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"Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place." Farrell Hochmuth in Zimbabwe at Epworth, Harare.


Mhoroi kubva ku Harare! (Greetings from Harare, in the Shona language), writes Farrell Hochmuth, a May 1997 graduate of Southampton College with a major in Environmental Studies, and a minor in Communications. Farrell is one of seven 1997 Fulbright grant recipients from Long Island University's Southampton Campus. Among the first students invloved in Dr. Herbert's Australia program, Farrell's adventures around the world continued through her Zimbabwean Fulbright grant.

Farrell arrived in Zimbabwe on January 26, 1998 for ten months of work at PELUM (Participatory Ecological Land Use Management). PELUM is an organization with members in east and southern Africa, and has approximately 80 members. The memberships provide a small amount of money, but most funds come from donors, mainly consisting of governmental and non- governmental European organizations. PELUM is run by the PELUM Association Regional Desk (PARD). When Farrell arrived, nine people worked at PARD, and she was the first intern invited to work with the organization.

"I decided that I wanted to come to Zimbabwe because there are some really innovative techniques being discovered and used there dealing with sustainable agriculture, water harvesting, grazing management, and community development. These are all areas which I am interested in. In the US, we have set standards on how things are done, so there are very little innovative techniques being used. You could say that American agriculture is "in a rut." So, I came here to discover these new techniques, and I hope to apply them when I get home," Farrell says.

"My main project while I am here is to help organize a college that offers long term training in sustainable agriculture and community development. We will take 20 students for the first program, which will run for two years starting [May, 1998]. This is a pilot program in the southern/eastern African region. Students will travel between 16 different organizations learning different subjects at each place. The organizations are made up of universities, non-governmental organizations, and governmental organizations. It has been dubbed "the college without walls." I am really excited to be a part of this project. I almost wish I could do college again!"

Farrell found not only her work on the PELUM project to be gratifying: she also enjoyed the chance to learn about and participate in the culture of Zimbabwe. Her enthusiastic letters to LIU faculty and friends clearly convey the essence of this unique experience.

  • 3/18/98 Letter - Farrell settles in...The Pelum Project...Different ways of Zimbabwean living...Home stay in a rural household
  • 4/28/98 Letter - Preparations for PELUM College students...Rock rabbits...Lake Chivero National Park horse safari...Amazing!
  • 5/31/98 Letter - Opening of PELUM College!..Tanzania and Zanzibar...Spice Tour...Prison Island
  • 6/7/98 Letter - Mana Pools...Cape Buffalo...Elephants and other Animals