Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Still clippin' along

Now that I am another week through, I thought that I would update everyone on what is happening here.

The work is picking up again, David and I have been attending a seminar on the physical characteristics of biological materials. The course is offered for faculty members here, to get a little more experience with their respected field of post harvest management. It involves a lot of really complex calculus, in determining the different properties of said substances. These calculations may include bulk density, porosity, moisture content... and the different ways that a material responds to an external stress (compression, heat, moisture etc.) If you're an engineering student who is interested in reducing world poverty by studying the packaging of materials, you would probably find it fascinating.

David and I have also been working with IT here on campus, helping them prepare a documentary about the information technology department here. Once that is ready to go, I will try to post it. I wrote the script, and hopefully we'll be recording it soon. The film is still being shot.

Still having problems with photos, which is sort of frustrating. But I've been taking plenty, and they will be up eventually.

I've been reading a lot this week, as it often pours in the evening. I've read a lot of great books since being here.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chobsky
The Willows - Algernon Blackwood
The Mountain and The Valley - Ernest Buckler
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close - Jonathon Myers
Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
Carrie - Stephen King
Needful Things - Stephen Kings
All Creatures Great and Small - James Herriot

Now I'm hacking my way through a textbook on mammalian biochemical pathways, and a few introductory books for organic chemistry. Just trying to get a leg up on next semester. I figure I have a little time for quiet reflection and studying, less distractions and a clear mind. So it's going really well.

If anyone has some suggestions of books to read, I'd appreciate it.

I'm trying to get some volunteer work done on the weekends, working with people with physical disabilities. I've seen several people since arrival, that look to be in extreme discomfort. I'm not sure what sort of work that I would be doing, but hopefully they can find some sort of work for me to do. There's also a spot down the road for people terminally ill. They are also looking for help, so I'm going to try to volunteer with each group.

I played a little bit of tennis last night with some faculty members, which was fun. We're going to try to play a little more. They have a fairly decent clay court here. My original plan was to train for cross country this summer by running here. Unfortunately it won't be the case. I get stared at enough walking around just being white. If I was to start running around wearing shorts, I would even draw more attention to myself. The roads would be okay to run on, but the traffic is heavy during the day, and I also don't feel comfortable running on an extremely bumpy road in the darkness.

We have something neat coming next week, we're helping faculty do research about post harvest management. We're doing things on dropping them. So we'll set something up by dropping the avocados from various heights onto a level surface. From there we will determine different factors of spoilage that result from it; micro-organism impact, firmness etc. It should be fun, and a chance to get some scientific method fit in which is really important to me.

I also have been able to finish my meals now. This might not seem so significant, but food here is extremely filling. The way you eat is using injera (a flatbread made from an indigenous grain called teff), you use the injera to scoop up bites of sauces called "wots". The wots are usually pea or lentil based, but also may have beef, chicken or egg in it. I've also had steamed/curried spinach, cabbage and potato at times. The meal isn't "finished' unless you eat all of the injera, and I did this on Sunday and Monday night.

I'm still having trouble with my stomach, but I think it's just still adjusting to the food here. It's very different, and I've been having a bit of stomach pain. But all is well. Give it a couple more weeks. :)



1 comment:

  1. I believe even a change of water can upset the stomach. Stay away from raw stuff and partially cooked meat.
    I can't believe Nathe never gets sick while he travels in tropic climes. Praps you should ask him his secret (nathanfahey@yahoo.ca)