Thursday, April 12, 2012

logistics 'n stuff

>> our COS (close of service) conference is now over! it was certainly a somewhat awkward affair - imagine if you will a sort of high school reunion of sorts, the same arguments, cliques, and crushes sort of resurface and swirl around but, more importantly, we worked on the logistics of our departure (terrifying / exciting). we talked about plane tickets, about how our payments will be organized, medical information (including exciting stool samples!) and even the stuff we should leave at our houses for the next volunteer and what things need to be returned to Peace Corps. There was debate amongst us about some choices, do you (a) transfer money into the bank account (b) take a check to your home (c) take a check in freetown, etc. (I'm sending the check to my home - I'll lose it if he gives it to me in Freetown..) It was nice to see our bosses again, see our doctor again, see the other volunteers again but now, as if there was any doubt, we are definitely in the home stretch. Peace Corps gave us advice about the last few months, how it is indeed different than the rest of our service, their suggestions on how best to leave things, how to find closure (if possible), and the beginnings of the dicussions about how to try to fit back into American life... I love and miss you all.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

some recent events

some recent events in the past few weeks:

  • 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 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

you know you're integrated when:

i jotted these down amidst cups of palm wine and hiding from the burning hot sun,..

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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!"

  7. 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 :)