Sunday, August 30, 2009

Lilongwe Holiday

I have run across some linkings (mainly through other people's twitter) and I though i'd put them up:

- Malawi school girl studying at US prep school for the Summer
- Zinc combating diarrea in Africa
- Sex workers in Swaziland (sex work is legal in Malawi and currently there is a legislation attempting to criminalize HIV transmission - something for a future blog post)
- Git articles (I’ve been using this a lot to keep my code in sync)

I took another look at the original specifications for the RapidSMS/Malawi Health project as spec’d out by the SIPA students (aka Mobile Development Solutions). So now I have a good idea of the SMS protocol I need to use, and the UI look and feel. It also gave me data for stunting and wasting metrics - so I added that to my data models and I’m creating fixtures for those pieces of data. I am upgrading my jsonmedusa script because I see future deployments of RapidSMS will involve lots of data munging.
Right now, with the nutrition app as it stands (on the shoulders of giants by the way), I think RapidSMS could deploy a basic malnutrition alert and monitoring system ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD. I would like to do this somewhere in China, mainly because I am desperately craving Sha lum Bao/Soup dumplings (apologies for the non Pinyin transliteration).
Last night I went to a new night spot in the outskirts of lilongwe - ‘Sol Farm.’ We then drove back via the posh neighborhoods of lilongwe - enormous homes/beautiful. I took some pictures. So much of this trip cannot be captured on film (or sd card): the smells, the feel of the sun and the dust, the song of the birds and the call to prayer at 5:30 in the morning. I tried to record the call to prayer last week - but it sounded rather crappy. I may go out and play pool at ‘The Diplomat’ tonight, a bar with a modest amount of sex workers. I am feeling out of sorts so I may just stay in work, read a book, and watch one of the films I have on my hard drive. I did some meditation in the late afternoon, and then I fell asleep. It is sometimes hard for me to stay awake during meditation.
Can lists be poetry?

"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, but of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." William Butler Yeats

I have finished the totally awful Globalization anthology - I think I may leave it in the hotel library, but then I feel that is unfair to future people who might pick it up. Many of the essays in Globalization brought up really interesting topics, but then became mired down in jargon and academic ass kissing. To cleanse my palate I picked up my copy of Mayes poetry handbook. A fantastic book that I usually travel with it. I always try to memorize poetry, so that when my mind starts to wander to negative thoughts I can have something beautiful (like a mantra) to focus my mind. Poetry reminds me of drawing, it involves intense focus on something and the recreation of that thing in your own likeness (to be biblical) but really - this is what lets the experience become integrated into your person.javascript:void(0)

It is weird - this time last year I was living in Hong Kong. Hong Kong was way more lonely than Lilongwe although there was more to do and the food was better (and my accommodations were nicer). I never feel alone in Lilongwe - although I do feel like I am at the ends of the earth lost in another time.

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