February 22, 2012

sowing what you sprout

What the heck are these, you must be asking. I asked myself the same thing when I saw them in the town market 3 weeks ago. They were the most exotic bean I had ever seen, and strangely, I couldn't figure out what kind they were, even after searching extensively on the internet. The word I got in the market was fiwi, which according to Baba Malaika (our handy Swahili-to-English dictionary) is a lima bean. Clearly incorrect, as lima beans don't come in a black or dark-blue variety. I was lost until my friend Carol turned me to the other book we got during Pre-Service Training, pointing to an appendix with a list of words for plants and their produce (funny it would have a whole column for plant names, since they're all basically the name of the produce with an "m" on the beginning, e.g. chungwa is the word for orange and mchungwa is the orange tree). In Simplified Swahili, the translation given is the Bonavist bean.

February 20, 2012

power, or lack thereof

Among the many, many small things I like to do when I'm not doing work is collecting data. Allow me to introduce the latest results of one of these ventures, while you consider what could possibly possess anyone to be so smitten with writing down numbers all day.
The fruit of my most recent labors is a graph of the electricity uptime in my town. For nearly an entire month, I kept track of the power cuts that occurred throughout the day. Given how much it happens around here, it was actually pretty difficult to keep the numbers accurate. I figured the resolution of the data wasn't incredibly important; what's more important is to show the general trend of the uptime, which you can see even with relatively inaccurate measurements.

February 6, 2012

i'm tired

Today was a long day.

It started the night before, when I went out with a group of volunteers on a veritable bar crawl to celebrate Super Bowl Sunday. It was warranted, given we had secured a viewing area for the game, complete with projector, TVs on the side for no good reason, and rotating fans which we didn't really need (it can get surprisingly cold here sometimes). After some beers and an insufficient amount of food to counterbalance it, we bought a few snacks (and a bottle of scotch) and took a quick nap before the game started at 2:30AM.

We woke up pretty groggy to say the least. Actually, some of us didn't wake up at all. Only about 50% of us committed to watching the game after our 2 or 3-hour doze. But we sure were glad we got to watch it. Exciting to the end, just how every Super Bowl should be! And it turned out that, right as the game ended, I had just enough time to walk back home, clean myself up, and pack my things for Mtwara: Part 2.

Unfortunately, I waited too long at the office for a ride before I could get to the stand to hop a bus. Perhaps the exhaustion had something to do with that.

Boy am I looking forward to my bed tonight.