Today I fed a man and then my soul was fed


There are those moments in time when you can see your soul being filled to capacity. Those are the times that you know must hold you over in times your soul goes through famine. Today was one of those days. I know that many of my fellow volunteers think I am doing great at my site. To be honest I love it here, but there are days when I feel like a total failure. Today I had an unplanned meeting with a supervisor over some questionable situations. Not every day is the same here, and you must understand that no matter where you are, there is always potential danger. So sometimes a meeting is needed to determine if you are interpreting things correctly.

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In my time here I have held a few workshops, which I have included a ton of pictures to share. In these moments I seem successful, but the moments that are not seen are the ones where I am at a loss as to what to actually do. It feels awesome to be validated, but then I have to stand up and confess that my successful workshops are based out of desperation. Desperation to feel useful, to feel as though I have done something. I guess that is what Peace Corps is all about, desperation is the mother of innovation, or so I hear.

Today’s meeting came with great confidence building praise and unexpected support. In the end the choice is always mine. My safety is my priority, and I can and will refuse to do things that could put my life in danger. It is human nature to question our interpretation of data, we do not want to be wrong, but it is very lifting to hear that our own interpretation is accurate and our chosen course is correct. It also feel very good to hear someone say you are doing great.

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Later today I had my neighbor visit me. Killa is a soft soul. He lives upstairs and my host family is close to him. He runs a jerk stand and apparently he sells out far before the others do. He is also the kind of person who is genuinely gentle, maybe not so bright but definitely a gentleman. He came into my apartment today, which is actually a first, as I was preparing my lunch. I was making a kale salad, and he wanted to know what kale was. I showed him and then I showed him the best way to prepare it. First you break it up then you add some lemon or lime juice and massage it into the kale. I like to allow it to sit for an hour. The citrus breaks up the fibers much like when you ceviche fish. I then add some finely chopped sweet pepper, red onion and toasted almonds. I toss in some olive oil and then add some romano cheese. I promised to save him some, I think he was truly interested in what I actually eat as a vegetarian. See I tease him daily about masticating a chicken and that I am a vegetarian and he is killing my soul slowly. The host family also brought home a new puppy, which I always ask what he is doing to the puppy and tell him he cannot cook it up.

He came back later this evening and I served him some of my kale. He seemed to like it quite a bit. My host brother also came up for some arugula, carrot and cucumber juice, which he did not really like but drank for the nutrients. I told him a little bit of fruit makes it more tolerable. He just wanted the veggies, so well he got a rather untasty concoction.

Explaining my diet is an everyday thing here. Being a true vegetarian is confusing, which after hearing dietician discuss nutrition is not all that surprising. The diet here is high in fat, sugar and carbs, and processed crap. Tang is considered juice and bag juice is common, bag juice is sugar and food coloring in water as far as I can tell. I need to share my meals more often, I think the family may enjoy them and get ideas as to how to eat healthier. (I have lost about 20lbs since getting here!)

I enjoy dominoes with my family about once a week and want to start playing tennis and soccer with them very soon. (I bought the equipment for both.) The most surprising thing I have found today is that my host dad had a meeting with other host families in Ochi today. I hear rumors that I have made a huge impact on them, and that he was mentioning me continually today. Oh my head is swelling with pride at the moment.

The crescent moon with Mercury rising.
The crescent moon with Mercury rising.

In those times that I feel like a failure, I will look back on the happenings of today and remember that I fed a man and my soul was fed as well. I must always remember that it is a cycle and that my actions have impact, good, bad or indifferent, I embrace those things which are catalyzed by my actions. I just hope that this is always a positive outcome. Today has been an excellent day.

What Peace Corps means.


This is C. C is the son of one of my local farmers. C is deaf. Often people wave at him but overlook him when discussing new ideas or things of great importance. C has learned some sign language and he and his mother have their own unique gestural language. Sadly C is often bypassed in things of great importance because not many know how to communicate with him.

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T is a woman who lives in my district. She is from the same area that I am from, Seattle. We bonded immediately. She is a teacher and has written her own curriculum for Sign Language. She has worked with C and given him a few books on signs to help him communicate better.

On this day we took C with us to witness a turtle hatching. Through all the communication barriers, pure joy is something that is universal. This picture was taken during the turtle hatching. C was so excited and happy to be included. I feel very honored that T decided that it would be great to include him in this event. I look at this picture and I remember the excitement and pure joy that this night brought to such a gentle and lonely man. It reminds me of why I joined the Peace Corps. I joined to be part of something bigger than myself, and this moment is far bigger than myself, or of C or of the moment at all. This is everything that life is about. And this is why I love the Peace Corps and Jamaica. Finding that one moment to hold onto and remember that I once witnessed what life is truly about. For this I am grateful.

Turtles and Farming, My life is a completely satisfying.


The fourth of July week had been a whirlwind of activity. Fourth of July was celebrated at a little Hostel called Nix Nax. It was very inexpensive and down by a great beach. A beach that I have been to often thanks to the lovely Ex-pat from Seattle. She has been an integral part of my becoming familiar with the wondrous amenities in this area. There is another Ex-pat here from Canada. They have both been very helpful and accommodating. I enjoy having them both around.

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This weekend has been even more amazing. It is like the amazing things just do not stop happening. My Peace Corps buddy Kara, who lives in Trelawny came up on Saturday for a Bio-char workshop. I planned very hard on this one and got everything planned. I also got special permission to leave a meeting a bit early on Sunday since there was a turtle hatching happening at 5:30 and turtles do not run on Jamaican time, they run on turtle time!

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On Saturday I met Kara at one of my favorite little secrets. Silver Seas Hotel. It is an amazingly friendly place that you can use WiFi a pool and a private beach for the cost of a cup of coffee, all day. I have breakfast there far too often. The breakfasts are reasonably priced and come with coffee and juice. Some of the girls that live in my district did not know about this place and met me there as well. They wanted to catch up with Kara and check out this great location.

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We went shopping after we were done swimming and eating. Well more like I went shopping. I needed new sneakers, and I really did, my old ones I can feel every single stone on the road. I found some I liked and I also wanted tennis rackets and balls. I found those as well. I found out my landlord and his older son play, and that was all I needed to purchase some rackets. I also got a soccer ball, I was going to gift it to the children and then realized their ball looked so bad because they play with it on the road. So now I will have to take them to the ball field to play, it was not a cheap ball.

We came home and made dinner. Kara has been surviving on an almost exclusively starch diet. She works with Yam farmers and they pretty much do not grow any other vegetables. So we had eggplant parmesan with an arugula salad and some Malbec. It was delicious and she seemed to enjoy herself so much. We also watched The Matrix and played dominoes with the older boys that live in the building. My original plan was to take her out late and show her the crossroads, but they did not have any speakers up so I guess there was no DJ out. We went to bed rather early, but we were exhausted. She took so many showers and loved to wash dishes, a side effect I am certain of not having water for some time in her home.

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Sunday she got up early to go run with my landlord’s oldest son. He seemed to enjoy having her around. She later told me that he loves having me living here, so that is a major win! I like him, he is a good kid and he seems to have some goals and drive. For breakfast we had bagels with lox and steamed callalou, a leafy green that is best steamed of sauteed. We later walked down to check out the barrels and explain what needs to happen, all of which it was decided could happen on Monday with the farmers. Here is where things get a little touchy. My supervisor is great about saying he will make sure things get done, not so great at actually getting things ready. He is also terrible at being on time. I was beginning to worry that the bamboo was going to be too green. He promised it would not be, but then he wavered.

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We then walked down to my ex-pat’s home and spent the afternoon discussing her potato box and the new puppies, oh yeah we have had some new puppies and piglets born in the last few weeks. We played scrabble and it began to rain very hard. She insisted on driving us home since it was too dangerous to walk on the road in the rain. We got home and she informed us if the weather did not break there would be no turtle hatching tonight. Fingers crossed on this.

After a little snack we wandered back to the farm for the meeting. It started 45 minutes late and I was a bit stressed out because I knew I was leaving at 4:30 unless it rained. When it rains here it is much like sitting in a waterfall. You really cannot see or do anything. While we waited for the meeting I took Kara back to see the piglets. There are about 3-4 days old. We have older piglets but these are so small. She got an overload of cuteness this weekend. I left when I said I was, thankfully he allowed us to speak early on in the meeting about Bio-char and how it can be used in the farm. The group seemed to be very excited. I am very glad that I took my guest and left when I did. There was some major drama just after we departed and the poor Jico volunteer also had a guest and she had to suffer with it. She ended up just leaving, possibly out of embarrassment for my supervisor.

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Most turtles are endangered species. The hatching that we went to was for hawksbill turtles. The guy in charge is most passionate and he has seen an 82% survival rate of nests. Considering the locals used to ravage the nests and steal the eggs and the first year there was a 0% survival rate, this is an amazing project. He is now trying to included the locals and educate them on why it is important. He also invites guests from local hotels to join in. We took a deaf man from our district with us. He was very excited, sometimes people with a disability are often left out of things, people just assume they are not interested. He was very interested and very excited.

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Once the eggs are dug out, the guests are told to hold them with their index finger and their thumb and rinse them off in the sea to get the sand out of their eyes. We then bring them back and put them in a bucket to be counted. If a turtle is still in the egg, the guy in charge sets them aside to check and ensure their umbilical is healed before allowing the guests to rinse them off. Once they have been rinsed and counted and this was a first time mother so her nest was small, 52 live turtles, the guests are asked to cover any crab holes they see along the path to the sea. Baby turtles are soft and crabs will grab them as they make their way to sea. After all the crab holes are covered the turtles are released shortly after 5:30. The reason for this is to avoid as many predators as possible, while still giving them a chance to set up their homing senses. Once the turtles are set free, guests are told to carefully watch their steps and look before moving to avoid accidentally squashing turtles. We are told we can walk out to the sea with them, but we must not help any struggling turtles, this will affect not only the strengthening of their flippers but also their ability to find their way back to the beach. The second biggest threat to the turtles are predatory fish. By releasing them at sunset we give them a chance to survive the swim out to sea. The fish are out in the deep ocean at this time. By the time the turtles reach the deep-sea the fish have come into the coves to feed and the unknowingly cross paths and the turtles have a much higher chance of survival.

It was amazing to see the little heads as they swam out, we also noticed mother turtles heads popping up as they were coming in. We are now planning a night out at the beach to watch not only a hatching but a nest laying. I have no regrets, even on my hardest days, my regrets are non-existent. My life to me is amazing!

Dinner was a quick stew kind of thing with veggies, veggie chunks and pasta. She requested the veggie chunks. Funny thing was we both bought several bottles of wine and only had one bottle split on Saturday, there was no other alcohol. I guess the crazy of drinking in Jamaica has finally worn off.

Monday was egg sandwiches and callalou for breakfast. She went running and then did a quick load of laundry since she has no water at home and her running clothes were getting questionably ripe. We walked back to the farm and to our suprise no one was there, not really surprised at all. We sat under the big mango tree waiting for people to show up. About 20 minutes later the first of the farmers showed up. Ralph opened the door and brought out the tools. We needed to cut the bamboo down to size and to split it. We gave that assignment to the farmers and Kara and I punched holes into the barrels with a pick axe. We then started to pack one barrel full with bamboo.

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There was much fun with this. I looked up and said, wait we have a group of farmers and no white rum? There is no farming without white rum? How is this happening? Soon come the white rum. (The farmers that we trained with were never without this nasty red wine or white rum when they did any farming. One things I have learned is that farming requires alcohol!) In all seriousness the rum did actually come, which I was totally joking about and now I had to have a shot of rum. The rum arrived with a truckload of children. There is a summer camp going on that I had invited to come back to the farm to observe the bio-char. They all piled out and I had one of their teachers get all the names and count out how many boys and girls. This is all for later record keeping. Before we lit the barrel we told the kids what we had done to prepare it and what exactly was happening. Kara and I explained why we do this as a farm thing and not a cookshop thing. The farmers were actually very much interested in the process, as were the kids initially.

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Every project requires failure. Perfection is boring. So yes we had some failure, we first did not ignite the trash on top long enough to start the bamboo, and trash means grass and root waste not garbage. It went out before the bamboo could ignite. We pulled the barrels apart and relit it, talking to the kids as to why that fails. I think seeing people fail and admit it is a significant change for kids here to see. We finally got it going really well and capped it off. Bio-char is made using a process called pyrolysis. It requires as little oxygen as possible and a vacuum. We noticed that only one side was burning, then the trouble shooting began. Some farmers thought it was the wind, others wondered if we had it packed too tight. I finally noticed that the side that was burning had nice big ventilation holes in the barrel. The side that was not I had issues with the axe going though. There were many tap holes but none that were very big. As soon as I realized this, I pointed it out to some of the older more interested kids. I also pointed it out to the farmers, who agreed that yes that might be a major issue.

The rain fell twice and the kids were getting restless so it was determined that it was time to take them back to the classroom once the rain stopped. It was good decision. We allowed it to burn for about 45 more minutes and then kicked it out. We did get char, not a bunch but we were able to show that yes you can make coal out of bamboo. So that was a win. The other win is that the farmers definitely want to pierce better holes and do it again. To see the farmers get together and show support is inspiring. To know that even though it was not truly successful they still have faith is also a big win. Mr. Johnson has suggested we try again immediately but Kara had decided to try to make it back home for a meeting. The farmers were also tired and had things they wanted to do. The decision to end it there was a good one because we barely got home and got her clothes off the line and a downpour happened. A downpour so bad, no taxis were running. We had lunch and I packed her an extra sandwich to eat on the road. Sadly there was a taxi fiasco, and Mr. Johnson decided to carry Kara to Ochi himself. She did make it to her meeting a little late, but she made it.

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I had planned a meeting for that evening and sadly due to the downpour no one showed. I did talk a bit with Mr. Johnson and determined that yes I will be doing workshops probably weekly after the summer camp is over. I will also be working with a few lady farmers who are interested in a solar dehydrator. So that is my next move, more potato boxes, another Bio-char and a ladies group. One of my lady farmers is interested in growing mushrooms and I hear another volunteer is working on a grant to do just that and spread it out among women farmers on the island, or so I hear. I am looking forward to the next two years. It might look as though I do nothing sometimes, but I think I do much more that it appears and the group is going to see that soon.

Today is a good day to farm!

Summers away from home


This is my third summer away from friends and family. I have missed my own birthday, the 4th of July and my son’s birthday just to name a few things. Do I regret it? Not on your life. Just knowing that I have spent my time living is enough to make it worthwhile. I do miss my friends and family back in the states, but not as much as you would think. Maybe it is the fact that things are starting to fall into place. I have had a couple of successful projects a few exciting meetings and people know who I am. I still cannot place names with the faces, but the faces are definitely becoming familiar. The marriage proposals are less frequent as well. Not that I had an issue with them, but they do get tiresome.

All my life I have had this desire to fly away. Not in the literal sense but in the sense that to just be able to leave and experience life. I tend to look at my decisions from my younger years as limiting and the wrong decisions, which they may be, but in the end those decisions gave me two beautiful children. I do not regret my past, I just see it more clearly now. I do wish I had realized I could survive on my own much earlier and not stayed in bad relationships so long. I cannot change those facts, so I will simply enjoy how those play a huge role in how my life has progressed to where it is. As envious as I am of those younger lives that are currently connected to mine, I am still very aware of the amazing things I have experienced.

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This weekend was a great bonding time. We had an “American Weekend” celebrating American things. But mostly we got sunburned, bug bitten and renewed friendships. I had no idea that a few of my fellow volunteers thought that I was very successful. In reality I have felt much a failure in my ability to integrate. I have met most of my community but then I am alone much of my time. It feels very disjointed. I would spend much more time on the farm if we had water up there to work some major projects. I hate investing time and energy into a project that will likely fail due to lack of water. If that were not an issue I would be up at the farm by 5:30 every morning.
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I started projects just to feel like I did something with some of my time. I have found that a project makes life seem productive. I have a new project planned for the next week. This one is a huge project. I am having another girl from Peace Corps come here to give a demonstration and workshop on BioChar. She will stay 4 days and I have invited anyone from the nearby Parishes to send farmers to come participate. I have a great feeling that this will be a great workshop and so worthwhile. I even heard a rumor that our Peace Corps Program Manager will be joining us for this workshop. I am very excited, not only will she come to the workshop but there are two community meetings planned on those days as well. So she can get an idea of how things are really going here. I would love honest and genuine feedback on how things are going.

I have had a few conversations with my Peace Corps leaders about general frustrations with the lack of information available to complete my reports. I have explained how I have been going about things since just as in real life reality is far from the projected expectations and experiences. After this weekend though, I feel a bit better knowing that other volunteers are also feeling useless and lost at times. It always feels better to know there is someone who can empathize with you.

As a female the one thing I do not do is go out at night alone. I have had the neighbor guy carry me down to a dead yard and the crossroads, but then I realized that maybe he thought there would be compensation, which is not ever going to happen. He did not suggest it nor did he pursue it, but I just sensed an expectation at the end of the night. I need to find some females that are willing to go do things, that is my biggest desire currently. I have found two that might be interested in ladies dinner parties. That encouraged me to think I could have a couple of ladies who may be interested in cooking and playing a game a few nights a month. It could open up some doors. I have also started leaving my apartment later in the day. I have noticed much more activity around 4:30 in the afternoon. The past few weeks have felt isolated, and maybe that is my own fault for not reading the community better. I am hoping to walk around the scheme later in the evenings and meet more people in the scheme. I suppose that fact that school just got out has changed the activity around the community as well.

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I envision my days looking more like split shifts in the near future. Early morning farm projects and evening walks and meetings to integrate better. Maybe integration always feels like failure. Maybe no matter how much you integrate you always feel outside the community. One think I do know, I feel much more part of this community than I felt in Liberia. I think having that first time around was beneficial. Knowing the things I would have done differently gives me insight into how to go about it this time around. I feel as though even those moments where I feel as if I am doing nothing, I am doing something.

One thing I do know is that I am accomplishing goal 3 pretty well. This is the goal to share the culture here with Americans back home and this I am certain I do best of the three goals.

Sometimes I feel a little guilty……


There are those moments that I feel a bit guilty.  Like I have been on an extended cruise and do nothing.  Like those times when I go to the beach and enjoy the ocean, times when I just sit and drink coconut water with the locals, times that I sip some white rum and observe a grave digging.  It is in those moments that I wonder am I doing my job?  Am I fulfilling my promise to serve? Then I remember another part of my promise is to share what life here is like.  It is not always beer, rum and beaches with reggae or Dancehall, but something a little more relaxed and slower.

Life here sometimes feels stagnant.  The day often ends around 7pm.  I close up my home and watch a movie as I make dinner.  But somehow it is normal, everyone else is doing it.  The beach is not something many Jamaicans enjoy.  The people here tend to either fear it or think of it as a fish bathroom.  The fact that most beaches here are pay beaches limits the possibilities for many locals to even go if they wanted to.  This is an impoverished country, do not fool yourself.  The tourism industry is not here to help the local people, but to make money for their foreign investors.  This is nothing new and should not even surprise you.  What you pay for in an all-inclusive hotel deal is isolation from the vibrant yet desperate people who live outside those walls.

Having to live on a budget similar to my community makes paying to go to the beach a luxury.  Something I am willing to do, but it means that I limit other forms of entertainment.  I do not go out much, I simply cannot afford to.   The few times a month I go and treat myself to lunch are just that a treat.  These excursions often are attached to a beach visit, many of the beach fees are waived if you purchase a drink or food.  The river is also being overtaken the same way.  This fortunately is being done by many locals.  At least they will have an opportunity to make a livelihood. This is part of my project and I have a section of the river that is open to me whenever I want to go.  The man there is excited about food forests.  Of all the places I had not expected that to be discussed, here was one.  He also loves to discuss Permaculture principles.  I love his ideas and if I can just get him to get his license and certificates I think he will be successful.  The license is very important as two weeks ago an unlicensed attraction on the river had a man die from a falling tree limb, so it is vital that we are able to ensure the safety of the guests.  A license means that the tourism board inspects it and safety protocols are implemented.

I have started to hang out at the ball field in the evenings to watch the young men play futbol!   Okay, so maybe I look to watch the crazy socks more, but hey we all have our things.   I mean really they wear the craziest socks with not much else to play.  Some play with no shoes or socks, I even saw one guy with only one shoe and sock on.  The fact is that they play, they have fun and they are working together.  Teamwork and collaboration are not exactly promoted here.  In fact I tried to explain social economies and social income.  Both of which are difficult to convey in a tragically poor society.  I will have to research this more to be able to truly explain the idea in a way that reaches the community.

I also feel very guilty that as I have embraced much of this culture I refuse to embrace their diet.  I cannot live on white rum, Red Stripe and starches.  The health of many people is tragically poor.  in our final days of PST (Pre-service Training) we were given a lecture by a nutritionist.  Her entire lecture was focused on 100 calorie combinations, not once did she discuss nutrients and balance.  There is a prevalence of constipation in this country.  Metamucil is in fact a nutrient.   As a vegetarian I splurge on things like arugula and kale.  I embrace the okra and now finally know how to cook that, but I refuse to eat rice and potato and sweet potato and yam in the same meal.  I will eat one serving of one of those items unless I have made a soup.  I will eat more fruit whole, here the tendency is to make the fruit into a juice and add sugar to it.   What saddens me the most is that this is promoted as a healthy diet.  I also have a hard time accepting that Tang is called juice and that bag juice is sold to children by the truckload.  Bag juice is the most unsavory thing I can think of, first off it is a bag that is handled by many people who may or likely may not have washed their hands, then you bite into to the bag to drink from it, and the “juice” is nothing more than flavored and colored sugar-water.  The bags then fly all over the place and end up in the bush or the ocean.  There is absolutely no benefit to this product.

As I sit in my castle up on the hill, because that is what it feels like sometimes, I am saddened by the fact that fruits and vegetables are not a more staple part of the local diets.  This also affects my local farmers.  Instead of buying/selling  to each other everyone runs to Ocho Rios to shop.  I wish I could find more things I eat from the local farmers.   I end up buying eggplant on a styrofoam wrapped in plastic at the market for 3 times the original farmer cost.   Do not worry I have found a wonderful use for the styrofoam.

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One non-guilty moment I have recently had is that I may start a ladies dinner with a couple of the ladies in the scheme.  I would love to have a few dinner parties a month, this means that we each contribute and we dine and commune together.  These two ladies are on holiday during the summer, they both work at some university, I think.  They are very interested and I am just loving this idea.  It would be a great way to also discuss some ideas for a girls club or activity of some sort.  I really hope that I can at least make this happen.

And there are the things that I sometimes feel guilty about.   I still love every moment of my life, and I think that when I feel guilty, it is growth in myself.  Growth into seeing exactly how fortunate my life is, even though I have been very poor my entire adult life.  Poor in the standards that say you must own and buy everything, but certainly not poor in spirit or experiences, this is where my wealth lies.

Finding my place


In the last week I think I have finally found my place.  I am starting to see people and recognize them.  I still am not so good with names, but that will soon come.  I have also had a few “workshops” and meetings to try to get a feeling of doing something.  Anything is better than nothing.   I have also figured out why I never really see many women in this community.  It seem many work and then come home to care for the children.  I see many men and believe me I get proposed to at least once day.  I have actually been avoiding the cross roads at night due to this fact.

In the first few months of site placement there is a ton of down time.  You get to know how to get around, you meet the community and know who to go to for what issues.  You also learn where to shop and spend a ton of time wondering how can I make a difference when people do not really talk to me.  Then those moments of depression and feelings of hopelessness kind of weigh you down a bit.   Then you suddenly decide to do a project, and people actually show up. Then you realize that maybe more projects would benefit you and them.  And suddenly the whole world looks beautiful again, because you have seen a way to move forward.

Then you have a community meeting and you meet people who you were told were not so active in the community and not interested in developing it.  And you know what, that information was really wrong.  And then you have those people really want to discuss ways to make the community better.  And you find that there is always hope, you just have to hold on a little longer until it finds you.  And then this group of people come together and discuss some important issues in the community and something wonderful happens.  A new idea is born and a community event may be in the works soon. And then you go home and lay down and smile until you fall asleep.

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This is when you know you have finally found your place.

There are those days that you feel like………


There are those days that you feel like you have accomplished nothing at all, then there are days when you feel like you conquered a great mountain!  Today is one of those days.  Yesterday as well.  I think maybe I just needed a couple of days to breathe, and that feels like you are not doing anything.  I find those days frustrating but also very very necessary.  After the potato box I was just exhausted and also wanted a day to recover, not two days.  Yesterday I gathered information and made a couple of phone calls.  I did not leave my apartment for the most part, sadly.  The landlord had a few things he wanted to do in my apartment and the electrician was here, so home I stayed.

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Today I had to stay home as well to finish up the light problem.  I did get a ton of things done yesterday and today.  I was still kind of feeling bummed about things until I talked to Kara and asked her if she wanted to collaborate on a project and set up a Bio-Char project.  She immediately said yes!  This project is not one I am so passionate about, but I mentioned it to some farmers and they were interested.  Their interest always gives me that little boost of energy I need.  Today I mentioned the project to my supervisor who got really excited when he realized it could be used in a coal pot and sold.  He saw a great potential in a revenue generating project.  Well it was not quite how I saw it being used, but a spark of excitement is great, so run with it I will.  The barrels will be delivered tomorrow, this is really going to happen.

I was asked to help with a project i my parish next week as well.I am not certain this will work out since I may be meeting someone important on Thursday. I hope to give her an answer soon, sorry it takes so long.  The reality that I am struggling with my CASI is totally dimmed by the excitement a project brings in.  So slowly I will try to gather community information but I am not going to stress on the lack hard data and focus on the relationships it requires to gather such data!