I arrived home and breathed a sigh of relief.
This afternoon was the meeting at the cooperative between the four agents, the coop vet, and the coop chairman.
We are starting late, naturally, Emerson is coasting in on his dusty bicycle.
"You are late Mr. Emerson." I do my best to keep the tone light despite my burning frustration; patience is a virtue long lost after an hour and a half sitting on a reed chair with a seat that is concave down rather than the traditional less painful concave up version my western tush is accustomed to. USAID should stop their bug net program and start donating day-timers and watches. Honestly.
I start the meeting by outlining a few major topics they might want to talk about: responsibilities, how you will work with the cooperative, then opened it up for them to add anything else they would like to discuss.
The meeting lasts the better part of two hours. By the end the group had outlined the responsibilities of the chair, treasurer, secretary, and the committee member. I had quickly shown Lemick how to take meeting notes by writing down the date, people in attendance, outline of topics discussed, more detailed notes of those topics, and at the end write some topics for the next meeting with the date/time/location.
I start, once again, to feel very optimistic. I sit back and listen as the CLAs, coop chair and vet are sharing concerns, objectives, and talk about potential areas for collaboration. They discuss the importance for transparency and openness using all the right lingo to impress a white development worker.
The meeting ends on a positive note. Next Thursday the cooperative will organize it's farmers so the CLAs can present to them on the services they provide, and further collaborate and outline the logistics on how they will work together. The CLAs will compile all of their services into a list, and coordinate themselves to deliver the presentation.
I'm content with the outcome. The rumors, it appears, were just rumors.
In the time I've been sitting here writing outside my hut the sun has tucked itself in for the night under a thin blanket of clouds on the horizon, leaving my page blue in the evening light. The yard is dancing with silhouettes of children, chickens, and pigs. I breathe another sigh of relief, this time involuntary.
I am getting comfortable in Chinjara. Despite the mental roosters at 3:30 am, despite the open water source and the consequential need to chlorinate it to the point of drinking pool water, despite the language barrier with the younger kids, and despite the diet of 120% starch that leaves me with night terrors; I'm still relieved to be sitting here at the end of a long day. That’s got to means something, right?