Peace Corps year 1

locusts on rice, anyone?

From Stuff World News, via Kathryn: Capture locusts and win rice:

DAKAR: A radio station in Senegal is offering listeners a 50kg sack of rice if they can catch and kill 50kg of locusts, another new tactic in West Africa’s battle against the airborne invasion.

… West Africa’s first locust plague in 15 years is destroying vast swathes of crops in communities where many are subsistence farmers and where the authorities lack the means to spray pesticide quickly enough to stop the swarms spreading.

… Asked what the radio station would do with sacks full of dead locusts, Ba said: “They are full of protein. Perhaps they could be turned into food for livestock.”

A plague of locusts… at least as a Cajun, I’m well-prepared to eat stuff caught in my backyard.


baton rouge

How I know I’m in Baton Rouge:

– The new, disturbingly clean Coffee Call’s freakiness is almost rectified by Eddie, the beignet chef, remembering me like he has since high school. (And by remembering, I mean hitting on in a short, round, older black man kind of way.)

– The bumper stickers:
1) Lots of W ’04
2) National Atheists’ Day: April 1
3) A Bush/Cheney 04 printed in purple and gold (yes, LSU colors)

– I encounter new, spectacularly ugly buildings where there used to be cozy houses, local shops, or trees and bunny rabbits.

Two weeks.


still in austin

How I knew I was in Austin:

– Gaggles of sorority hopefuls skittering around the Drag in tube tops and flippy skirts.

– The Drag Rat who came in for a cup of water while we were at Jamba Juice promised to come back for a smoothie if he begged enough money.

– Steven’s neighbor was playing “House of the Rising Sun” on his acoustic guitar the other night. The circle is complete.

Other than that, Steven’s been really sick and so I’m dropping him at his parents’ in College Station today before continuing on to Baton Rouge on Tuesday.

Peace Corps year 1

and when i said one month…

… I meant less than a month. My Peace Corps staging packet arrived in Baton Rouge yesterday, and apparently I’m due to arrive in Philadelphia on Monday, September 13th, rather than Thursday, September 16th. On the 16th, I’ll actually be arriving in Dakar, at 5:45 AM.

Not a big change, by any means, but just one more reminder that I’ll be leaving much sooner than I think.

Peace Corps year 1

one-month countdown

Here I am, temporarily in Austin and exactly a month from the first day of Peace Corps staging. I can’t think of much to say about that… Austin doesn’t feel like home anymore and Peace Corps is still mostly a packing list at this point.

And, oh, what a packing list it is. I’ve been emailing with a few current Senegal PCVs, who have been really helpful with advice about what to bring, what to leave, and just what to expect in general. I’ll post my current packing list soon, so that y’all can laugh at me for thinking that I’ll actually be able to fit it all in my backpack.

Also, I’ve got lots of fun pictures from the visit to the Bay + backpacking trip that I’ll post once I get a chance to upload them to the gallery.


home again home again… kinda

I drove from Austin (no longer home) to Baton Rouge (home again) Saturday, hauling a carload of stuff and a very upset kitty who didn’t make it five minutes out of town before she puked right in the middle of her cat carrier.

I played the Alphabet Game to keep myself awake—you know, where you find the letters of the alphabet in order on road signs / passing cars / billboards. Then I played it backwards. Then I played it using only capital letters. Then I played it using only lowercase letters. Lowercase ‘j’ almost ended me (Damn you, Howard Johnson, mocking me with your uppercase ‘J’!). Then, a mere seven letters later, I came up against lowercase ‘q,’ which thwarted me until I reached the Mississippi River bridge and the turnoff for Plaquemine and which ultimately reigned victorious since I was then home before I could find lowercase ‘z.’

So currently Steven’s driving over the Atchafalaya Basin with a carload of my crap (he stopped in College Station on the way here), Squeak is hiding out in my room (on my bed, behind my pillow), Yo Yo the Feline Terror is probably about to attack my leg (his latest trick), and I’m not especially looking forward to seeing today’s drive again, in reverse, early Monday morning (happily, though, it’ll be the first part of a drive to California).

I doubt that I believe I’ve actually left Austin for good.