Sunday, January 4, 2009

Into the Unknown

I'm in Ohio getting ready to leave for my assignment as a Community Natural Resources Management/Forestry and Parks Extension Agent in Malawi. I will be leaving for Philadelphia on Feb 19 for orientation then on to Malawi.  The first 2 months will be spent in intensive language instruction as well as learning about culture, health and safety issues.

Malawi is one of the most densely populated countries in southern Africa. Ninety percent of the population, are partly or wholly dependent on forests for food, fuel, and building materials. In a dozen national parks and reserves around the country, Volunteers are serving as environmental educators and community coordinators. They work with residents of communities that surround national parks, forest reserves and neighboring protected areas to relieve human pressures on the natural environment, to develop sustainable plans for the utilization of the resources available, to increase food security, and to create income-generating activities.  I am especially interested in solar ovens and solar water pasteurization.

I will receive an allowance to live at the same economic level of the local people, which is very rudimentary. Many houses have a thatch grass roof, earth floor and mud brick walls. Lighting is from oil lamps, cooking and heating is with wood and drinking water must be boiled and filtered. I will be issued a bicycle, helmet and repair kit for transportation.

I am taking a solar oven, a roll-up 10 watt solar panel for charging batteries, various crank and battery powered lights, garden seeds and other tools I may find useful.  I am also taking a small netbook computer and will have access to the internet and email, but probably not every week or even every month.  Stay tuned for further developments.


celeste said...

Jim your web page looks great and it sounds like you are ready to go! Good luck and God bless!

Oso Strange said...

Works great! And what a lovely site. You have a gift for design, you know, Jim. Again, all the best and safe travels!


Even though it is just little bits of electricity flying through the ether the contents of this blog are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the US government or the Peace Corps.