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Can you take a step forward and back at the same time? Is that a step sideways? Or a little dance, like the Charleston? I digress.

Had a meeting Saturday to go over the applications for the Young Scholar Program. When I woke up Sat, I realized that we still don't have any money, we don't even have the possibilities for getting money in the amount of time we need it (3 weeks) and I felt totally unprepared. I think that it is a great program and it has so much potential. But I also felt like we were going about things the completely wrong way. So I texted Liz and when we got to RIDEV we had a discussion, and we are going to slow it down and rework our plan such that we will start the program in October. This gives us time to: get financing, plan our sessions better, learn how to speak french better, use more feedback from last years program, and we'll have a 6 month program instead of a 2 month one.

What a weight off. But also, the two things that were keeping me so busy last week, the Engineers without Borders and the Young Scholars Project are now pretty low on the horizon. This gives me a lot of free time and less direction.

I'm hoping to get into some more agroforestry related work, like i'm supposed. I'm going to get in touch with my counterpart this week and hopefully we can plan to meet with some groups and farmers to do some needs analysis and plan some formations. I'm also going to expand my teeny tiny tree nursery.

This last week has been pretty tough mentally, and all the other volunteers I've talked to (from our stage) are feeling the same. Huh. Must be the lunar cycle. Ha ha, I am kidding, it probably has to do with culture shock and adjusting expectations. I've also got this theory about alternate universes...

With the delish pine nuts my lovely, amazing parents sent, last night we made some homemade pesto and homemade gnocchi. What fun, how easy but time consuming, how delicious, what a mess. Also got a killer deal on some expired Edam, more than 50% off, not even a spot of mold. Thanks for the tip, Nura.

I've been feeling off and on mad homesick, but it is strange because I think most of the things I am homesick for are more from the past than from home. I would miss them even if I was aux Etats-Unis. There continues to be a wealth of things I spend a lot of time thinking about that I entirely fail to understand. Time does not equal comprehension. Luckily I have some really great friends who let me ramble on and on and on about every thing that crosses my mind.

So we did end up reading through about 14 of the young scholars applications. That America-centric part of my brain was surprised more people didn't say the U.S. when asked where they would live if they could choose. More than half said Cameroon, with some Canada, France, Germany thrown in.

I think the most shocking thing I read was in response to the question, what do you do to contribute to the development of your community? One student listed a lot of things, including that they don't practice homosexuality. What a totally different world!

Anyway. Hope all is well where you are.