GObama, and less exciting news from Lilongwe

And to all those who have wondered if America’s beacon still burns as bright: Tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope.
-Obama Victory Speech, 11-4-08

I woke up shortly after 6 AM, checked CNN and the NYT, and found that the election had just been called for Barack Obama. There was actually an all-night ex-pat party at a bar in Lilongwe, but I (obviously) did not go. I didn’t anticipate that the result would be called until a little later, but was awake to witness the end of the McCain concession speech and some of Obama’s victory address (both in 3-second spurts). My internet is speedy for Africa, but marginal in terms of being able to stream videos – so I read the transcripts later.

In other news (and then we won’t have to talk about politics any more, I promise), I am now from a blue county in a blue state, which is pretty exciting. Unfortunately, I’m from a very red Congressional district that reelected a racist bigot for a fourth term. Go, IA-5. Steve King, I hope you can continue to be newsworthy only by spewing hateful epithets and embarrassing your constituents.

It’s thundering outside in Lilongwe, a sure sign that the rainy season is on its way.  Updates may become more intermittent as the rainy season makes electricity outages much more frequent.  Otherwise, life is pretty quiet around here.  This morning I went with my (potential) car to the mechanic, where he declared it a “good car,” and then went on to detail its potentially expensive flaws.  He’s going to write up an estimate for me and get it to me tomorrow, at which point I shall begin negotiating the asking price significantly downward.

On the “but aren’t you supposed to be doing research?” front, I’ve made some good contacts this week and scheduled more meetings with NGOs; suddenly, on Monday, Malawians started to respond to my emails.  A friend suggested that this might be because  they have paid their internet bills, as this is the beginning of the month.  At any rate, I am slowly but surely making progress.

As I’ve determined that it will take time to make all the appropriate contacts for my work on crop diversification, I’ve started a few other projects to occupy my time.  I’m working on an article on Malawi’s fertilizer subsidies and struggling to find accurate figures about the portion of the national budget devoted to this particular program.  I’m also reviewing the literature on farmer decision-making in Malawi, and mentally working up a tome on the ways in which the mathematical models generally used fail to account for social phenomena that are the base of agricultural viability here.

Finally, I’m still seeking cabbage recipes:  I made some coleslaw (which didn’t turn out half bad, actually), but still have 2/3 of a cabbage remaining.  Any fantastic ideas?


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One Response to “GObama, and less exciting news from Lilongwe”

  1. A.L. Says:

    Obama’s speech was truly moving and genuine, I felt. What a neat moment in history to witness!

    I don’t know if you heard, but the results of our Senate race are still being counted. There was a .5% difference and our laws state an automatic recount, so we’re still waiting on the results of whether we will have a Democrat or Republican representing us in the Senate. Yikes!

    Wohoo! Projects are underway 🙂

    As far as cabbage recipes go, I have a fantastic one, but I will email it to you, rather than post it here, so check your email!

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