Friday, August 27, 2010

Lots to Catch Up On

>> Quickly. The internet is far more difficult to get to now; instead of being 22 minutes away, it is now 22 miles away, a long ride in a vehicle without really *something* to do in Makeni besides checking e-mail an updating this blog. I will do my best. Don't hate me. My village is amazing. My house is beautiful and the people are especially welcoming especially my neighbor Foday who has basically walked me around the village and made my (already obvious) presence known, but now instead of me walking around and awkwardly saying 'hello' in up to six different languages (Limba, Loko, Themne, Fula, Krio, French, English..) Foday is by my side to make up for when I falter and to smooth over when I mess up. The village life is isolating, but also freeing- I have my own two-burner gas stove and I cook what I want when I want (I sound like the freshmen at college who gets an apartment for the first time) but it's honestly really great. Most of the volunteers (i.e. those that actually care) have stayed in touch and even visited, which has made the adjustment easier. I have to keep telling myself how far I've come and now how far I have to go. My parents will be visiting in early April, my friend Jessie's birthday is in two weeks, mine in six, etc. you see my point. Keeping something on the horizon helps the spells of lonliness pass (not that I get them much, please don't imagine me crying over my palm wine. Unless the palm wine is empty. Then yes, I'm crying. Then Foday brings over more palm wine and we turn on the radio, peel a cucumber, cut it up, add peppers and salts, and mix. It's delicious. Now I'm hungry.) My point is: I can see why some volunteers early-terminate once they get to their sites. Without someone to talk to, some sort of interaction, it can be very isolating. I understand that some people live their whole lives alone (and in very fulfilling ways) but these people are not surrounded by jungle, six foreign languages, and a delightful dog named Justice (Foday's dog). Okay, Justice might make things better :) I love and miss you all.


  1. Palm wine? I tried some and it was hit or miss. Sometimes it wasn't fermented long enough or too long and was nasty. One batch I tried was decent but not worth the risk of nastiness.

    That cucumber salad sounds good. :-)

  2. Aaahhhh Meeker how exciting!! I'm glad you have decent living conditions and a friend to help you integrate into the community. It's always better having someone there to help you along the way. Just know that I'm still SO PROUD of you and I that I think of you everyday :-)

    Your Wife

  3. Great to hear from you again, Meeker! I have never tried palm wine. You should bring some back with you!

    While, I am sure that the six foreign languages is daunting, that just sounds really cool to me. Are you using those on a daily basis? How fluent will you be by the end of your two years?

    Hope you keep doing well! It's always good to read your posts. Keep them coming.

    All the best,

  4. One of the beauties of living abroad and amongst a completely foreign element is that it is exactly this isolation that can give us as an individual so much more depth. Our 'loneliness' is simply the self going through the withdrawal of what is almost an addiction to relying on other people for a good deal of our happiness. Once we can find happiness in our own solitude, we can be forever happy - no matter who or what else surrounds us. True happiness comes from within... you are lucky to have the chance to find it!! ;)

  5. Hi Bryan,

    I'm an RPCV who was in Salone in 1981-1983 (working on an ag project in Moyamba District) and I'm really enjoying your blog! Thank you very much for writing it. What I really like about your blog is that you write very honestly about how things are going for you, and don't try to sugar-coat everything. I envy you your access to the internet, even if it is slow--I had to rely on snail mail and aerograms that only sometimes arrived. It sounds like things are going well for you and I hope it continues that way. Take care!

    -- Susan