Friday, July 27, 2012
Saturday, June 16, 2012
Friday, June 15, 2012
Thursday, June 14, 2012
Sunday, May 6, 2012
Thursday, May 3, 2012
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Thursday, April 12, 2012
Sunday, April 8, 2012
- my book was published! my parents called and while it was entirely anti-climactic to find out in the middle of the jungle (foday poured another cup of wine, it continued being hot, food kept being made) it was really exciting to finally be published! go to amazon.com and search for 'bryan meeker' and my novel pops right up!
- a man from guinea came to my normal watering hole and accused me of killing Muammar Gaddafi.. in traditional PC response, i smiled and nodded and laughed along, but the man got more and more serious and more and more angry, finally swearing out me and then my mother. about half a heartbeat after swearing out my mother, foday and sori and pa kandie were all on their feet and ready to beat the man senseless. the next thirty minutes was spent with him apologizing and my friends cooling down but it was a mixture of terrifying / encouraging / loving to see how quickly my friends came to my aid
- they've built a train line across my route to makeni to transport the iron ore and stuff but ive never seen the train and now, i've seen it! it was amazing!!! (i may have teared up a little because i'm pathetic) but it was a regular old train like you'd see in america pulling 93 cars of iron ore.. incredible.. it made the poda-poda shake it was so big..
- apparently i don't look american, so that's.. interesting. in the past few weeks i was asked if i am spanish because 'you look,.. you look somehow spanish..' and also 'are you dutch? you look.. you look dutch because you are calm and cooooool..' so there's that.
- i love going to the amvil restaurant next to the sierra leone commercial bank and went today but, it being the easter holiday weekend, it was closed, so i went across the street and ate with the locals to their surprise and shock.. i love doing that. yes, i can eat cassava leaf. yes, i can sit on an old wooden bench. no, it's not too hot for me,..etc.
i'm in town for the COS conference on monday and tuesday, so hopefully ill get to post again before heading back upline to the village! :)
Saturday, April 7, 2012
i jotted these down amidst cups of palm wine and hiding from the burning hot sun,..
- realizing that when you pull your bucket of water and there are red biting ants in it, that you're happy when most of them are dead and you can flick the alive ones out and move on with your bathing
- realizing that you're happy that when your friend returns home after having killed 'bush meat' and when you ask 'what kind?' he replies 'bush deer' and you are happy because it's your favorite, after all
- your water filter is pretty much a decoration - you now drink the same water as your neighbors from the same cups as your neighbors - your system has dealt with giardia twice and you never get diarrhea anymore; your body doesn't take anything from anyone anymore
- you yell at children for wearing their pants halfway down their butts, not going to school, or using phones at the school and the other villagers understand, agree, and scold the children too
- you get into a poda-poda and immediately let out a 'oooooOOOOoooo' because you note that it is, in fact, a new poda-poda and not the typical older model year version
- you greet someone in Themne and the driver (a Loko) looks over and says, 'You know more Themne than I do! You are really trying!"
- whilst getting into the backseat of a vehicle (four people across), the africans say, 'no no this man will not be comfortable, he must sit somewhere else!' and me saying 'pffft. let's go. i'm fine.' the driver shrugging, and the vehicle moving.
i love and miss you all.. (and ill think of more :)
Sunday, March 18, 2012
Saturday, March 17, 2012
Friday, March 16, 2012
Thursday, March 15, 2012
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Sunday, February 5, 2012
Thursday, February 2, 2012
- Throughout that mental health week, I was getting updates from Gbendembu on the progress (or lack thereof) involving the theft case. While the police were conducting their investigation, traditional means were also agreed upon.
- The sorcerer came to my village. He had three long sticks tied together with colored fabric and he was dressed quite impressively. He would touch the end of the stick against a person, smell the stick, and then move in a different direction and smell other people. His job was to identify the item I had hidden (a metal bottle opener) and if he succeeded, we would know he would be qualified to find the thief. He failed. He said that whenever he looked at people's faces, he saw TWO faces. And when he looked at me? I became a black man. He reasoned that someone in Gbendembu was blocking him with black magic. We paid for his transport home and he left.
- We decided to do a Thunder Swear. This is about as serious as the traditional means gets. Involved in the thunder swear was a young chicken (not a chick but just young), a frog, nails, a hammer, oil, an umbrella, herbs and plants, a lighter, and village elders and a medicine woman. the young chicken was soaked in oil. i wasn't sure why. oil on the wings. oil on the underside, the legs, all over. the chicken was not pleased with any of this. then he was lit on fire. he flapped away into the jungle and died. the frog was nailed onto a piece of wood. both of these ingredients, along with the special herbs & spices were combined in a pot. there were a lot of languages being spoken (yelled), some Loko, some Arabic, some Themne, and i took a video too.. the residue was put on the bottom of the feet and the swear was done. within two or three weeks, the thief will find they are unable to defecate or urinate and will beg for forgiveness from the medicine woman. we are now on week three. (apparently the thunder swear works better in rainy season. it's the harmattan so no rain. or thunder.)
- School restarted, and i am happy to relate that it has been a much more productive second term than last years. however, my SS3 students, those who should be the most serious about their education right now, are being incredibly rude. to everyone. many teachers (including myself) have walked out. the principal(s) have yelled at them. the parents have been yelled at. when peace corps visited me, they yelled at them. nothing seems to get through. yesterday, arriving late to school, students ran away from me into the jungle. i chased them. i don't think a white man has ever been where i was (..almost lost). but seriously. the biggest test of their lives is in three months and you're running away from a teacher into the jungle? very frustrating.
- my new routine is as follows (a) wake up, go to school (b) write down the times teachers arrive because if i do not, the teachers will lie about what time they arrive. the teachers sign, we laugh, the day begins (c) teach my classes as best as possible (d) get lunch with jones. we alternate days to pay for each other, usually rice with beans or cakes and potatoes with some ginger beer. (not actually beer). (e) stay at the school until about 3 PM on the laptop doing work or goofing off (f) go to the house construction site (where the house is now past window height! :) (g) go home, change out of pants, relax, nap (h) go back to school in evening to do more work or goof off, lesson plan, read (i) go to Pa Kandie's house for palm wine (j) go home, listen to music on laptop, read, fall asleep (k) cuddle with backpack (l) wake up.
I love and miss you all. :)