Saturday, February 27, 2010

A quick update...

Ok, I was hoping to give you all a grand update, but it seems that I've spent too much of my computer time doing Peace Corps stuff as well as answering e-mails from almost two months ago...I really am trying!

So, I'm about to head back to site now, but I will say that I'm really excited about getting back because of all the things I have lined up to get started. I completed a water sanitation baseline survey of every family in my village, and it opened quite a bit of conversation of what the current conditions of my village are...and what their greatest needs are. One of the first things I am addressing is the lack of latrines. For a village of about 425 people, there are only 4 latrines. So, as you can imagine, open defecation is a serious problem.

To give you a quick rundown of my current project plans...
- Latrines

- Soakpits (sorry, I'll explain later...or you can look them up)

- Animal trough for pump wastewater (cows crowd around the pumps to drink wastewater around the I want to pipe the wastewater into a trough AWAY from the pump area)

- 2 Community deep wells (there are 10 wells in my village, all of them are dry year round...even in the rainy season...but they don't know how to dig deep wells without them caving in on them. They get all their water from the hand pumps, and WHEN they break, they travel long distances to neighboring villages to fetch water)

- Community women's garden with a deep well (since the wells are dry, there are no gardens, and therefore no vegetables...if we dig a well and create a community garden around it...with a fence...people can then grow vegetables, improve their diets and nourish their children as well as sell vegetables in the market and make a profit...I'm really excited about getting this one going)

- Construct an incinerator at a clinic in the next town over (the clinic burns all of their bloody garbage in an open addition, there are loads of needles from vaccinations that are all shipped to another town 50km (30+ miles) away that has an incinerator...long story short, the clinic NEEDS an incinerator :)

- Ok there's a bunch of other things but I can't type them right now because I have to go catch a bus to take a nice hot, gross, dirty, dusty 3-5 hour bus ride to my banking town.

My new djembe!

I'm sitting eating breakfast in my banking town...these are "cart" guys waiting for someone to need a hand cart

These guys are all over my hut...they look scary, but there not :).
What? You don't work in your garden and fetch water with a baby strapped to your back?

Another garden shot...I hope to have something like this in my village soon enough!

As ALWAYS, thanks for checking in! Love Owen.

I saved this goat's life...kind of.

Haketo, a menna dooni! (This is Bambara for: Please excuse me, it's been a while!) I'm hoping to get another post up in addition to this one, but I just wanted to tell a quick story that I forgot to write about back in December.

So, it was back during Peace Corps' In-Service-Training (IST) that I was on a field trip with all the water sanitation volunteers visiting an organization working with composting latrines (yes, human waste CAN be recycled...and very easily I might add). We were on our way back from this trip when our bus driver noticed a goat lying in the middle of the road. The goat was a bit injured because it had fallen off of the roof of another transport (I'm sure the Malian who was traveling was NOT happy to find that his lovely goat was no longer on the roof when arriving at his destination).

The driver had initially stopped because he wanted to drag it out of the road so it didn't get run over...but, of all the kids who were on this bus, the two kids from New Jersey (myself and a friend Matt Clemente) both said..."Let's just take it, no one's coming back for it". No one else wanted anything to do with this goat, so we both hopped out, heaved the goat onto the roof of the bus, tied it down...and went on our merry way.

When we got back to Tubaniso (Peace Corps training center), I went and got one of our cooks and showed him what we so kindly brought back to him. The goat could still stand, but he was definitely struggling to stay alive. Long story short, we ate the goat for lunch the next day :). Feeding 70+ volunteers costs a decent amount of money, so we not only saved the goat from suffering, but we also saved Peace Corps Mali some doh.

Yes, I know, you don't have to say it...what GOOD Peace Corps volunteers we are :).

"Securing" the goat to the roof.

Matt and I with our new friend (who was ashamed to show his damaged face...and that's putting it lightly).