This week should be like holiday to me. Im spending the week training in Maweni, a village just outside of Arusha and just commuting about 20 minutes to train my SA group. Its a terribly bumpy ride out to Maweni, and since the other volunteer is on a real holiday, it'll just be me training. Solo. It's a first, but I'm sure I'll be fine.
I headed down to HQ at about 9am to help out with our bustani and then we trekked out to Maweni. When we arrived, I noticed it's on the other side of Meru and a lot more tropical than the other villages we'd trained in. I was excited to know this group was made of a lot of farmers so it'd be easy to persuade them about the benefits of organic farming, and unlike other villages, persuading them to actually farm. The negative was that there were no kinds of business or industry here in Maweni. There were no restaurants, only dukas and like all villages it seems, tons of bars. We signed our name in the village guestbook, which I've noticed every village does here. Its always one of my favorite parts of arriving since the other stupid Americans who come here are so cocky they sign their names like 'Dr. John Smith II' or 'David Burns IV, ESQ', and other titles that those from Maweni just dont seem to care. Me and the other volunteer make sort of a joke out of it and variate what we write under the column 'Tribe', which we notice others leave blank we write 'American' or 'Brooklynite' and once I even wrote 'Dominican' until I realized someone may interpret that as a Catholic order and think I was being sacrilegious.
Anywho, when we met our group there were a good number, about 30 ready to hear from us. I gave a good introduction about Global Service Corps what we do and what Biointensive Agriculture (BIA) is, why its beneficial, and introduced why and how we should compost. They seemed really grateful for us being there and giving this lesson, and even said a group prayer for us at the end of the lesson. Monday afternoon, I got dropped off right at my road and as I headed to the internet cafe got a scare as I walked by a duka that makes bites (fried cassava, chapatis and other street food) had a grease fire and the man who was cooking picked up the iron wok which was now completely on fire and threw it up in the air screaming Maji, Maji!!! or water, water. Someone didn't get a good lesson in fire safety because as I walked, I felt the flames tickle my arms. It seems when he threw the wok the grease fire exploded and the flames just missed me. I said a prayer as I walked to internet and made sure to stay the hell away from outdoor cooking.
Tuesday we returned to Maweni and gave the second day of our lectures. I introduced double dig beds and nurseries. I talked for about 2 1/2 hours. Imagine that. We got a lot of great questions about maintaining a BIA garden and some suggestions to train villagers on how to harvest seeds naturally and sell them to the community, similar to the way we train chicken vaccinators. I thanked them and really think it'd be a great way for a food security and nutrition NGO to help entrepreneurship. I noshed on an amazing cheeseburger from town for lunch, which cost me 4,000 shillings ($2.60 US). It was actually really similar to the Dominican cheeseburger, a chimichurri. I needed energy if tomorrow we will be raking manure and dirt to make a compost pile. Yay!