Saturday, July 23, 2011

going out in style

>> so, we decided to go out in style here in freetown. the events with the 'friends of sierra leone' were all class affairs, meetings with dignitaries and officials, good food, good conversation. i said it in a previous post, but my opinion of this group has skyrocketed. we spent an evening with a friend at his apartment in freetown, were treated to ice cold cranberry and vodka, chocolate chip cookies, and his opulent space. amazing. finally, last night, we were invited to a private party at a nearby apartment complex. to give you an idea of how surreal this was, the following were in attendance: champagne, cheez-its, bbq chicken, exotic dips, lemon squares, chocolate pecan cake, ice-cold beer, hot dogs, pasta salad, a large swimming pool, white wine, red wine, ice cubes, etc. the afternoon was spent relaxing, eating, and talking (as we were given a lot of attention, peace corps volunteers looking clean? and articulate? and that we were.), and the party began to die down. we retreated inside to the amazing leather couches only to have one of the other guests run inside to inform us that we were all going swimming. now. in our clothes. we moved to the pool, skeptical. it only took a few moments of contemplation for me to realize that the chances of me again having the option to swim in a swimming pool with these people, in sierra leone, after an afternoon of partying, was pretty much nil. off with the shorts and shirt. into the pool. the following hours were spent lazily swimming around, games of 'marco polo,' etc., and generally being amazed at our lives. it began to rain (of course), and when it threatened to get bad, we dressed and made our way home in time for our peace corps curfew. absolutely amazing, and absolutely not likely to happen again anytime soon :) i love and miss you all.. and i will see you on monday :)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

anxious, yes.

>> so, i remain in freetown. i spent time with the 'friends of sierra leone' on monday and tuesday, and i'm glad i did- my opinion of them, made early in our training while still getting my bearing, was admittedly that they were perhaps just a *little* too enthusiastic about sierra leone. having been here a year, i've seen the things they said i would see, i've dealt with some of the problems they said i would deal with, and my opinion has generally improved. ive had numerous conversations with them in which we both -leveled- with each other, and it's been great. we had a reception at the ambassador's house on tuesday night, (still an amazing property), and generally got to schmooze and schmaltz the early evening away :) tonight, we have the closing reception and dinner for their visit. in conclusion, my opinion has changed, for the better. in other news, i'm ready to go home. i purpsosely came to freetown so that i would not be -dancing in place- in gbendembu, but now i find myself doing the same thing in freetown, granted it means internet, movies, and western food (kind of like a preamble to home, honestly). sound good? wait wait, it's africa. the giardia went on its merry way, but for whatever reason, i woke up yesterday incredibly nauseous and uncomfortable. (i think it's morning sickness). after vomiting and more diarrhea, yesterday was pretty much shot. so, today, thursday, i'm going to the dentist here in freetown (give me strength..) and then to the bank, then back to the hostel to relax on the veranda with a good book. or at least, that's the plan :) i love and miss you all.

Friday, July 15, 2011

lemme back up a bit

>> so i'm back in freetown. since we talked last, i've worked with the new trainees, finished teaching my first year of teaching biology in africa, turned in my grades, packed my bags for home, gotten giardia a second time, and arrived in freetown safely, driven in a Peace Corps vehicle, because they were going my way. the new trainees are knowledgeable, way more than we were at this point, which is intimidating / great. they're a little naive, but so were we when we first arrived; there's a lot of lessons they have yet to learn (and i do to...). finishing my first year of teaching was anticlimactic, since the students stopped really interacting for the last few weeks because they saw the summer vacation approaching (kinda the same as in an American classroom). i turned in my grades, which was not that bad, but working in the grades office was, (a HUGE headache),.. whereas in many classrooms in America we utilize these pretty computer-generated-software printouts of grades, in Africa it's all done by hand. my hand. i stayed until 4 AM one morning, came back at 6:30 AM, stayed until 3 PM, collapsed at home, came back, worked until dark and it was finished. a sizeable amount of work. with the school year done, i spent more time with foday and my village, which was great :) although large stinging ants decided that my shower is their new favorite rest stop. this was especially fun in the morning, naked, taking a bucket bath, and feeling my feet burning and prickling as they bit me. cut to me throwing boxers back on, resisting the urge to scream, running outside, seeing that the floor of the shower is in fact a small interstate of ants. i go and get foday, because i'm not man enough, and my feet hurt, and he came with one of the brooms and smacked, cleaned, and frustrated the ants. they left. i bathed. now i check the shower for ants. i had the, err, runs, but they got worse, much worse, and, grudgingly, i called laura (because i hate calling and saying 'laura, i'm pooping a lot') and we agreed it was indeed giardia again. superb. giardia is like diarrhea on steroids, so, yes, diarrhea + your body on fire + aches + cramps + incredible burps and other gaseous exchanges. it's fun! i packed my bags for home, and was informed a snake was in my latrine. apparently someone posted about my latrine on some social networking site, because everyone wants to go there now. the snake fell into the pit, what a terrible way to die, and life moves on. i went to makeni, collected some letters from trainees, and got a ride to freetown, and here we are. all caught up? :) i love and miss you all.