Sunday, October 30, 2011

developments in development

>> see what i did there? clever. so, now that we're past me being pathetic for that expansive amount of time, let's get some work done. work will be starting on a staff quarters near my house that will be built to a design i drew and hopefully be the residence of the next peace corps volunteer. also commencing will be smaller projects at four neighboring schools, ranging from a new roof, a new latrine, a new building, and some physics supplies! let's get it done. i'll be back in freetown perhaps next weekend but maybe not for awhile? then thanksgiving in lunsar with some good friends, then its suddenly december.. then its suddenly 2012.. does anyone else think this is going by quickly? it also makes me think when i realize that this is halloween weekend and my friends are organizing and watching 'halloween' (THE best scary movie, period.) and probably beginning to get cold.. while here in sierra leone it continues to be.. the same. sigh. anyway. yes. i love and miss you all :)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

one of those things

>> so emotional stability is not a strong suit of most volunteers.. we're on our malaria medicine, constantly stressed, tired, dehydrated, grumpy, hormonal, etc., and often times lash out at others or wish we had, then doubt it later, you get my point. since my return from america, i've been struggling to get my feet under me, and i don't know whether it was simply tasting home again, or the feeling that now my return is impending, that the future is there and is suddenly only nine months away and not this massively large time away. but i'm making excuses. i made some mistakes. and i've taken the blame, and mended the bridges i'd broken. there's still two bridges i'm working on, but again, rambling. in conclusion, i feel like now, without boils on my feet, rabies, and revelry in freetown that left me emotional, that i'm back. that i'm centered, and focused. i realize that sounds cliche and a little foolish, but it's the truth. i now recognize the time left here is finite, that i have work to get done and people to spend my time with because in all too short a time, this will be in the past. i love and miss you all :)

Friday, October 21, 2011


>> so i'm not in freetown, but i posted this ahead. i turn 24 today,.. and last year we had a large party at my house where maybe sixty people came, (and some stuff was stolen) but it was a great time. i'm planning to have a smaller affair this year, but we'll see what happens in the end. i have found that it is on bigger days, like birthdays, thanksgiving, christmas, that the homesick factor increases, so just know that i'm thinking of home today and wishing i could celebrate it with you all. makes october 21, 2012 sound pretty amazing already, right? i love and miss you all.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

the relationship between man and dog

>> justice, my best friend foday's dog, died in my parlor. he had been sleeping there nearly all day long, would go outside to use the bathroom and come back inside and sleep in the exact same spot. it was a particularly dark night for both of us, foday holding justice in his arms and crying, me next to him rubbing his back and trying not to do the same. but our relationship with dogs is unique in our village, perhaps in sierra leone. the majority conception here a simple one, that a dog provides security. you give dogs food, and the dog will protect you to ensure that it continues to receive food. i believe that this is true, but that it betrays a critical element, that of affection. justice does not wag his tail and bark happily, tink does not run at full speed down a road, queen does not whine at the front door until i let him in because they are hungry. they care about me / us the same way that we care about them. when i see cruelty against animals, as i have been seeing since my arrival here, it pains me, but i have come to accept that i cannot change it and that my only outlet is to treat my dogs the way i wish all of them were treated here. i feed them, give them attention, and recognize that they are more than security, that they are family. thank you, justice. i love and miss you all.

Monday, October 10, 2011

what makes a volunteer

>> i've been pondering, since there's not much else i can do. i thought about getting some water, but that means limping into the kitchen here and i don't have that kind of willpower right now. so, yes, pondering. what makes a good volunteer? i believe that yes, it requires the omnipresent flexibility, the ability to look at a situation in the process of disintegrating and to not get angry but swallow that, smile, and adapt. (example: when my doctor changed my plans for me, i could have gotten upset, and did, but that anger wouldn't have helped anything, so i changed my plans, adapted, and everything is working out). i also believe there has to be a certain amount of humility, to go into every situation, regardless of personal opinion, and appear interested and open (example: oh of course i'd love to stand and talk about your lack of funding for cooking dinner tonight even though yesterday you were yelling at me for not learning your language. of course! i'd love to talk :) but i also feel that a good volunteer has to have that snap point, that point at which they have had it. for some volunteers, it happens sooner than for others, and for some, when they are unable to walk, it comes up really quickly (example: men in lorry park harassing me about the price of things, telling me it should cost 50K when the real price should be between 5-10K, me trying to bargain, being laughed at for limping, and snapping. the price was settled at 25K, still ridiculous, but half of what they originally wanted. win? grrrr). so yes, what else? when you want to go to the bathroom, you're okay with going outside into the rain to get there, okay with cockroaches scurrying when you lift off the cover of your latrine, thunder and lightning that rattles your skull, snakes in the long grass, palm wine in your stomach, and a dreamy smile on your face? perhaps this is the beginning of dementia. i love and miss you all :)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

you're pushing me

>> i'm not just going to complain, i promise. it all starts with my dog. there was those concerns about rabies, which led to me hurrying through freetown to get to my doctor before hours ended, which resulted in two minor blisters on my feet. these went away, i didn't have rabies, the blisters went away, but on my departure from freetown a taxi dragged me (and my foot) along the asphalt resulting in some nice bloody wounds on my right foot. so, arriving back in gbendembu, i wore a shoe on the left foot and a sandal on the right to facilitate its healing. this resulted in the blister on my left foot coming back. it then, by chance (africa) became a boil inside a blister inside a nightmare. the pain from this was incredible - i don't think i slept more than six hours over three nights, and finally called my doctor (since our doctor is on well-deserved vacation) who suggested i come to freetown. i truly appreciated sierra leoneans laughing at me while i limped from vehicle to vehicle. truly. i also appreciate you charging me double even though you can clearly see i am in pain. i REALLY appreciate that. especially after having lived here for 16+ months. i finally got here to freetown, and was told there's nothing that can really be done. i was given painkillers so i could sleep (and sleep i did :) and we're starting a new day here. with the problems of september, and now my inability to.. walk.. i'd really appreciate a break. you're pushing me, sierra leone. i love and miss you all.