Saturday, September 26, 2009

do you vuvu?

FIFA is considering banning the vuvuzela for World Cup....I am considering a similar ban at 23b. What is a vuvuzela? A long plastic horn that makes a hideously loud and awful noise. The plastic ones come blank but are 'customizable' with stickers, paint, beads, flags (there are little loops to hold a banner or flag), carrying straps, etc. Thankfully for us, blowing the horn properly (i.e. loudly, obnoxiously) takes quite a lot out of you so while the din is incredible, it's usually followed but silence and heavy breathing... Vuvus (or lepatata) used to be made of tin, they came about in South Africa the 1990s but some say the horn originally was a kudu horn and it was used to call village meetings.
O and Finn calling a meeting

Thursday, September 24, 2009

garden tour

Every month or so I do a little tour of the garden with my camera and inevitably find something strange and wonderful. The insects are always a surprise, like this mysterious fly -- bright blue body with bright orange stripes, polka-dot wings, and white-tipped antennae. We have a whole patch of the red amaryllis - at least 30 blooming at the same time. The Jacarundi are blooming now as well. The blossoms are this surreal purple on the bare branches of these giant trees; most spectacular is that they are the first trees to bloom before any others have bloomed or even gotten their spring leaves. The blossoms rain down and fall to a purple carpet.

(Below, Bev and Jane got to see the Jacaranda trees in bloom last year-- the Flame Trees bloom next!) I think the jac. trees are found in southern california, too.

Lastly, with apologies to my sister, the gardener, a tour of the garden inevitably reveals some overenthusiastic pruning. I take the blame but only because I had asked the gardener to "trim."

The pruning project did shed some light on our ongoing electrical issues. This is the fine work of the state-run power company, who recently installed a pre-paid meter at the house. This is a good thing, something we'd been on the waiting list for this entire year, but the guys only hooked up part of the house--the rest is coming in with no meter. It is a long and yet-to-be-resolved saga -- their solution was to come and disconnect us (which they did not end up doing). Like I say, it's a long story.
On a happier note, one of my favorites, cosmos (from the Washington State Capital grounds)
Addendum: on today's garden tour? a first: a baby vervet monkey hopping around in our frangipani/plumeria

IRS Campaign Launch

Above, Photos from the 2009 "Spray Season" launch, complete with a drama production and speeches and kit demonstrations. Mosquitoes are particularly bad this year. One way to combat mosquitoes (and therefore prevent malaria) is to spray the walls of your house with insecticide. The idea is that the mosquitoes rest on the walls, pick up the poison and....die! Add this to other preventative measures (staying indoors when the anopheles are biting (10pm-4am), sleeping under a bednet, taking medication, seeking treatment, eliminating breeding areas) and voila, a malaria-free Zambia!

Mealie Meal and other delicacies

While I run all over town looking for mascarpone cheese and shelling out untold sums of cash for imported grocery items like, oh, I don't know, onions. Zambians are home counting their kwacha and happily dining on their staple foods, Nshima and relish. Every so often we get a hankering for Nshima and so have the housekeeper prepare it for us -- on the surface it is not difficult to prepare, but my nshima (or 'shima) would NEVER pass muster, especially because I usually try to add some rosemary, olive oil and salt. Obrin obliges (after having seen my nshima) and even make it up with my favorite side, chibwabwa (pumpkin leaves) with groundnuts.

Thank you Wikipedia for this entry (gotta love the internet) on Nshima:

The making of a Football, and not just any football

Step 1: Find any excuse to go the the Football Factory. This one happens to be a great one located in Lusaka's light industrial zone. Our excuse? "United Against Malaria." Shameless bit of promotion: United Against Malaria is a partnership of footballers, non-governmental organizations, foundations, governments, corporations and people like you who have joined forces ahead of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa to unite in the fight against malaria. By acting now, we can achieve unprecedented increases in mosquito net coverage across Africa to save millions of lives by the next World Cup in 2014. For just $10 or £5, less than the cost of a football/soccer ball, we can protect a mother and child for five years
Add caption
Step 2: Make nice with Mara, one of the managering directors for "Alive and Kicking." Second bit of shameless promotions: Alive & Kicking (a UK based NGO) makes high quality durable footballs, netballs and volleyballs in Africa using African skills and leather. Alive and Kicking employs over 150 Stitchers across three countries and have produced over 180,000 balls for children across Africa. Each ball carries a message on AIDS, malaria or TB.

Step 3: Get some leather: cut, dry and prepare it. This leather comes from zambian cows and is processed by a zambian company, Zamleather (who also run ZamShu, ZamBeef, ZamEverything) and is processed on the spot.

Step 4: Prepare and split the leather, add the canvas backing and send it to this guy for cutting

Step 5: Send the cut pieces (6 sided and 5 sided) to the silkscreening room, where this guy (below) will hand screen the pieces (for 'Save the Children' in this instance).

Step 6: Head to the stitching room

Step 7: collect your other equipment: thread,

and wax.

Step 8: Comb the thread, wax the thread, and thread the needle

Step 9: Start stitching

keep stitching

and stitching

until you are almost done, then turn it right side out, put in the air bladder (theirs come from India the only bit that is not local in these balls)

Step 10: Stitch the ball closed

Real leather, size 5, handstitched, made in Zambia.
We had a small batch of balls printed - it took 4 days (from when we asked to when we got them) and cost about kw73,000 per ball (around $14)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

art attack

Above, one of the more successful projects we did in our monday art class -- crayon wax paper lanterns. Other projects for term 1: scientific illustration, origami and paper folding (airplanes), digital photography, 3-d construction, mandalas and.....any ideas? Origami was a disaster! (the 3 different airplanes we folded made up for it)

Wednesday is our "Passports Club" day -- we (Finn is my assistant and Owen is one of my students) are doing fun geography studies and learning 3 new countries each week. The kids (12 in this group) are extremely enthusiastic. I'm struggling to keep up with them.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Lily T

Singer Lily Tembo

Lillian Tembo, aka Lilly T, sings at the Anglican Church in 2008 with the Malaria Choir for the World Malaria Day Candlelight Vigil.

One of Zambia's favorite songbirds was today laid to rest. At age 27 Lily was a stalwart advocate for action on community health issues from AIDS/HIV to malaria prevention. TJ was lucky enough to work with her.



For Owen today, check out the newest posting on this website and watch this teeny-tiny video clip on cheetah vocalization (about 20 seconds).

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Senegal Part Deux

Finn at the Lagoon beach....not too keen on surfing

Street vendor
Street scene in Dakar (above), below the westernmost point of Africa, Pointe des Almadies, Cap Vert Peninsula (17*33'22"W) as seen from the lighthouse. Supposed to have the best surfing....not that we would know it hooo hoooo....

Owen, enjoying the ocean waves (above) the street as seen from the 5th floor

(Above) the yet-to-be-completed African Renaissance statue/monument... at 50 meters it's just a wee bit taller than Lady Liberty and sits high atop one of two 100 meter hills just beyond the city of Dakar
Chai, the American poodle, living large in the big city.
Finn, trampolining with a stunning ocean view. Below, the bus barn with the Dakar Demm Dikk "coming and going"
apologies for the randomness of these latest posts! Fighting fatigue and frequent power cuts....