March 08, 2009

सॉरी फॉर थे देले

For reasons I don't quite understand, my computer began to type this entry in Hindi. That is quite interesting.

What the subject line says, though, is "Sorry for the Delay." It's been nearly two weeks since I've last updated, and you are all severely out of the loop. I apologize for that, but you see, I've been quite busy.

Last Saturday was the Arkansas Flower and Garden Show. Heifer had a booth in the
Kids' corner, and I volunteered to help out. We brought along four goat kids, Peter the unpleasant Rabbit, and a vermicomposting bin full of worms. It was a lot of fun. I figured the goats would steal all of our thunder, as I was at the table with the vermicomposting information, you know, the boring stuff, but I was pleasantly surprised. A significant amount of people stopped and seemed genuinely interested in vermicomposting, and requested to hear our little schpiel about the beauty of composting. I would go on and on about it here, but I don't want to lose your interest too quickly. Just know that the US produce 160 million tons of solid waste each year- 85% of which ends up in a landfill. Of that 85%, 25-40% is compostable material. Not only does composting divert waste from a landfill, but it also helps to replenish valuable nutrients to our soil. Everybody wins, rights?

It seems like I have been getting the complete Arkansas experience since moving here. Most free (or cheap) events in the area revolve around folk culture in the state. Last Monday the Heifer-ites loaded up into two vans and went to the big city to attend Rackensack. Rackensack is Arkansas' folk society, and they have a concert/gathering once a month where people bring instruments, songs and stories which they share with their peers. It was a lot of fun- I heard a lot of new folks songs, and was lucky enough to see a large quantity of quality entertainers. It's always funny when the Ranch goes to local events- I swear people must think we're a commune or cult. We all show up in these identical blue vans, and we sit together with big goofy smiles on our faces. We're all fairly young, but there's always one or two older folks who tag along, so I'm sure it seems like they are our captors of some sort. Everybody loves Heifer around here, but I'm sure there are a lot of misconceptions there, too.

Friday we once again piled into the vans to go contra dancing, the bastard child of square dancing and English dancing. It was a lot of fun- there was a complete mixture of demographics(I was dancing with an elementary student and a Senior citizen at one point.) It's a very social dance. Yes, you do start off with a partner, but most of the time you dance with everybody in the room by the end of the song. Plus, they give you instructions before each individual dance, and then call out directions during the actual song. I really enjoyed it, and got quite the work out at the same time. Afterwards my van stopped at Sonic for some ice cream and good times. This weekend has also been a good weekend for visitors. Friday one of my campaign friends, Morgan Bearden, stopped by the ranch on his way home from a business trip. He got a little tour and learned more about the organization. It's always nice to see a familiar face in the place I love. :) Saturday morning I got a really nice treat- my grandparents stopped by on their way back from California. They left for the coast a few weeks before I moved out, so I've really been dying to see them. We went to the local establishment Jones Cafe and had us a good and decent Arkansas breakfast. I then commandeered a golf cart and took them on a tour of this fine establishment. I think they enjoyed it, or at least I hoped they did. I really enjoyed seeing them. I can't wait until I can go back home and enjoy some Grandma food now. :)

Sunday was an amazing day. I got up early and made pancakes for my fellow and adventurer, Neil, and I. We then went to St. Michael's in Little Rock, and enjoyed ourselves some church. Afterwords we met up with a ranch staff member, Ryan, his girlfriend, and Reagan, a guy we met at a Fat Tuesday potluck. We all drove a few blocks and went to the amazing Indian joint Amruth. After having to drag ourselves out of the chairs we walked in the beautiful sunshine to Whole Foods where we shopped and perused the dumpster (well, this time I let Neil go at it alone. I actually payed for my food this week.) It was a very long Sunday, but a very beautiful one that deserved to be savored. I settled down in the evening with a good book and nap. Today was once again a beautiful day. I was able to sit outside in the sunshine for training all day, and even managed to get a little bit of color on my cheeks. After work I went for a shopping trip in Perryville, and the most amazing thing happened- One of our volunteers didn't have enough cash on hand to make a purchase. A random, kind, gentleman behind her gave her the two bucks needed so that she could not have to put anything back. Really... that is what Arkansas is like. Everybody is nice, happy, and oh so giving. I'm sure they look at Heifer Ranch as a cult or commune, but they love and support us anyway. It's just a nice place to be. :)

I do have a silly thing to say, though. For some reason I was really out of it today. I was practicing a presentation with Riva, and she said she had to go to the bathroom. So I offered to go to the bathroom for her- instead of finishing up the presentation for her. I didn't even catch on until everybody else in the group started cracking up and asking if I was feeling okay. I proceeded to make similar mistakes/comments for the remainder of the day. I felt like such a ditz.