Saturday, June 4, 2011

the one year anniversary

>> i'm a little flabbergasted that it has been one year since i stepped off the plane at lungi into the sweltering heat and humidity and began this ridiculous beautiful chaos of an adventure. the next group of volunteers arrived late on june 2nd, and i know they're going through something pretty similar right about now. i've learned a lot of things about sierra leone, about myself, about who i am, about who i am not, about what principles i am willing to bend on, about which principles i will fight for. i've made plenty of mistakes, I've gotten upset with people, i've walked out of classes, and I've been a bad volunteer. i've had students tell me the only reason they've stayed in gbendembu is because i'm their teacher. students tell me that i inspire them. i've had teachers tell me that they admire me. i've had neighbors, who can barely feed themselves, give me food when i was low on money (an aside, rice is now 1,500Le a cup and when i first arrived it was 500Le a cup,.. salaries haven't increased) when she didn't have to. i can't understand lucy's loko, she can't understand my english, and neither of us speaks good krio. but through a mix of pantomiming and smiling and HUMANITY, we have a friendship that honestly warms my heart. foday, with two children and a wife, buying the palm wine for me, getting my clothes from the tailor because he knew i was bankrupt, paying for it when his pockets are already empty. i've had phone conversations with my family where i asked, 'what am i doing here?' and other conversations that, without me realizing it, answered that very question. i've resented people, and i've been resented by people. i've been stopped by the police. i've had money and belongings stolen from me. i've had foday take my headphones, listen to the music i love, and smile at me and, without english or temne or anything, connect. it's hard for me to believe that i have been here a year. i love and miss you all, and i will see you july 25 :)

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