For the last six weeks or so, I’ve been in the Democratic Republic of Congo, volunteering with a project that is trying to develop a new national park in the east of the country. At the heart of my work was a three-week bike tour to villages near the proposed park, where we presented several short skits about conservation and forest health. This was undertaken with an amazing team of Congolese actors and fieldworkers, on a shoestring budget, as a sort of experiment to see what was possible in the format, whether the ideas would be effectively communicated, and to gather information about villagers’ states of mind about the park and their lives in general. I wrote the skits, found a couple of performers from a local radio station in the city of Kindu, and made a couple of masks to accompany one of the skits It was a fascinating time, a somewhat grueling journey by low-end steel bicycle on terrible roads to remote locations with no means to exchange information about the local and the larger world save oral communication, what travels from mouth to mouth as people pass from village to village. I’ve got a tumblr going where I’m posting a narrative of the experience, and you can check that out here. I’ll try to post some of my more explicitly political musings on the effort here on the Justseeds blog in the coming weeks.