Archive | August, 2011

Butter, flying

23 Aug

Happy Tuesday All!

I’m here in Elim and I have no food in the house.
Save for peanuts.
Plenty of peanuts.

Did you know that 20lbs of uncracked peanuts sells for about $14.50 US?
Peanuts don’t weight that much.
That’s a lot of peanuts.
Peanuts for peanuts.

So, I have peanuts.
Everyone has peanuts.

“What do you do when you have hundreds of pounds of peanuts?”
I’m open to suggestions.
Anything but peanut butter.
That foray was an epic fail…:

Value added products are almost always a good idea.
‘Maybe Jamaicans could start marketing their own peanut butter??’, I thought.
Cooked, raw, honey added, salt free…Oh the butters we could make!
Maybe we could go organic!
I started to dream…
I have peanuts.
How bad could this be??

I allotted an entire afternoon for experimentation.

Peanut Sand

Hmm, looks like I need to add some oil….

“Blech!!!!!” – too much oil!
*grumble grumble*
(quick google search…)

There is more than one kind of peanut. At least four.
Who knew?
As you may have guessed, not all peanuts make peanut butter.
Wah wah.
Turns out, the kind we have in Elim? Not for peanut butter.
There is little hope in implementing a new kind of peanut around here since my community uses the nuts of this harvest as seeds for the next crop; cheaper and more efficient that way. Please start brainstorming various butter alternatives.

In severely more depressing news, a friend of Peace Corps and companion of mine, Tony, in Accompung, passed away last week. He had liver cancer and opted to stay in Jamaica living out his life rather than going through intensive and inconclusive radioactive treatment (for the second time). My blog is sarcastic and my transitions abrupt but I by no means intend any disrespect towards this man. On the night of his death I felt his presence around me and dreamt he was flying to heaven. If he heard that he would roll his eyes, laugh out loud, and say something sarcastic and crotchety — most likely about not believing in heaven.
Oh well, it’s already in print 🙂
I have fond memories of him as a generous individual and am sad he is no longer with us.

Rest in Peace, Tony

In absurdly-inappropriate positive news, my parents purchased a plane ticket for me to fly home!
I am really looking forward to vacation.
October 11th – 19th
9 days.
Woot woot!!
I am so grateful.

Also, this next week, the new Basic School is having its grand opening!
Do Do Do Dooooo!
My entire community is talking about it. They are so proud.
It’s the first new building up in Elim in over 30 years!
It is a huge accomplishment — Soon I will attach pictures of progress.

In other education news, I’ve been in contact with a school in Virginia, Woodland Elementary – Shout Out! We are conversing through a Peace Corps initiative called World Wise Schools. These students ask challenging questions about Jamaica and I have been busying myself Wikapedia-ing their answers. “What are Jamaicas top three exports??” I’ll tell you in 0.34 seconds…
It’s the start of a beautiful friendship.

Speaking of beautiful friendships look who I saw yesterday!
(Molly, skip this)

Polly want some Ackee

I have some friends who don’t like birds *cough cough* but…He’s green, and he’s hungry. I think these characteristics make him very relatable.
I like him.

Here, parrots usually hang out in flocks; devouring guavas, ackee, and peanuts (most Jamaicans think them a nuisance). I rather envy their bottomless stomachs while admiring their lively color and dreaming of taking flight myself.

But for now I will have to satiate my get-up-and-go desires through books.
They take me to another world.
This week I finished Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison (fabulous) and an awful book by Garrison Keillor albeit with a promising title, A Life in Comedy.

I don’t list all my books for you all the time because, well, I have a heart.
If you ever wanted to chat books, though, I welcome your input.
Please be aware that I read what’s available. Do not offer suggestions (unless prepared to send me a copy) as it is inconvenient to obtain books living on an island with a low literacy rate and on an even lower volunteer-salary.

In more personal reading-news, my dearest has started his own blog!
It’s clever: “In the Pursuit of…” and he’s a wonderful writer.
Nick told me he is not quite ready to make it open to fans so this is just a teaser. Feel free to harass him; it’s super fantastic and the public deserves access!!!
Hopefully a link will soon come.

Okay. That’s all I’ve got.
I’m going to go put on my peanut-thinking-cap and stare at birds in motion.

One Love,

Total Package

14 Aug

Happy Weekend, Dear Ones!

August has been magical (owing, in part, to Harry Potter which I had been trying for weeks to locate, finally found in the form of a bootleg copy sold by a shady street-corner-man in downtown Kingston, hurried home (faster!), shoved the not-very-legitimate-looking-DVD into my computer and…abracadabra…it worked!!! More, part I and part II are on this tiny disc! A charmed life :))

And that party was awesome, thanks for asking.
You remember, right? That one that didn’t start until ‘the next day’.
Well, yours truly went and stayed until 6am!!!
I think I’m really integrating.
Memories from that night:
-Walking a mile to get there in the dark. With potholes. I used my headlamp.
-Cows ‘Moooo’ing as we passed.
-Arriving, the party was in the middle of a field, completely outside.
-Thus, the party was dark; lights came from parked cars pointed in the “party direction”.
-Music was loud. Really, really loud.
-Drinks were, of course, sold at double the price and water was triple! I, personally, walked to a nearby shop (my friends) and was sold drinks at regular prices plus given water for free 🙂
-Weed was sold for $2.50 US by the stick (about 2 feet).
-People ruined their shoes because of the wet grass turned to mud. (Yours truly wore crocs!)
-Dancing!!! Grooving!!!
-Walking home I didn’t need my headlamp because the sun was already shining!

A few days later…
I went to church (I’m dynamic like that) and struck up a conversation with a community member who did not attend the party.
“Sam!”, she said, “I heard you was at the party!”
“Yup” I started cautiously, worried where this might go. This was, after all, my first all-night party and, being a teacher in this small village I do not want anything to slander my good name. Could I go and have a fabulous time yet still be conservative and maintain my reputation even in church???
“I heard that you danced but didn’t wine ’cause your hubby don’t want you to” she continued.
I beamed
“Yes, this is true.” I said as a smile crept across my face.
“And”, she winked, “I heard you can really boogie”

I went to a party!!!
Stayed all night!!!!!
Avoided nasty rumors!!!!!!!!!!
Life is goooooood!!!!

And then, icing on my party cake, I went into Kingston and picked up MAIL!!!
I received THREE awesome packages from four incredible people!
(Tears happened when I read my birthday card messages because I miss you all so much — Luckily there was chocolate in the package so I was able to drown my sorrows right then and there).

Colleen and Brennan:
That granola, those cookies, toaster pastries (only a few ants had gotten into them), luna bars, chocolate nut mix…MmmmmM!!!!!!!! Thank you so so much! It was an incredibly well thought out package 🙂 I loved the polar bear card (I think it’s working! I feel colder.) and the gorgeous notebook (especially the sentiments inside!). I really appreciate the healthy, hearty rice (I’m cooking it with peanuts, Oh, peanuts.), and the delicious smelling deodorant (perfect timing! tmi?)
It was so thoughtful of you to organize and send this full-of-love present filled with good cheer!
I have been relishing the change of scenery this box has brought into my home (I put the card up on my wall and it is a PLEASURE to open my fridge and see all these new, exciting, foreign contents!!).
As you can probably imagine, I picked through the nut mix and ate out all of the chocolate already but am still holding out hope that I missed some pieces… Sick, I know.

Your package full of gardening supplies finally made it here!!
There was so much cool stuff in this box (the items just kept ‘one-upping’ each other, ha!).
A Gardeners Handbook, Soil testing, fruit, flower, veggie seeds, and then a letter with a bit of a monetary treat!!!!!!! Eeek!!!! Yay!!!!! Thank you so much!!!!! I have plans to use that money very wisely (on a couple of slices of pizza in a very expensive part of the island.) I know of one place (Paradise Patty) to buy pizza less than one hour from me and they use ketchup instead of tomato sauce (gross) and cheese that doesn’t melt (is it plastic??). But THIS money is going towards a real, honest-to-goodness, piece of tourist pizza!!!!! Wahoo!!!!!! I’m going to travel hours to go and get it. 🙂
Thank you thank you thank you thank you!!!

The camera USB worked! Yes!!!! Thank you for brainstorming ways to get me out of that miserable funk. That was so frustrating! Thank you for sending the USB and camera card (just in case). You sent them so promptly and I really appreciate having them! Ironic (let’s laugh about it) that there are no pictures on this blog post. Sorry about that. *whistles nonchalantly* Soon come! And, at least I have the option!! You’re very good at showering me with acts of service. (next time write a note, ha!) I love you, goofball 🙂

And, for those of you who have sent me packages in my past, that is, before I started a blog, I really appreciate those gifts as well [and hope I conveyed that to you in a very lengthy (if not public) and appreciative e-mail!].

I hope that your month is going as well as mine.

Tied with a Bow.
Sealed with a Kiss.