Malawi Trip Tracker

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Tionana Malawi

i cannot believe it... i am out of malawi. to be more exact, i am in the kenya airport about 10 hours into my 36 hour trip home. it doesn't feel real, perhaps because it felt so painfully real up to today. it was very difficult to leave; after taking so long to settle and starting to seed strong friendships, it just came to quickly. and i suppose in departures, one realizes that she did not take full advantage of time, place and people.

but no regrets about going to malawi! the year professionally was all and much, much more than i had anticipated. i know so much more about where biostats fits into the bigger picture, and as a result, have a much better idea about where i fit into the picture. and i feel loads more confident and comfortable than i did 12 months ago. (now if i can just maintain this). and my colleagues and counterparts couldn't have been more engaging and responsive. wow.

and on a personal level, there are no regrets. i have been able to find my place in it all again, step away from the hectic US and remember who i am and what i am. suppose that sounds cryptic (unintentional), but i think many will know where this comes from. and i have felt so loved here. the troops came out to celebrate my time here and say their farewells - 21 people for a weekend at the lake, 3 family dinners, an open house that pulled about 30 folks. it was lovely. and the most WONDERFUL part of this is that every one of them is amazing - committed, kind, worldly, inspiring.

but as i transition out, i feel so lucky (ondinelago, shili shili) that i have i am returning to a whole lot of committed, kind, worldly, inspiring folks. my roommate put me on the plane today with the words "i am now turning you over to your boston support group". wow. how is this my life?

so photos to come from all the final festivities, and to all of you tionana (see you later)- either in malawi or in us or namibia or germany or .....................

Friday, August 03, 2007

Kasitu Update

I am headed back to kasitu tomorrow, and realized that i have not even updated from the last big events....

so ali's visit to malawi was incredibly successful on a personal (see below) and professional level. not surprising, ali was very well received in kasitu, she seems to function so comfortably in about every environment, and i have seen ali in alot of environments! and i think all of us involved are so impressed by the level of commitment and excitement.

ali arrived in malawi on a thursday, and crunched between our dinners with friends, my work, nights out, we somehow managed to squeeze in chitenge and supply shopping. i promise you, and those of you who have lived anywhere in africa can sympathize - this is not a straight forward process. then ali left for kasitu on the following tuesday, and thankfully, nellie was able to take a week off of work to join her. this helped ease the transition, but also allowed nellie time to set up other aspects of the kasitu foundation - registering with the district, setting up with the traditional leader, etc.

i showed up four days later and was so impressed with what i found - first, they had really picked up a great range of skills in the three weeks of training with the local training. and then, they seemed to really pick-up the patterning and designs that ali had brought, not only picked them up, but already by the end of the week, they were adapting them and making them there own. it was really fantastic (not to mention a very enjoyable village stay!).

and the group dynamic was so nice - every time i peaked in, there was a good spirit of working together, improving, helping each other - which is great considering the eight folks involved are different ages, gender, hold different positions in the community.

ali and i also stopped by to visit three days later to see how everything was progressing, answer any outstanding questions, and they were moving right along. their products aren't perfect, but pretty darn close considering they have only been sewing for a month! and i have to say, there is something a bit sweet, real, about an imperfection.

so i am headed back for a few hours tomorrow to pick up our first order, to answer any questions, deliver the next round of supplies. we have put a lot of thought into the way to set up this group in a sustainable, so we will buy the things and take some of the money and put it right back into supplies and giving the rest to them for their families. i am just guessing how this should work, but no other way to learn than trial and error i suppose. i cannot wait to see the new stuff, and will be sure to pass along photos to you when i do.

wishing everyone well!

Many Thanks to these friends of Kasitu! Ami Zota; Alice Hedt; Marcello and Phyllis Pagano; Pastor Anthony and Grace Lutheran Church; Venu Ghanta; Marlene Smurzynski; Bill Sayles and Kathleen Daly; Jessica Hartman; Patrick and Melissa Loerch; Lane Dilg; Miriam Nuno and Jamie Bugni; Connie & Elliot Beal; Dan & Michelle Waterman; Xavier and Mercedes Basagana; Michael Tsung; Kenneth and Kathryn Rice; Mary Evans; Kathleen Levedz; Dave & Karen Fardo; Dave Keegan; Nedralka Douptchea; Sadhna Patel ; Jellena Follweiler; Richard Poulin; Carol Murray; Heuke Maatz; Jesse Perreault; Eric Smallwood; Heather Hagerty; Douglas Marsden; Etena Gonzalez; Jeff Ramsey; Sachiko Miyata; Jim Helms and the Keystone Club; Meghan McInerney; Jeniifer Linnane; Jona Maiorano; John and Karen Covington; Nancy Sabo; Michael and Cynthia Sikorski; Helen Coelho; Patrick St. Clair; Martin Aryee

Monday, July 30, 2007


while i am very happy to be coming home; to soon see family and friends; to soon eat good food, listen to good music; to soon be a consumer, watch a movie; today i woke up very sad to be leaving malawi.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Get comfy...

'cause i think that this is going to be a long one. At least, it needs to be, but to be honest i am entering my 12th hour straight in front of this blasted computer, and well, we will see what i can squeeze out.

first, i should say, that i am really good. it may not sound like it from this email, but i AM good. these last few weeks, i have had some real success in my life - both personal and professional, and that feels great. but i am sure you will be able to tell from the email that i am also a bit frantic, stressed, overwhelmed. but hey, who wouldn't be in my position?

so Ali was here, and now she is gone, continuing her adventures in tanzania. it was awesome to have her here... first of all, she has to be one of the most flexible people i have ever met. Ali, we are doing this - "eh, whatever..."; Ali, our plans are changing for the 1,264th time - "eh, whatever..."; Ali, we have to drive 40 hours today - "eh, whatever...". it made her visit so easy. only tough thing was that i was a bit in an "eh, whatever..." mood myself, so it did take us a while to figure out what we would do. but we came up with the perfect itinerary. 1. (overnight and) pick her up in kasitu (more on that later) 2. drive, drive, drive (3.5 hours) back to LLW to see, gasp, HUGH MASAKELA live in concert under the african sky. i cried. i'm cheesy, and i cried i was so moved. 3. drive, drive drive (4 hours, back through kasitu) to stay at Nkhata Bay (the northern part of lake malawi) 4. drive, drive, drive (3 hours) to Luwawa Forrest Lodge 5. walk, walk, walk (3 days) back to the lake, in order to 6. drive, drive, drive (3 hours) back to the airport.

so more on 3 and 5. Nkhata Bay - we stayed at this cool backpackers. total hippy joint, and beautiful. it was built into the mountainside, and so no matter where you sat, you had a great view of the lake. and i love the lake. but well, it was perfect, but i don't know if i need to go there again. part of it was that NB is loud but not bustling. so i am willing to go to a loud place if it is full of things to do, people to see, and most importantly, places to eat. but this was not NB; it was just loud. and then i wasn't sleeping well... there was something about our place that just didn't settle quite right with me. maybe it was the dog that climbed through our window in the middle of the night, or the mosquito that kept getting trapped in our net instead of out. but stunning, and fun peoples, and so am glad that i went at least once.

and the hike was great. but long. about 22 km on day one and the same on day two, and probably 15 on the last day. the views were unbelievable, especially on the first day and a half when we were on the plateau and could see literally forever! the first night, we counted at least 10 satellites in the starry sky; the second night had the most beautiful sunset. the bizarre bit was that there was NO wildlife. there was some evidence of wildlife - scattered bird feathers, porcupine quills atop an old fire mound - that indicated what wildlife was there was being quickly hunted. but we did meet some poachers who were surprisingly enthusiastic about having their photos taken. huh? we made it to the end, but i am not going to lie, it was physically tough for me (porters and all). Ali wins the trooper of the year award, because she hiked the last day with a nasty cold. she didn't complain once, just got real quiet.

so now she is gone, and i am back to my crazy life. i have been working very hard, but also playing quite hard, and thankful that most of the time i can work hard and enjoy it enough that it almost feels like playing. this past weekend, i spent saturday morning with a good girlfriend getting pedi's and massages - she really needed to be spoiled, and i hated to abandon her there! and then a lovely afternoon (full of several fantastic conversations) at the dam. then a fun night out with ann. sunday, i slept in late (8am), spent time just being, finished editing a paper i got ages ago, spent some one on one time with my favorite fella - my cute godson Jo, and then dinner with some colleagues. i guess i am trying to make the most of it while i can. and i am really trying not live one foot in and one out of malawi. this is home for now.

ok, i have hit my computer limit. so more on kasitu and tiwale cultural group another time. but know that they are both progressing VERY well.


Wednesday, July 04, 2007

sometimes, it ain't easy

i have fooled myself into believing that living in malawi is easy, that i am 100% comfortable, 100% at ease. that perhaps, malawi is becoming home. but it takes about 15 minutes of running errands to send me all into a tizzy of confusion, frustration, annoyance. that is 15 minutes in a 4 hour adventure....

so today is 4th of july, which is great - i get the day off while the rest of malawi "works", so this provides a perfect opportunity to get things done that are impossible otherwise. and it is great the the 4th comes after the 3rd because on the 3rd i was stopped by the police who discovered that one of my stickers (my "certificate of fitness") on my car was expired. THAT is a story, but one that i will not blog about...

so i needed to renew that sticker, take a sewing machine in for repairs, stop by the post office, buy some chipatis. simple.

not simple, not ever. get to the road traffic authority, and nothing is labeled. but finally figure out where to go, pay my money and then find out that mr gondwe is not in and so i can either go to the really chaotic office or wait for an hour. so i try my luck at the chaotic one, and it REALLY is chaotic - people everywhere, pushy hawkers trying to sell windshield wipers, and not one single sign. so then i figure it out again where to go, only to find a line of 9 cars waiting to be inspected, and not a single person around to help. so i leave to the fabric store. and the traffic causes the 2km trip to take 20 minutes. maybe it would be more pleasant if there wasn't so much smog and exhaust. cough, cough. get there, and of course the simple repair could take as long as three days - who knows why. no really WHO knows why? so then back to the first road traffic office, because at this point an hour has passed and maybe mr. gondwe is back. and he is back. actually, he was both nice and competent AND didn't need any extra "persuasion" to help me get a certificate of fitness. post office and chapattis, fairly straight forward except for the hawkers, fighting for parking, the fact that the post office was out of the larger denom stamps, and so all of my letters required at least, i kid you not, 40 stamps. four hours later, i realized that i wasn't breathing...

after all of that, i did go to the ambassadors for a 4th cocktail lunch party. it is pretty great to live in a country so small that when you attend these, you meet the who's who of malawi. chatted with the deputy speaker of parliament, toasted with the head of the malawi broadcasting station....

and then, i FINALLY made it to the office, and am making the tiniest dent in all of the stuff that i need to do.

ali is here!!!!! actually, right now, Ali is in the village! and apparently doing really well. oh, so many stories with her visit already, and an update about a drum/dance workshop that i organized, but i am late for an appointment with a tailor (who probably won't even be there when i show up)! ciao!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Remember Rwanda

Home safe, home exhausted, thankful to be home, but so glad that i went. all in all, it was an amazing trip. the conference - an HIV implementers' conference - was so interesting. 1500 people from over 30 countries, 100's of different partner agencies, and different jobs, all working on HIV work from a practical, mostly hands on perspective. it was inspiring, and i learned alot - new ideas and approaches to try out here. at the same time, it was also an opportunity to identify real gaps in our efforts... the most staggering fact - for every one person put on treatment, six new people are infected. yikes. so much to do, so much to do!

and my presentation, on evaluation tools to assess the feasibility of an electronic system, was very well received. i have never had the experience of so many people approaching me after a presentation, asking for more info, a copy of the slides, help for their projects. and this went on for days after the presentation. it was really nice, reassuring!

and the conference was fantastic for catching up with old friends, and making new! the best was reuniting with three other asph fellows and hearing about their experiences. if it is possible to have four completely different experiences, then that is us. the worst, was having our last time with our full strategic information team all together. mindy's last day was last week and john's is in two weeks from now. already the office seems quiet (well the fact that they are leaving and two others are on a month home leave... we are only an office 12!).

and at the end of the conference, i took three days to explore. two of those were day trips with mindy, karen, and karen's son, chet. we went first to a small town on the lake, and then to butare (near berundi). nothing terribly exciting, but completely amazing because it was so new and different. rwanda is beautiful - rolling hills, very green, super clean. we went to several national museums, the lake, a local market (where sweet baby chet was excitedly passed from woman to woman).

but all of the amazingness was punctuated with pangs of sadness brought on by plethora of memorials to the genocides of 1994. probably every thirty minutes we would pass another. and not just memorials, but mass graves of 10 - 100 THOUSAND people. it is completely unbelievable to me. i cannot believe that people can be so mean, cruel, evil. i cannot believe that things like this can happen while the world sits complacent. and i cannot believe that all of this is in the past. it must be too painful to forget. yet people move on, at least they try.

i spent the last day on my own at the genocide memorial. it is something that i will never forget, and hope that my recounting the experience will help you share in the experience. first of all, the memorial is at a mass grave, filled with bodies of people killed in the capital city alone. over 258,000 people are buried there now. and there are still bodies coming in - a family of 12 were burried the day before i went to the museum. the grounds have a series of large graves, covered with cement. each grave has about 200 coffins, each coffin has the remains of about 50 people. it is nothing short of shocking. but then around the graves are beautiful gardens, with chairs for meditating, reflecting.

the actual memorial is a circular building with only two floors. the bottom floor is focused on Rwanda - the history up to the genocide, the brutal events of the killings, the aftermath and attempts to heal. it is important to note that this was punctuated with stories of survival and sacrifice, that help preserve hope in the ickiness. the top floor is two exhibits - the first recounts about 10 genocides that have happened in the last century. it is overwhelming to think that rwanda is not the first, nor is it the last (darfur!), and that this somehow continues to happen. the second exhibit was very simple. each room had about 4 enlarged photos of a child. under each photo is a plaque listing the child's name, age, their favorite food, their best friend's name, and how they were killed in the genocide.

i don't write this to shock anyone, i write so that i don't forget and that you don't forget. while it certainly affects me in a saddening way, i hope that this experience will lead me to be more proactive. i don't like to think that people can be so awful, but it is this denial that often allows acts like this to happen before we can react.
so, visit rwanda. it is amazing, both for good and for bad. i hope to go back....

Monday, June 11, 2007

A CBO is born!

after a very successful (and touching) first round of fundraising, Nellie, Mac (Nellie's husband), Angela (another board member) and i went to Kasitu to inform the community about the planned activities. Nellie had already informed the traditional authority, but we needed to meet with the community and select the individuals involved in the sewing project.

after a pleasant (but long) 4 hour drive to kasitu, we arrived to, well, no one. this shouldn't be surprising to anyone, certainly not me. this is africa, and africa time was in full affect. after an hour of people drifting in, we started the meeting with about 70 people in attendance. Nellie led the meeting informing about the plans for the foundation in general and the sewing project in particular.

the whole experience was trasnlated for me, and from what i could gather, people are very excited about the project! infact, we had more people interested to join the sewing project than we thought would be managable, so we went through a fascinating community consensus process and narrowed it down to eight people - four men, four women, and a representation from the four villages in the TA. these eight people will take basic sewing courses from the local tailor for the next three weeks so that they will be ready for Ali when she arrives.

i am so pleased at how this project is progressing! and thankful for the overwhleming support. i will continue to keep you posted!

rwanda or bust

i leave this afternoon for Rwanda for an HIV Implementers Meeting. am VERY excited - the conference is set up to be a best practice workshop highlighting successes from around the world. it should be a fantastic opportunity to learn and hopefully bring back new ideas to malawi.

all is well here. i am finally well (-ish, probably about 90%), after fighting a nasty cold for two weeks. but work stops for no cold, especially since our office is undergoing a huge transition!

i did manage to get in a fantastic hike a few weeks back; it felt so good to be outside, and the nature reserve that we were in was so peaceful.

i need more days like that. i don't expect Rwanda to be that, in fact, i think that it will be a zoo (more people coming then there are hotel rooms!). but zoos are good too... keeps me on my toes.

tu anana, b

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Friends of Kasitu - a chance to make a difference in malawi

Kasitu Foundation is a new grassroots NGO in Malawi. It is formed by the people of Kasitu village in a remote district of Nkhotakota. It exists to fight HIV/AIDS through economic empowerment, health education and facilitating access to care for those infected and affected by HIV. The community has high HIV/AIDS prevalence and has experienced high mortality rates in recent years. However, the NGO is struggling to take form due to lack of resources, and would like to include an income generating project to subsidize their activities.

In July, my friend Ali Maiorano will visit and spend some time working with Kasitu Foundation. Ali, a talented artist and designer, will work with a handful of women from Kasitu on marketable sewing projects that use the beautiful, colourful and locally available chitenges. The project is not finalized, but some ideas include baby blankets, wall hangings, table runners or satchel bags. Prototypes will be sent to local tourist shops and the foundation will continue to make and sell the items in order to support their HIV work.

This an incredible opportunity for both Ali and Kasitu Foundation, and also for us. The start up costs are minimal (approximately $800) after which the foundation will sustain their own supplies through their profits. By making a small donation, your efforts can snowball into a long term project that affects many people.

Any and all donations are accepted – including words of support. If you are interested to make a monetary donation, please send a check to my mom, Alice Hedt, at the address below. She will deposit into my account and I will draw the moneys from Malawi. Please make checks to Bethany Hedt, with "Kasitu Foundation" on the subject line.

Alice Hedt
Attn: Kasitu Foundation
4100 Elsie Ct.
Landover Hills, MD 20784

(Please note that Kasitu Foundation does not have non-profit status in the US and so donations are greatly appreciated, but not tax deductible.)
I have included some photos from my visit to Kasitu for New Years and also of my wonderful friend Ali. Please email if you have more questions (
Zikomo! b

mental (health) day

my mom taught me well.... when the going gets tough, the tough take a morning off of work and try and get their life back in order. alas, i find myself in a mental health morning (couldn't manage the whole day off) trying to catch up on life. trying to re-establish myself with friends and family - i am even neglecting my malawi friends. oh, and pay bills.

but other than the super long hours - more days than not working past 10pm. more days than not coming to the office before 6am - i am a super satisfied. my work is challenging, stimulating and productive (no small feat for africa!). several of my "projects" are charging forward. i have facilitated the debut of our electronic data system for use in HIV treatment clinics, an activity 2 years in the making. and it didn't implode, even though i waited a little late to develop the materials (i refuse to publicly admit how late) because was consumed by something else. it was exciting, and i was proud to have a hand in it.

at the same time, our drug resistance monitoring projects move along. though i will say, i am AMAZED by the "politics" that can surround something so straight forward. and this is on all sides - malawi, US, geneva. but, blinders on, we are moving, and at the end of the day, getting both excellent results and excellent feedback.

and there is this and there is that, including a two week trip for a conference in rwanda, and its good. but we are also in a strange transition here. my closest work colleagues are both leaving between now and when i leave (which is only about 3 months away), which will result in CDC malawi loosing half of its technical staff (and all of its strategic info/surveillance/m&e/data pushing/nerdy staff). as last to go, i feel like my work scope will change a lot over the next bit.

anyways, i should keep this short, because at the same time as i post this, i am also posting a request for money. i am SOOOOO tacky. but i do it because i know yall tolerate me, tackiness and all.


Monday, April 30, 2007

So whats new?

I live in africa; i feel like i should always have the most fantastic postings here, full of advernture, humor, life lessons. well, i have quickly come to that time overseas where life just becomes life and there aren't so many extremes - so much confusion, so much learning, so much new.

now i wake up, i go to work, i hang out with friends, i go to bed with some type of variation on these simple themes. ok, maybe our guards beat a snake to death in our front yard, and yes, we have bats in our ceiling. oh, did i mention the termites... again. but other than that, life seems oddly and comfortably normal.

ann and i did host a wonderful african dance workshop at our house last weekend. i think that i have mentioned co-teaching an african dance class in lilongwe (i still cannot say that with a straight face!) with Shombi, and his group of 12 came to our house and led a workshop with about 8 of our friends. it was a beautiful exchange, not to mention the perfect day outside!

so please don't find me boring. i will try to eat something gross in the next few weeks to spice it up for you! keep you coming back. until then.....

ps - isn't my yard so beautiful!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Home sweet home

it did not hit me, until i was in namibia, how much i truly needed a vacation. i slept on the flight to Namibia (and for those of you who know my phobia, you know how tough that is!), then slept the entire 8 hour minibus to the north, and then slept 9-11 hours per night for my first week there. i feel so much better.

the entire trip was fantastic. i was really touched to see everyone, and to know that although it has been some time, they still care alot for me. a few people had been touched by hardship over the past few years, but overall, the news and updates were full of joy. people seemed happy and generally healthy.

and i guess the same could be said for me, at least so everyone said. "oh, nelago, you are soooo fat." "meme, you must be very happy in malawi, because you are soooo fat." "nelly, i know that you are in there somewhere." a whole range of creative ways to tell me that, alas, i am no longer the fit 23 year old, but the "happy" (and healthy!) 30 year old.

seven months into malawi, and i LOVE being here. i love my work. i love my colleagues and friends. i love the weather. ok, the bugs and funky diseases stink. but ignoring that, this place is fantastic. but it is not home. it is confusing and overwhelming and sometimes isolating. i think that it is 40% the amount of time i spend working, 40% the general isolation i have from the "village" experience of peace corps and 40% the fact that i have been here less than a year. (hehe, i like numbers). but it is not home. not yet. not ever(?).

namibia is home. its one of my many homes. concord is home, chapel hill, boston. i even claim asheville and DC, though i have never really lived in the two. so it was great to be home, to be comfortable, to be fat and happy. even though it cost me a bazillion dollars to get there, it was worth every kwatcha.

since many of you don't know meme and tate and martin and linda and natinda and auguste and pastor ihambo and raina and the clown troop and simon and ndalila, i will leave more detailed updates for personal emails. for those of you who do, they are all greeting you too much, as am i.

ondi ku hole unene, unene. kala po nawa.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

i'm going home (-ish)!

i need a holiday. i deserve a holiday! i am going on holiday! i head to namibia bright and early tomorrow for a two week trip. it should be fantastic. i lived there for 3.5 years, and its been nearly four since i left. i don't plan to do anything except sit under a tree and eat lots of goat. yummy!

i don't know what to expect. i know that things in namibia change so rapidly - a function of both development and disease. that sounds odd, and is difficult to explain. but true. and i know that i have changed so much, the product of the challenges of grad school, the joys and strains of relationships, the newness of life in malawi. i wonder what i will be like there, how i will be received. i anticipate nothing short of a wonderful, moving experience - i just have no expectation of what that is!

i would say that i will be more out of touch than usual, but feel like i have been out of touch anyways. so, as usual, i will be out touch. but hope to come back with a fun update of adventures from my home away from home.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Name that fruit...

Ok, just to spice the blog up a bit, we are going play a fun game of name that fruit. The first person to email ( me the correct name of this fruit will receive a hand written letter and a little malawian goodie, within the week of the response.

so here are some (not so) helpful clues... my roommate bought it from someone selling it on the side of the road for about $1.50 (probably really worth $.20). it smells and tastes very sweet and is a tad sticky (ours wasn't too bad, but heard that can be). its huge, very heavy, and a "prickly" surface, without it being painful to the touch.

ok, back to work. kisses, b

Monday, March 05, 2007

Huh? Did someone say something?

i can't hear!?! ok, i can partially hear, but i went swimming in the lake yesterday, and now my left ear is completely clogged. and on top of driving myself crazy, i think my roomie is going nuts having to yell to get my attention. not the first time someone has had to yell to get my attention, but the first time i can attribute this to loss of hearing. i've got some icky smelling drops in my ear now. if that doesn't work, then its back to the doctor for me!

malawi continues to be wonderful, in a very busy, exhausting kind of way. i enjoyed my time on the road with two great women (Nellie and Kundai) who continue to become better and better friends. overall, our site visits went very well, and the first days of sample collection are off to a successful start.

now, back in LLW, i am trying to catch up with the work that didn't stop while i was away and with people who have been as on the go (if not more than) as me. on top of the work (that i am sure you are tired of me whining about), i've been enjoying other comings and goings - we hosted a ladies cocktail hour on friday. so nice and relaxing, about 15 women from all different types of work and family situations, sitting around chatting about anything and everything. saturday i did nothing, absolutely 100% nothing, until 7pm, when i went to b-day party. yesterday was the lake, just for a few hours, but much needed. i realize that i need a vacation, but actually taking two weekend days all to myself has helped.

and i continue to enjoy the garden, which per my mom's request, i have photos included here.

and in case you have tried to call me lately, well the phone lines (for one company that carries most of the plans) are out in Malawi, for the foreseeable future. probably for the best, since i cannot hear anything.