After we finished this spur-of-the-moment interview I thanked baTaata and said that I think it's important for people to hear how someone with his perspective would answer these types of questions. I know that there are a lot of people all over the world who care very much about the idea that everyone should have enough food to eat, and that farmers shouldn't be struggling so much. But I think too much of the time we only hear ideas about how to help that come from a distance. I told him too that I think a lot of the time the problem is really the questions that we ask.
It's a special kind of pain. Like your heart is nauseous and fevery and suffocating all at once. But mixed with moments of almost-numb pins and needles prickliness. At specific sunsets it seems not worth the toll to squash this certain sadness. And so I feel. I count myself lucky-once-removed if there are friends around … Continue reading Lucky-Once-Removed
So, world, basically I have a favor to ask: that we work on questioning our values and economic assumptions, and sorting all these messes out. It won't be easy, but could we please try to think of creative ways to support the production and exchange of all the awesome stuff people are able to supply for their communities within systems that value healthy ecosystems and ensure access to constantly-improving-quality of basic things like education and healthcare?
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
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 :
"BaTaata, I'm trying to think of how to make people understand, people like me where I came from, that we need to be responsible. That we need to make big changes, political changes."
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
I still don't think anyone needs to worry about me, but the truth is this is really hard some times too. At least the way things have been going so far, I often find this experience throws the most beautiful times and the most painful ones at me in the same breath. Or rather, the same sucker-punch to the gut that knocks the wind out of me.
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.
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