told our friends that he'd taken a 3-day cure and was all better, nobody believed him. Mozambicans have never even heard of a treatment that is effective in such a short time.

Why isn't this treatment available here?? I wonder what kind of interests are being protected by not offering a subsidized or generic version of Malarone - or any other alternative treatment - here in Mozambique, where malaria is the top killer even over HIV/AIDS.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

This Is All Normal...

Yesterday, as I walked down the dirt excuse for a sidewalk in "downtown" Chimoio, I passed a man with 12 dead guinea hens on strings hung from every available place on his body. There were 4 draped around his neck, 2 over each shoulder, and 2 in each hand. You had to look hard to see that there was actually a man under all those gray spotted feathers and wobbly necks. The best part was that this guinea hen vendor was casually engaged in a conversation with another man, nodding his head and carrying about as if that were the most normal thing in the world. And I'm sure, for him, it was.

Ricardo is doing better after 2 straight days of a high fever, night shakes, and intestinal difficulties. We still don't know for sure if it was malaria, but the doses of Malarone seem to have made a difference so I have my suspicions. The important thing is that he is relatively healthy again and I can stop waking up every 4 hours to dispense assorted medicines and take his temperature...

This experience made me realize how much I took health and easy access to medical services totally for granted back in the US. After having to walk a mile to a doctor, self-treat my boyfriend's malaria, and mix homemade rehydration fluids - all the while knowing that if something serious went wrong we probably wouldn't be able to reach a decent clinic in less than 4 hours - I am now much more aware of the blessing that is good health...

Friday, August 26, 2005


All week I have been looking forward to taking a trip this weekend to Vilankulos, a beach town four hours away from Chimoio that is typical of the Mozambican coast - white sand, endless stretches of coconut palms, and the calm turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean. Ricardo and I have been planning a trip with 6 other friends to get away from this small town for a couple of days...we rented a house, bought food and drinks, and were excitedly anticipating a weekend of sunning, kite surfing, and relaxing in general. Until now...

Poor Ricardo woke up this morning with a burning fever, easily 40C (104F). Since we have no car and none of our "friends" were available to help, we had to walk a mile to the local clinic to get him a malaria test. Anytime someone here comes down with a fever and does not have any symptoms of a cold or flu, it is assumed that he has malaria until proven otherwise. We arrived at the Clínica Fátima, relatively well-equipped and clean considering the circumstances, and a doctor wearing a white lab coat over a Ronaldinho jersey pricked Ricardo's finger and ran the sample to the lab. Thirty minutes later we got the result - negative.

Unfortunately, the negative result did not mean a sigh of relief. Malaria tests are notorious for returning false negatives, and Ricardo's fever was still high even after 2 Tylenols. To play it safe, he decided to start a malaria treatment regimen with the Malarone I brought from the States. He spent the morning shaking with fever, but thankfully it has gone down a bit. If things get much worse, we'll have to find a way to get to Beira so Ricardo can go to the clinic accepted by his international health insurance. Not only am I super worried about his health, I see the distinct possibility of driving the car again looming in my future...

Sigh. This is Africa. Needless to say, we aren't going to Vilankulos.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Let the Craziness Begin!

So after a week of downtime, I am back on the job. The next project in line for me is a proposal to the European Community to strengthen microfinance in rural areas of Mozambique. I'm looking at another crazy month of work ahead of me, but at least I will have a change of scenery. Ricardo and I are going to be in Maputo for most of September - he will be working on a reforesting project, and I will be meeting with a credit union based in the capital. I am sooooo ready to get out of Chimoio for a while. The lack of options and small-town mentality here are really starting to get to me. I realized today that I haven't left our cozy little house in 4 entire days. Just me and the housemates and the dogs...day in, day out. I am staring to go slightly crazy!

Today was a lovely, cloudy day, a welcome relief from the wave of heat we've had lately. The best part was a quick noon rain that made the scent of the mango blossoms in the front yard waft through the living room window and perfume my entire afternoon!

And on a final note, how supremely annoying that someone is spamming my blog. I have dilligently erased all of the bogus comments and, hopefully, this will not happen again. I prefer to believe that the spam will come in waves, all at once on one post, rather than a constant trickle on all of them.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

It can't always be new and exciting

I have revisited my study of personality types lately, spurred by several insightful e-mails from my mom. Although some of this stuff I take with a grain of salt, for the most part the myers-briggs classifications make a lot of sense to me and help me understand what makes me and others tick.

I am an ENTP - extroverted, intuitive, thinking, perceiving - the visionary of the 16 types. One of the main ENTP traits is the desire to always seek out new people, places, and things. I thrive on the challenge of having to adapt to a completely new situation. I actually need this constant innovation and change to be present for me to be able to do my best work. (That is one of the reasons I like fundraising so much. I am constantly stimulated by new projects and proposals, and get the added bonus of being able to write for a living.)

However, what constitutes a strength of my personality type - being an innovator, thriving on change, constantly seeking out new and interesting opportunties - can also be my downfall. Life becomes tough when the thingsI love begin to stagnate. For me it is so easy just to go on to the next thing – because that is what I am good at and that newness and challenge is what ultimately drives me – but I am also aware that in the process I can leave things unfinished or miss out on a lot of wonderful things that come from routines, practices, sameness.

Things here are beginning to stagnate, and it is sometimes hard for me to realize that this doesn’t mean that they are not good anymore. Life in Chimoio can be maddeningly slow and monotonous. It is hard to live and work with the same people day in and day out and not grow tired, much less in a place like I am in now where there is literally nothing to do. I fought extreme boredom all day, one of the problems with finding a "home" and settling into a routine. I am still having a great time, but the newness of my work, my surroundings, my relationship, is all beginning to wear off. Real life, with all its glories and problems, is setting in.

------ --------------------- ------- -----------------

So, on that note, the dialogue about home continues. More below from Jenna, and thanks to those of you who contributed to the discussion on the last guest entry...

"I have recently been inundated by encounters with peers on the same oxymoronic pseudo-career track as I. We are well-educated in a system that we have only academic interest in pursuing. We are pulled to the ends of the earth only to discover universal loves that we already know. We travel far and wide before we can miss a thing that we never wanted to call home. In our brains we have always known that there is something pure and lovely about a life lived among beloved others, and witnessing true communities in the world strike us in the gut with a nostalgia for something we have never had.
What is it about a discussion of home that evokes such aimless pangs in the hearts of the members of my generation? How does a collection of such independent, worldly characters get wispy-voiced and wide-eyed at the thought of stable community? We are at an impasse in the development of our personae: each solo jaunt into the experiential world leads us to draw the conclusion that the ideal context is one of group solidarity, communal living, a stable geography with a constant awareness of the goings-on of the world at large. The impasse, then, is whether to proceed to the next solitary sojourn, continue to develop one's individual conception of Whatever, with this imagined settled community always in the distant, unreachable (impossible) future… or, rather, to seek deliberately a planned community, find this point of stability, and (impossibly) abandon one's individual wanderings as soon as the sought community exists.
The trouble a young sojourner/expatriate encounters is exactly this:
the necessarily self-centered nature of the journeys taken by a twentysomething individualist prevents her from following her intellect in the direction her journeys seem to be pointing.
I am reminded of a decision I made at age sixteen, months before embarking on my first journey abroad. As a teenager, I lamented the boring, sheltered, suburban lifestyle to which I had not so much submitted myself as failed to seek an alternative. I imagined that a greater risk-taker than myself would have found a way to have Something Happen in his or her life, and I vowed to Experience. In great and youthful rashness, I determined to teach myself the value of the negative experience through empirical contrast with the positive; I told myself that only through experience could I learn true personal meaning, make real educated decisions, and break out of the enclosed bubble of mediocrity I had thus far occupied. And I succeeded in being rash and impetuous, experiencing the consequences in their myriad forms. As time went on, I began to see an error in my plan, for my experiment was making its own decisions, and I perceived an abandonment of willpower, a loss of control. It was then that I began to recognize the ignorant wisdom of my initial caution, and I returned to the beginning, proceeding with moderation once again. I consoled the overeager extremist that dwelt within me: her loss of power, I reasoned, was for the good of the whole. After all, was not the initial purpose of living these extremes to accumulate a spectrum of experience by which to assess life decisions, allowing me to depend on a real, empirical evaluation rather than a theory whose primary basis was fear? …And yet, the retreat of the crazed, spontaneous self that had been able to guide my fun and excitement left me despondent and introverted, and even the distress of the most negative of my outrageous times paled in comparison to this drawn-out life of quiet desperation. In short, I was no longer suited for mediocrity, now that I knew what mediocrity really was.
The life experiments of a bourgeois member of the educated elite are not scientific. We do not maintain one Self in a vacuum as a control, to which we can revert if the test goes awry. Our personalities may be in flux, but each love creates a new heartstring; each scar marks us indelibly.
If we pursue a rootless journey for long enough, will we never find peace in a settled existence? If we spend too much time seeking the ideal community lifestyle, will we be inadvertently creating ourselves as unstable individuals, unable to live it? Or is my inability to follow my own advice simply demonstrating my lack of self-control once again?"

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Tacos in Africa

Our kitchen is a sad sight. Not only is it messy half the time, with stacks of dishes in the sink and open cans of tuna scattered about the counter, it is poorly equipped. We have a dual freezer/fridge that is skinnier than I am and comes up to my collarbone (imagine fitting food for 5 in there!), and don't have an oven, just a pair of dual electric burners that are impossible to regulate.

Between our runt of a kitchen, the unreliable selection of food at Shoprite, and the fact that we have no car, we are always struggling to come up with creative things to eat.

So the other day I decided to make tacos. It's very strange to me to see how mexican food has traveled across the world. While Brasilians were unfamiliar with burritos and tostadas until several years ago, for some reason mexican food is super popular in South-Eastern Africa. I can find all the right spices (except, of course, New Mexico green chile!), avocados, cheddar cheese, ground beef... Oh, and there are no tortillas! The solution? Make your own.

I got out the mixing bowl and a glass to use as a rolling pin, and set to work. I made a huge batch of flour tortillas, seasoned the ground beef, chopped up tomatoes, lettuce and onions, and made some guacamole. My housemates LOVED the tacos!!!

I have since made them 4 times, and watching everyone gobble up my version of comfort food is quite an ego boost!


Monday, August 15, 2005

Hazards on the Highway: goats and bicycles and Ali

Last Monday I had a truly terrifying experience…I drove for the first time on the left-hand side of the road. It was, relatively speaking, a successful experience in that I didn’t crash the car or hit any pedestrians or have a complete nervous breakdown. If I said it was a pleasant experience, however, I would be a big, fat, liar.

My housemates and I had rented a car for a weekend trip to Beira, the capital of neighboring Sofala Province some 200km from Chimoio. Ricardo drove the car on the way out to Beira and I was a happy passenger, playing dj and eating handfuls of roasted cashew nuts that we purchased from roadside vendors. The highway system in Mozambique is notoriously precarious, full of livestock and potholes and unpaved stretches, but I have become quite confident in Ricardo’s driving abilities. I am at the point now where I can look out the window and appreciate the landscape, oblivious to the myriad hazards of the road. The trip was bumpy and long, but pleasant. It didn’t really sink in at that point that *I’d* have to drive on the way home.

How did I get stuck with that job? Ricardo had to catch a flight from Beira to Maputo on Sunday night, and none of my other companions knew how to drive a car. That’s right. All of the twenty-something Brazilian males in my company had either 1) failed their driving exams, or 2) never learned to drive in the first place because, living in Rio, the risk was greater than the reward. So it was up to me to get us back home to Chimoio.

I get nervous driving under lots of different circumstances (parallel parking and navigating unknown cities topping the list, as many of you might know), but the mere prospect of driving down the left-hand side of the road in a rental car with the steering wheel on the right was almost too much for me to bear. Even under ideal conditions, I am admittedly not the world’s most talented driver. This was not a good scenario. I had no choice, though. We had to get back to Chimoio.

So I sucked it up, helped my housemates load the car, and promptly managed to reach over the wrong shoulder for the seatbelt and stall the car. I could feel my friends suck in nervous breaths of air, realizing exactly how precarious our trip back would be. In an attempt to disguise my frazzled nerves, I started to babble. I chatted on and on to myself about the car, my previous experiences driving, the weather, our delicious shrimp lunch the day before, and on and on and on. All the while I gripped the wheel with white knuckles and prayed for a flash of spontaneous super driving skills. Needless to day, that divine intervention didn’t come.

I had no concept of the width of the car, grossly underestimating the boundary of the left-hand bumper and nearly smashing into a post and a man on a bicycle within the first 5 minutes. In the middle of downtown Beira, trying to find the highway, I almost sideswiped a bus. Once on the right track back to Chimoio, my travel companions somewhat frantically alerted me that I was driving really close to the middle of the unmarked strip of asphalt that passes as a highway. I had to reverse the trick my dad taught me when I was learning to drive in the US and imagine that my left knee was tracing a line down the middle of my imaginary lane. Other than that, I had no clue whether or not I was within a safe distance of the oncoming traffic and the various obstacles on the other side of the car.

In the 3 hours it took us to drive back home, I honked more than in the 8 years I’ve had my license. I easily leaned on the horn more than 100 times. No joke. Highways in Mozambique are *full* of men riding bikes, women walking with stacks of firewood and basins of corn balanced on their heads, kids running around barefoot, and lots of livestock. Lots of goats and chickens, and the occasional cow or turkey. All of these people and animals invade the highway and leisurely follow their paths completely unaware of the cars and busses zooming by. They meander into the road space and will literally only move onto the shoulder if you honk the horn like a maniac. I remain undecided as to whether the people or the goats are more stubborn. And then there are the other drivers. Big trucks full of gas and agricultural products, vans packed full of passengers with suitcases precariously strapped to the roof, decrepit cars, and well-maintained 4x4’s that are the property of NGOs or government agencies. The highway is poorly asphalted, full of potholes and completely lacking any lines or lane markings, and in some stretches reduced to a miserable expanse of gravel and dust. And it’s all backwards, on the wrong side, with reason and order cast to the wind.

I made it home, though, with no major casualties other than my sanity. I think that my housemates and I all agree after this experience that it is in everyone’s best interest for me to never drive the car again.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Guest Entry - Home by Jenna

Over the past several months, I have been carrying on various e-mail discussions about "home" with friends that have been reading my blog. Some different perspectives, many similar, all interesting and poignant. I particularly liked what my friend Jenna had to say about the concept, and would like to share a bit of her writings below...

"and then, as i read your blog, i thought of my own ideas of home. It's a topic that has occupied my thoughts many, many times over the last 10 years... if i were writing on my own computer right now, which i'm not, i would send you my first actual essay on home, which was written a few days before leaving spain in 98, and then became my college application essay... it pretty much consists in feeling torn between homes, knowing that i was about to leave, and hearing a voice in my head (parents?) saying, "Come home." and my question was, "Where is home? The first place you were? Or the last place you left?" i imagined that i had changed since leaving home, but it wasn't just me that had changed; it was also the "home" itself that had had a year to change without my presence.

at that time, it was a pretty profound dichotomy... but since then, i've discovered that the home concept is so much more complex... in fact, the first place for which i ever really, seriously felt homesick was the co-op i lived in my second year of college, which i moved back to for my last year, after italy... and yet, as i should have realized, the nature of a student residence is constant change, and the home that i'd felt so strangely justified in finally feeling saudade for was actually gone, or at least different. it was even more dramatic than the change i'd recognized in my abq home when i'd first returned. and i began to believe that home will never stay static, though it sometimes seems so, and the only way to keep it as your home is to live through its changes, to change within it, to let its changes happen around you... otherwise, we will always notice the differences, the ways in which we no longer fit into our former homes, as if you gave your favorite shoes to your best friend for a year and then tried them on again to discover that they no longer had that special perfection of form-fit to your feet...besides which, your feet had grown...

and as i continue on, i have considered that perhaps the meaning of home involves more than a place, more than a house, or the cafes where you're a regular, or the landscape, the weather, even the people and creatures who live there too; it's a junction of geographical, historical, and personal connections that compose a structure of familiarity and acceptance, which goes two ways: you accept the familiar home, and the home accepts the familiar you. and the size and shape of that home varies dramatically, be it a whole city/state/country, or one room of a house, or even in that most romantic of senses, the presence of a beloved other person... in any case, that is my current home theory... which leaves itself totally open to interpretation, something i've come to enjoy about theories (probably the result of too much po-mo lit-crit training)...

it's an attempt to incorporate all the other theories i've come up with over the years. but in the end, the theory is not what matters. it only gives us guidance and a feeling of credence to select what we mean by home... sometimes, all that matters is that we can feel at home in ourselves, especially when deprived of familiar houses or neighborhoods or park swings... i have been trying to accept the familiar me for the moment, to be at home in myself on this planet... i don't know how much sense that makes, but i think it has to do with decent self-esteem while still maintaining a critical stance and an ability to change and transform..."

By the way, guest entries are always welcome, for any other people out there that might be so inclined...

Friday, August 12, 2005

Just Breathe, Ali...

I remember the late summer afternoon in 2003 when I first learned how to meditate. I was desperately sad that day. Everything around me seemed to be falling apart, and I was in the middle of it all and unsure of my path. Guilty. Alone. Depressed.

I had gone to the mountains to try and fix a relationship that had taken a spectacular turn for the worse the week before. Foolishly, I thought that if I just tried hard enough, my boyfriend at the time would see how much I loved him and how sorry I was for the whole situation. I took him to the Jemez for the day, to the special camping spot my dad and I had found years before. There were tall red cliffs on either side of us, the Guadalupe River trickling in the distance, and Ponderosa pines all around that smell like vanilla if you stick your nose in the cracks in the bark. I wanted to share something close to me, create a good memory in the midst of so much hurt.

We sat on a blanket looking out over the river below. My boyfriend loved music, and I gave him an iPod as a surprise. He unwrapped it and was happy, but not happy enough to make things better. I had gone to Wild Oats that morning and bought hummus and pasta salad with blue cheese for a picnic lunch. We ate in silence. He hated the food. Twigs snapped and lizards scurried around in the sun. We kissed a forced, uncomfortable kiss. I hugged my knees tight and started to cry.

At first, I was crying to get a reaction. I wanted my boyfriend to hug me, acknowledge the tremendous effort I was making, apologize for being insensitive. Or I wanted him to do nothing so I would have a reason to be mad at him later. Tears spilled down my cheeks. I was filled with a hundred thousand painful feelings that would not go away.

Suddenly my perspective changed. I stopped crying and entered a state of detached calm. None of it mattered. I took deep gulps of air and concentrated on the big juniper bush in front of me. The trunk was beautiful, thick twists of bark peeking out under the fat crown of leaves and berries. I breathed and imagined myself exchanging energy with the old juniper. I wondered if the Anasazi ancestors that built their dwellings and formed their clay cooking pots from the same earth I sat on had also looked at the juniper. With each breath I honored the tree, gathered strength from her, realized how insignificant we all are. I also acknowledged my sadness. It was still there – present and painful as ever – but I stopped willing it away. It was simply part of me, together with the mountain air and the juniper and the afternoon light. Not good, not bad. Just there.

I am increasingly aware that I need to cultivate a practice, call back that juniper and the stillness of breath and just let go…

Everything here is going well, despite the introspective tone of this post. I’m happy and aware, and simply need something to ground me in the midst of this experience.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005


Yeah, that's about all I can muster right now. I am beyond all limits of exhaustion I knew back in the US.

I just sent off the final version of the tea proposal. I didn't sleep last night. I can't think straight and my right eye is hurting. Time for bed.

I've had some big adventures in the last 2 days but won't even begin to do them justice if I write right now.

Thank God this proposal is out of my hands...

Sunday, August 07, 2005

A hill covered with tea fields in Chipinge, Zimbabwe, taken from the car window after our meeting yesterday.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Saudades and another trip to Zimbabwe

Ricardo and I are heading to Zimbabwe again tomorrow morning for our final meeting with the tea client. We have to hit the road at 5am in order to have sufficient time to cross the border at Mutare, get our visas and car registration papers in order, and navigate the 200km of poorly-paved road to Chipinge. With no wrong turns, we should make it in just over 5 hours.

We rented a car for the trip from a friend's sister and Ricardo is out right now filling up 3 big plastic containers with extra gasoline. Due to the political and economic crisis, there are chronic fuel shortages in Zimbabwe and you have to take your own fuel for any trip over a few miles. Just to be safe, we are taking 60 liters of extra gas with us! The shortages are to the point that many Zimbabweans make the trek into Mozambique just to import fuel. It reminds me of the many trips my mom across the border from Italy to Slovenia to get gas for Bibi, my grandmother's old Saab. Gas used to be ridiculously cheaper in Slovenia; things have changed now that the country is part of the EU, but nonetheless the lines at the filling stations here evoke similar memories.

If everything goes well, I'll spend the rest of the weekend finalizing the proposal, then mail it out on Monday (via DHL, of course!). I am trying to raise over US$ 600.000 in funding from a program called PSOM, an initiative of the Dutch government to increase investments in developing countries. If approved, the project we are working on stands to significantly improve the lives of smallholder tea growers in the region. Lots of if's and maybe's in the way, but I think we have a good chance of getting the grant.

Tonight for dinner we tried some of the big fish that Ricardo is holding up in the photo. Our friend said it is red mackerel, but I honestly have no clue whether that is accurate or not. Regardless of the name, the fish was delicious. Flaky white meat, fresh flavor. It was perfect in a stew with jasmine rice, tomatoes, garlic, and bits of leftover squid from last night.

For some reason, I was hit with a wave of homesickness today. Ricardo noticed I was looking a bit down and asked what "casa" I missed. I had no idea how to answer. I miss bits and pieces of all my homes, past and present. Most of all, though, I miss the people that have become so important in my life despite the fact that we only see each other once every few years. The majority of the regular readers here are people I haven't met up with in ages. Lambros I met in Greece when I was 14 and saw for the last time in Athens in 1999. Gaby was my exchange student sidekick in Albuquerque in 2000; our most recent adventures together were in Umuarama, Paraná in 2001. Angel and I haven't hung out since 2002. Then there are my friends from high school in Albuquerque, people like Jenna and Tomás, who I totally lost contact with only to discover we've been leading similar paths this whole time.

It's funny, many of these people I still consider to be my best friends even though our only form of contact is an occasional e-mail or a blog update here and there. There is something about the community of modern nomads that permits relationships to be created and nourished independent of space or time. My friends that lead similarly disconnected lifestlyes are the ones I tend to relate to best. I know that, despite the differences in our cultures and current occupations, we all suffer from the same root pains. We are motivated by similar ideas. We drift from continent to continent searching for the same sense of fulfillment that comes from fitting in everywhere and nowhere at once. I miss my friends and family desperately, but take comfort in the fact that a good number of the people I love share my same sense of ill-defined, omnipresent SAUDADES.

Ricardo and the Coleman full of fish and squid in our kitchen.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

37 kilos of fish and squid

Yes, Ricardo finally made it back to Chimoio. Life is back to normal. I can now stop writing sappy blog entries about how much I miss him and blah blah blah. I must admit, though, that it was tremendously flattering that Ricardo chose to fly from Rio to London to Harare and then travel 5 hours by car to come home, rather than spend an extra week living the good life in Brazil and wait out the SAA strike. Bless him, I don't think my nerves would have held out otherwise.

Our reunion after a month apart was funny, to say the least. One of our Zimbabwean clients gave Ricardo a lift back to Mozambique and, upon arriving here, we promptly sat down for a business meeting. All I wanted to do was throw my arms around Ricardo and give him a huge hug and kiss, but instead I had to contain my excitement, make some coffee, and talk about the lastest round of contracts the client received from the bank. Unbelievably frustrating to have to wait out that meeting after such anticipation...

In other news, a couple of days ago a friend of ours returned from a holiday in Inhassoro and brought us a Coleman cooler full of freshly-caught fish and squid. 37 kilos worth. That's nearly 90 pounds for those of you not used to the metric system. A shitload of sea treasures, deep-frozen, enough food for 3 months. The only problem is that our freezer is miniscule, only big enough for 4 frozen chickens and four 600ml beers (again the metric system. sigh). We sent the fish to the fishmongers to be cut in steaks, and are going to distribute the majority of it to friends here in Chimoio. For dinner tonight, Patricia made sauteed squid and rice with lemon and herbs. In Mozambique they eat squid differently than I've ever had it - instead of calamari rings and baby squid battered and deep-fried, they take the body and grill it whole. You end up eating a big slab of white squid that is exquisite when fresh, rubbery and nasty when not so fresh. Tonight's dinner was, to say the least, delicious and not at all nasty.

Work is winding down, thank God. I sent the draft of the proposal to our tea client and am awaiting comments. Ricardo and I are headed to Zimbabwe again on Saturday for a final meeting and to get signatures on all the documents before sending them to Holland on Monday. Another long weekend of travel is ahead of me, but at least this time I am in good company.

Hope you are all well. I miss and love you.

Ah, yes...IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT MAIL: It won't reach me. Yes, that's right. After the fuss I made about sending out my address and asking everyone to write me letters, the damn postal service here is decrepit and non-functional. Erin sent me a letter more than a month ago and I have little hope of ever receiving it. Basically, either spend $300 to send me a DHL package, or don't bother. Sad, but true.

The moral of the story? Write me e-mails, damnit. I miss you all a lot and, even though I have little time or patience to write personal messages after 12-hour days in front of the laptop, I love hearing from you all.

Peace and good night.


Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Late Night, Beer, Talking Shit

Having a beer with BL and Ricardo. It's late, the proposal is almost done. Thank God.

I ate sausages and tuna salad with mayonnaise for dinner. If I could make a list of my least favorite foods, these would certainly top it out.

No complaints, though. Ricardo is back home and I am less stressed. More later.