Saturday, September 27, 2008


Well, it certainly has been a long time, hasn’t it? And to those that haven’t figured it out – I’ve lost internet connection in my town. So now its only in conditions like this – when I’m forced to travel to neighboring cities – where I have the time and the facilities to update my progress for all you wonderful supporters.

Before we get underway – there are many thanks to go around before I forget. First to Stu, for sending a kings ransom in movies fitted for my ipod. Now when my computer cord gets here… I know that was overdue! But you don’t call and I don’t have internet! Now for Shannon & Mic, MamaBear & Andrew, and Kristen – for the various edibles, books, and updates on life in general. It’s the little things that get me through the day. Really. And of course Karen, not just for the 2 seasons of Heroes, 4 of Mythbusters, every season of Rockos Modern Life, and so far over 20+ movies, but for well…you get it.

In a nutshell, life has picked up. It’s only taken close to 10 months, but I’m discovering my niche in the tiny town of Usakos (as well as outside.) My hydroponics project has started and is underway…just waiting for my first batch of lettuce and spinach seeds to get large enough for transplanting. I spent a week a while back in arandis attending a workshop hosted by a fellow PCVs roommate. Not only did I learn, I also got to teach on occasion. Fantastic. Pictures Included! Holla!

Here’s me instructing and helping building a hydroponic flat. You’ll notice the very suave and sexy lavender bandana. That’s me – bringing an incredible sense of fashion to the desert. Only beaten by the awesome old man wearing the bike helmet. The only reason I’m wearing a sweatshirt is because it was early in the morning, like 8. Ten minutes later I was sweating without it.

Like now! Btw, both adults in this picture are over 60. They just wanted to help, to learn something new, and were looking for something to do at home. Fantastic.

The eventual Final product. I wish I could have this. In the far back we have spring onion and leek, and up front we have lettuce, spinach, carrots, and tomatoes in the upper right.
Oh, and for fun, meet Puppy.

He’s a desert spider I found while CRAWLING UP MY DAMN LEG while cooking dinner. For your information, he can almost fit fully in the palm of your hand. Maybe 4 inches long? And he’s got teeth. Karen corrected me and called them Fangs. After I calmed down, changed my underpants, and caught him – Natalie and I spent the rest of the night feeding him cockroaches. It was disgustingly awesome. I think he’s tied up in the front of Natalie’s house, but he may have or not already chewed through his chain.

And here are some local girls around Natalie’s that decided my hair was the coolest thing they’ve ever seen and wanted to play with it. No joke, I sat like this for about an hour. The beauty is that none of you have any real idea how long my hair is now. If my mother saw it, she’d probably set fire to it. It took about 20 min to comb the ensuing tangles out.

Apart from the hydroponic project, as I mentioned last time, I began teaching. Here’s the deal – I finally started teaching the “Science of HIV” lecture I made many months ago. So I’ve been catapulted into neighboring villages and communities in order to educate the general population with general facts of HIV, its origins, differing myths and misconceptions, related STDs and STIs, MTCT (mother-to-child-transmission) and anything else they’ve EVER wanted to know. (These Q&A sessions end up being about two hours.)

Class time. There’s Mr. Teacher on the Right.

Myths and Misconceptions. Uh boy…do I ever get questions on these…

Showing a graph of the basic timeline for HIV infection.

EVERYONE Paying attention!!!! Huzzah! Enough to make any education volunteer jealous.

So those are the main events in my life up to now. Teaching and gardening. It’s actually a pretty simple life. Part of me feels guilty for getting more sleep now than I did when I was four. The other part of me though beats the crap out of that part and then usually decides to go nap. But it IS a simple life…I’m usually more amazed at how stressed you guys are at home than I am here, regardless of the fact I don’t have high-speed DSL/T3 TiVO. Although that would probably make it easier…

Also as its been pointed out – it appears to be that I am unintentionally turning into a hippie. It has also been made clear that my reasons are irrelevant. How Nick is becoming a hippie:

1) I’m learning the guitar. Something to do.
2) I spend my day growing vegetables.
3) I haven’t cut my hair in 10 months. Screw you!
4) The bottoms of my feet are pitch black. You try walking around in sandals in a desert.
5) I spend most of my free time now working out and doing Ashtanga Yoga. Say what you want. I’m becoming more flexible and feel fantastic afterwards.
6) I stopped eating meat. No ethical or moral dilemma, its just I don’t think it tastes very good here, and it’s too expensive. Now my diet’s 90% fruits and veggies.
7) Started listening to Bob Marley, Grateful Dead, and the like. Whatever. Its groovy.
8) I rarely shower. Not my fault – we don’t have any hot water! I’m in a desert and the water in my tap can still give me hypothermia.
9) I’m drinking herbal tea. A lot. I found out Windhoek has a Chinatown that’s like two blocks, so I go to the grocery there and stock up on imported tea.
10) I’ve been in a few drum circles. Cmon, I’m a drummer in Africa. Bite me.

Oh, and for those that may not have been paying attention – I got a new phone. The beauty thing is that I have access to the internet through it, I can check my email and even go onto facebook. Seriously, I’ve checked facebook three times while writing this update. For those that discovered, I can even send mail and messages out. But heres the deal. I’m on a phone. A tiny one. So every character has to be entered manually, and I’m guessing this keypad was made for tiny, malnourished fingers, because it takes me frickin forever to type anything out. So just so you know, If you send me an email, I’ll probably read it within two hours. As for a reply, well – guess my response.
Oh, and to all those that have been bugging me to update when they know I don’t have internet –--------------------------------

so there. take that.