Sept so far: New kids, girl power, busy bees

September has been a whirlwind so far, so this is gonna be a rough hack update rather than something nice to read. Oh well. First I went to "posting": helping the 12 new health and education volunteers in my province get oriented to the province and do all their shopping before moving into their new … Continue reading Sept so far: New kids, girl power, busy bees


Will compost for food 

It's like alchemy. Except gold is just shiny, and this stuff can grow food. I'm not the only one around here who digs it. I've been getting more and more requests from people who want to hop on the compost train. It's lucky cuz I think about compost a lot. It's inspiring stuff. By the way, here's a poem :

When you picture a farmer

For today,  A simple question or two: When you picture a farmer  Like my baTaata A lanky, hair-turning-frosty-aged man named Stern  In rural Zambia With a sunsweat-streaked brow Making bales of feed By stomping cowpeas  Into a pit he dug, When you picture such a farmer How do you imagine  The tune he is humming? … Continue reading When you picture a farmer

Confessions of a future science teacher

The habit of impostor syndrome runs deep, but I actually know stuff now. I am grateful to the mentors I've had in my time in grad school, especially for helping me to realize that one can study scientific perspectives to serve as one of but many ways of being a thinker. Teaching a high school class about agriculture, here in rural Zambia sounds pretty thrilling  to me. Especially if i have the freedom to make it an agroecology/food studies type class. I only hope to give students a curriculum that is respectful of the realities they face growing up in agricultural communities in the global south in this day and age, while also being honest about the full range of options they have in their roles as farmer-citizens.

A compost fever dream

I started playing with words while studying vocab today and accidentally wrote my first poem in Tonga. It's probably chock full of grammatical errors but I'll just claim poetic license. Unfortunately I can't figure out how to insert audio I recorded, but here's Tonga text, followed by rough English translation:   Cilotoyota Ndalikulota kuti ndalikuyota … Continue reading A compost fever dream

New friends, new fruits

Just think: there are people out there in this world who you would love with your whole heart, and you both dont even know it. And somewhere on this Earth there is a tree growing bearing fruits you've never even imagined, whose flavors you wouldn't have dreamed. Remember this mere existence, for there lies magic. And if you should ever get to meet such people, or taste such fruits, I can tell you: there's nothing luckier. 

On fire, fuel, and food

Let's talk about fire. I am one month into the charcoal cooking life with my handy little brazier. The brazier is a round metal contraption that has a solid layer on the bottom to collect ashes that fall, and then a second level that has some small holes in it, with a cylinder wall around … Continue reading On fire, fuel, and food

When you’ve planted lemon trees

On weekend mornings I used to walk over to the coffee shop, leaving slushy bootprints on salty sidewalks. I'd grab a mug and settle in with my book or computer while the town was still sleepy outside. The whirr of grinding beans and hisses of steam from the espresso machine made an underlying accompaniment for … Continue reading When you’ve planted lemon trees