26 October 2008

The year of the potato and new classes

Hello again, 
It's raining once again here so I will be spending the day reading for next week in my apartment.  My classes this period are sociological theory of rural transformation (a course on the history of sociological thought on agricultural development), research methodologies (a course about how to formulate a thesis project and how to collect and analyze data), and thesis path (a general course on the thesis process).  The rural transformations class should be interesting although there may be some overlap between it and a course I took last period.  I will also be attending a few courses without credit (sustainable livestock systems, integrated natural resource management in organic agriculture, and cooperative management).  
Yesterday a friend and I took a train to Den Haag for the day.  We mostly just walked around town but we also went to a film called Hunger which is about a hunger strike to gain political prisoner status for the Irish Republican Army and we went to the Communication museum.  We didn't go to the Escher museum because it was so expensive.  Lunch was Lebanese and dinner was Greek, though almost was Ethiopian.  We stopped by an Ethiopian restaraunt and immediately everyone set down their silverwear and stopped their converstation to stare at us.  The server approached us and told us that she couldn't serve us because she had to go and that we should go to her friend's restaurant next door.  She was kindly enough to give us her card so that we could test our luck next time we're in town.  It was really strange. 
I also read a nice article in the NY Times this morning about the growing use of potatoes as food aid and its growing production in developing countries.  2008 is the year of the potato in an effort to increase its production in developing countries (it requires little water, grows in poor soils, produces more protein per acre than wheat, and is very healthy).  The campaign is especially prominant in Andean countries because of the relation of the potato to their heritage (the potato was domesticated in Peru and was a staple of the Incas before it was replaced by the conquistadors with wheat and barley).
Anyways, I should return to my reading.  
Cheers, Andrew

1 comment:

  1. Hey there Andrew and Amanda,

    Yes, I agree potato should be cultivated more as a staple, especially in Asia! When the price of rice tripled about 6 months ago here in Cambodia, I tried asking the Cambodian staff to switch to potato, but they refused, saying "We Cambodians get sick if we don't eat rice."

    Sweet potato grows especially well in this climate. We've got some in our garden and my parents told me during the Second World War when the Japanese conquered Singapore, they ate a lot of sweet potato leaves.

    Yay to the potato!