Friday, August 6, 2010

The Village

>> Alright. I wrote this blog post a week ago and the Sierra Leone internet ate it. It was hungry and I decided to be a humanitarian and allow it. But now I have to write it again. My village is awesome. (1) The village has a multitude of shops and stalls and plenty of places to buy almost anything I'll need. "Weird" things, like toilet paper or ketchup or salt/pepper or potatoes or beans, etc. would be from Makeni, 22 miles to the south. However, you don't go through a bottle of ketchup in a day, so hopefully those trips would be few and far between. (2) My principal is amazing. He's very progressive, against corporal punishment, pushing for solar power at his school, and open-minded to almost any topic although when I mentioned my membership with the ASPCA and that my dog sometimes sleeps on my bed, he scoffed. Maybe someday. (3) My house is beautiful. The house has six rooms, four of which are habitable, the other two are not finished and won't be while I'm there. Most Peace Corps houses only have two rooms. I have a well five feet from my porch and two shower drains/two latrines in the back. Some people have to walk to the center of their village to get water. I have to barely step off my porch. The house is brand-new. No one has lived in it yet. I am the first. Now, downsides. The village is a pain in the tush to get to. From Bo, it is AT LEAST a 4 hour ride to Makeni. It's 82 miles. In America, on I-57, from Champaign to home, I did 82 miles in about an hour, give or take a police officer in the median. Here, 82 miles takes AT LEAST four hours, and that's just to Makeni. Once in Makeni, you have to wait for another vehicle and then THAT journey takes AT LEAST another hour and a half if not two hours. The first day, leaving Bo around 9:30 AM, I arrived in Gbendembu around 5:30 PM. That's one LONG and PAINFUL day. So, the village, once you're there and not in a poda-poda (a stretch E-350 van with AT LEAST 18 people in it) is great. Getting there is hell.

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