Wednesday, October 27, 2010

10/19/2010 8:36AM My First Xade Thunderstorm

It seems the world does not want me to sleep. I spent the majority of
last week and this weekend running from office to office trying to
feel my way around the system here, only to find that what I was
getting was not what I was expecting at all, and the eager beaver in
me got really dissapointed. The Bots 8-ers who have been here a year
already were not surprised and urged me patiently not to feel
discouraged and to keep trying. By day 5, I was at my wits end trying
to find funding for the youth camp coming up in December and the VMSAC
meeting in a few weeks (ironically, the poultry project and the
community garden were thrown at me complete with funding for supplies
and consultants). I stumbled into my S&CD office and told my
counterparts, "I need help..." and next thing you know, I'm sitting in
the office of one of the ladies I already know well talking budgets
and proposals. Turns out, the program I'm planning already has money
allocated for it, I just didn't know because no one was using it. So,
all I have to do is call my "youth camp" a "youth workshop" (which it
was originally called), and emphasize HIV and MCP, and provided I do
my budget right (only allowing for food and stationary, no equipment
or travel allowances), it looks like the project is happening. Hip
Hip--

Every morning the past 5 days I'd wake up with this project on the
brain-- how how how to find funding. I'd call a department or an
organization and get turned to someone else over and over again. Of
course this isn't a sure thing yet, and I sort of feel like I'm
counting my chickens before they hatch, but oh well. This morning was
the first morning I didn't wake up thinking about youth camps, vmsacs
and fundings; instead I awoke to waking dreams of getting broken into,
robbed, raped, and somewhere in there, my wedding day. It's 8:41 AM
now, hence the name of this entry, and let's just say work starts at
7:30... The work environment in Xade is extremely lax though, and if I
say I'm working at home on 2 funding proposals, they'll let me do it
without question (well, at least not questioning me to my face). 1
meeting today, 1 meeting tomorrow, lots of writing inbetween, a
meeting on Thursday, a meeting on Friday, running around getting
official quotations for budgets and BAM, baby! I'll have funding.

Last night around 9PM I was dozing in my bed, just finished talking
with my brother on the phone in the privacy of my own house, when I
saw a flash of light, like someone with a very powerful flash was
trying to take pictures at night. It was followed by a rumble, like a
large truck turning on gravel. It happened again, and again, and
before I knew it, raindrops were hitting my tin roof like a flock of
tinny bird feet. Tick tick tick tickticktickticktickticktick! I opened
my blinds and watched the lightening light up the clouds like
something out of fantasia. My first New Xade thunderstorm. Can it be
rainy season already? Ironically, when I woke up this morning, our
long anticipated phone reception was gone. Maybe the storm took out
the tower, or more likely, guys stole the solar panels again.

10-19-2010
So I found out what happened, the little storm last night destroyed
our electricity which took out the tower. I asked if they were going
to see to get it fixed (not sure if they would given that the tower is
the only thing that uses the electricity in our village), my friend
said something along the lines of-- since the power's out, the tower's
out, and how will we tell them that the electricity's out?

I just got home after 3 hours of a meeting held in setswana where they
argued for an hour about whether or not they were going to take the
leftover food home, cause legally you have to give the leftovers to a
public institution. It astounds me how great the people here are at
meeting twice a week for hours on end to talk about logistics, and yet
no one can tell me what the content of the workshop is on.

I was talking to someone about what I'll need to add to the budget for
a Village Aids Committee workshop (VMSAC) I want to run in November,
and after our meeting today, a lady ran up to me. "The DMSAC meeting!"
she said, "when is it?" I was thrilled-- did she want to join the
DMSAC?? "There's one on Thursday, do you want to come? It's in Ghanzi
at 8am" "Yes!" she said. "Great!" I said. Then she said, "I want to
cook. Will you hire me?"

Why did it astound me that she aspired to cook for the DMSAC rather
than be on the DMSAC?

Why am I kicking my own butt? Why am I doing what I'm doing? Am I
really capacity building or am I just fulfilling a role that 6 years
of peace corps volunteers have established? Has the PCV role in New
Xade simply turned into a regular job, 'cause it seems that after my
needs assessment, etc,etc, I am still just doing the exact same thing
that 6 other Americans have done before me. No one is continuing the
projects that we leave behind, but they are all the more willing to
cater, build, and clean up after them for a small fee.

At 7AM this morning, Thato's daughter ate laundry detergent and
committed diarrhea on my lawn.

Yesterday, I ran into my new counterpart ("Nancy" has officially
transferred and her replacement, Go itse, a very chill girl, has
officially moved in). I helped her to buy casual clothes for our
hostel kids. They were each given P500 and lunch, and in waves of 40
at a time, they were brought to a store in Ghanzi to pick out what
they wanted. My job was to tally the items in their basket to see if
the total was less than P500 and, as I learned later, to help them
pick the right size. Unexpectantly, all the boys picked lots of very
nice expensive clothes while the girls struggled to find things in the
right gender category, let alone size. Almost every girl bought a pair
of boxer shorts and a striped collared shirt. Many I didn't recognize
as girls until I saw a bra in their basket (both boys and girls bought
girls underwear), and color didn't seem to matter. Boys and Girls
alike bought pink underwear and gray polo shirts. At one point, a girl
showed up and my counterpart mistook her as a boy. When she realized
her mistake, she exclaimed, "You're a Girl!? Where are the breasts??"
Another girl showed up with a child-size t-shirt at least 3 or 4 sizes
too small, "Ao, is this too small?" I asked. "No! I'm Sliiiiiiiiiiim!"
she said, moving her hands down her skinny torso. I wonder if this is
a side-effect of low self-esteem and no female role models to tell
these girls that what's happening to them: (puberty) is normal and
that they are beautiful just the way they are.

I'm trying to motivate myself to write those funding proposals, but I
have to admit, I'm finding it difficult. After my miserable mood this
morning and the phone network going down, I just don't want to do
anything. Plus.... while I'm whining... I'm so sore after 6 nights of
mediocre sleep and no exercise.

10-20-2010
Woke up to a bright 6AM this morning and did an hour of P90X yoga
before commencing my day. Unfortunately, what results from exercise is
increased energy which, for me means, increased boredom and thus
increased boredom-eating, thus countering the effects of increased
exercise.

I have to admit, I've been hiding a bit today. I went home at noon to
prepare to go to Ghanzi yet again tonight-- honestly truly completely
not my choice, out of necessity, I have to submit the funding
proposals after getting a gazillion quotes from a gazillion shops. Not
looking forward to the process. No wonder people don't do this more
often. In any case, I came home early to relax in anticipation of
another hectic 48 hours (dmsac meeting in there too) full of learning,
smiling, bowing a little, and thinking, "why why why why?"

it struck me that what I'm trying to do is mobilize people when for 6
years people have been trying to mobilize them just as I have and...
well... in the end... I'm still running around Ghanzi getting quotes
on my own. I realized that I should've asked someone to come with me
or to split up the work. Stupid silly arrogant me!
It's so hot now that a square centimeter of sun hitting my skin
through a gap in my blinds is making my whole body sweat bullets and
all I want is, strangely, a bowl of ice cold milk and cereal.

10-24-2010

Just spent an hour lying on my floor in the middle of some kind of
exercise routine crying for God knows what. I've been busy the past
week and was looking forward to finally being home this weekend only
to find that I didn't know what to do with myself. Yesterday, suddenly
the people, friends, kids, goats, cows, and heat just seemed too much
and I shut myself in to clean, eat too much, watch movies, read, and
moan. I even hung my laundry inside because I didn't want to deal with
the sun, heat, kids, thorns, and hornets in my backyard. To be fair to
myself, I did spend some time with the neighborhood kids yesterday,
and I went to visit a friend briefly.
But by the time nightfall came, I got so restless I nearly screamed.

Couldn't sleep much last night because of the heat. I got up in the
wee hours of the morning to take a cold shower before crawling back
into bed, and then woke up hours later because it was too cold.
Finally around 6 or so a roaring cow and a family of goats came into
my yard, thanks to the children who don't close my gate properly, and
I was fully awake, over-whelmed stomach bloated and painful from
yesterday's antics. I looked in the mirror for a moment too long and
felt my self esteem swirl downwards too quickly. Short, fat, bloated,
bald, lazy…I managed to get through 15 minutes of some kind of
exercise routine before I broke down.
Peace Corps is a glamorous job, and nowadays most of the time I feel
pretty fortunate, but this morning I felt service pains rear its ugly
head. The self-esteem roller coasters, the health risks, the
loneliness, the ever-present wondering, "What if I never came…?"

10/25/2010

It seems that all of these entries this time around are rather
depressing. I'm sorry guys for the somber tone of my blogging these
days. I can't explain why. I'm not miserable, but of course I still
have my moments. So here are some positive things! It amazes me how
much flexibility and power I have to do things here. Things I never
thought I could or would or would even want to do. Like guide full
grown adults in the way of project design and budgeting. Call
government officials out of the blue to request funding for projects I
haven't thought through yet. Run a youth camp for orphans and
vulnerable children. Teach people how to make pizza. Make popcorn on
the stove using nothing but a broken old pot. Make my own bread so
often that I know recipes by heart. Ride in the back of pick-up trucks
with 8 other people on a dirt road in the rain for 2 hours. Wake up to
the sound of horny donkeys and mooing cows every morning, be around
goats so much that I've memorized the way their asses look when they
take a shit on my lawn. Plan and host a going away party for my
counterpart/coworker in my own driveway. Watch an entire cow go from
alive to dead to meat to carcass in the course of 6 hours…

Maybe this means that I'm starting to take all these cool things for
granted. Yesterday, I took a walk around a familiar part of the
village and was greeted by the same kids I usually am greeted by. They
took my hands and told me, "mpha cap mpha shoes mpha madi mpha dijo
mpha drinki" give me cap give me shoes give me money give me food give
me drink. They said "take me to your house and feed me" they pulled me
this way and that way. They smelled my arms. They played with my keys.
They said "Give me your keys." They tried to make me stop when I
wanted to go, to make me go when I wanted to stop. To make me take
them home with me. As usual, I overshot my house and went to visit
someone else so they would leave me alone. Said Hi to a few friends I
missed during church, came home and took a deep breath. Every
interaction with kids here ends the same way, "mpha mpha mpha." I get
annoyed, sure, but now I'm starting to realize something important—I
don't know any other words that they are saying, so it could very be
possible that the reason I think they are brats is just because "mpha"
is the only word I can understand. I wish I knew Setswana.

10/26/2010

Don't know why, but my self-esteem has severely plummeted this past
week. I also feel the coming-ons of a very bad cold. I've been trying
to sleep both ailments off, but can't seem to lose consciousness,
leading to making both ailments worse. I woke up last night (often)
but once especially at 3:30 AM to the sounds of two young girls
singing Beyonce's "Halo" at the top of their lungs. So far in the past
4 months, I've lost 2 tupperware, a bucket, a fork, and an umbrella by
lending them to people and forgetting to ask for them back. I've
received, however, a rubber rake and a traditional broom. Don't know
why I chose to fixate on that just now.

It's 9:45 AM and I just returned from another OVC support group board
meeting in which only 3 people showed up, again. I am currently
missing a planning meeting for the Youth Alcohol Awareness workshop,
and I just got freaked out cause I'm told that the timing of the OVC
youth workshop is such that no one will be here due to the
holiday—even though I was assured previously by the same person that
people will be here. So who knows! I decided just now that I'm the
only one putting myself under this enormous pressure, so, self, back
off! take a hike! and go do something to take your mind off of things
(what I wouldn't give for a go-cart track in New Xade right now, or
some decent cheap communication tools). Lying in bed feeling like
every part of my body is about to succumb to some feverish infection
is probably not the best way to relax. Unfortunately, eating is also
not a good way to relax. Thus I'm left with more movies or more books
or more music. God, I'm getting so tired of movies, books, and music.
Just like I'm getting tired of eating the same things every day. I
think I'll eat anyway. Because I can. This is why I'm fat. This is why
I'm fat. This is why I, this is why I, this is why I'm fat!

P.S. if anyone is trying to send text messages to my new phone, they
aren't going through :(

10-27-2010
It's a cold hard world, I realized, as I walked past a recently deaded
donkey carcass whos insides were set upon by the village folk leaving
only exposed ribs, a lolling head, and a horrid smell.

It's a bad bad day. Terrific to complement my bad bad week. I have no
apologies this time for feeling and acting like a crummy person.

Friday, October 15, 2010

An Hour to Kill & Not Sure What to Do




This is certainly a new experience. I'm in Ghanzi for the week/weekend and have an hour at the library. The past 72 hours I've met with DMSACS, DACS, PCVS, M&Es, S&CD, RADP's, and dealt with LPO's and other such fiddle faddle.

My checklist is losing empty boxes and I suddenly find myself online with an hour to kill before going to watch a fellow PCV do an aerobics presentation at an afterschool program here.

3 things I'm doing here:
1. Getting Support for a December OVC/Youth Likeskills Camp-- and yeah, fundraising is still not my specialty

2. Trying to find funding to run a Village Multi-sectoral Aids Committee program design workshop (VMSAC)

3. Getting a spare gas cylinder so that next time I run out of gas and get really depressed, I'll have a spare and be able to rule out "gas shortage" as my cause of depression.

Internet internet internet... friends, where are you? Miss you. Need some TLC and/or someone to slap me and say, "HEY YOU, RELAX AND GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF THE CLOUDS!"

Pictures from the Nata Salt Pans
East Side, Pre-buzz cut, Post-workshop presentation

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Network and Pictures, oh My!

10-09-2010
IT IS HOT.

And technically it's not summer yet. I set my laundry out this morning, and 15 minutes later, everything was dry. As I write this, a bead of sweat very cliche-ly slips down my face and my feet swell. Chloe, the PCV from Ghanzi, has come for the weekend and we made a sight-seeing journey through and around my village. It's been a few weeks since I last made that walk and everything already looks different. The grass quite literally is greener. It's the last month of spring and the purple flowers have turned into bright green leaves, making the once bare trees look thicker and fuller and about 5 feet taller. We stood at the edge of the village next to the cattle watering hole and I felt like I was in the middle of a Dr Seuss novel. Small rolling "hills," weirdly bent purple trees, bony angular cows, I could almost see the speech bubbles suspended like balloons from their large wet noses in bubbly orange lettering "mooOooOOoooooooooOoo!"

Yesterday, I dumped all responsibility and ventured to town to get a gas refill for my fridge. 4-5 hours later I was still looking for signatures; the system here is treacherous to navigate if you want to procure anything with government funds. I was going to wait until a "better" time if there ever is one, but I was at my wits end when it came to feeling good about myself and decided, if the fridge would give me a fighting chance of enjoying time outside my bed, it was worth the trip (and the shirked responsibilities-- sorry guys-who-I-was-supposed-to-meet!!). Chloe and I rolled the 48kg gas cylinder (48kg of gas, the cylinder itself is heavy as hell and about 5' tall) across my yard and maneuvered it in place, successfully relighted my fridge, and have enjoyed ice cold water and fresh fruits/vegetables all day (Ok that last one was a bit of a lie, we had banana pancakes this morning). Regardless of the extra-carb intake that inevitably accompanies friendly company, it's good to have someone here. Her presence alone motivated me to finally clean my house and organize my kitchen. No lying in bed moaning all day for me today!

Oh and by the way, Chloe is also a shaven PCV. (sounds like some kind of specialty breed of dog doesn't it? "Oh, Chloe? Yeah she's a purebread Shaven PCV, very rare. We got her from this breeder in Queens.")

Oh and sorry I didn't get a chance to post pictures. Working internet is a rare occurence for me and I just had enough time to get the post up. Hopefully this time I'll have the bandwidth to put some pictures of my balded head up. I'm planning a trip next week to Ghanzi/D'kar to get support for some of my projects/ get my work finances in place/ meet PCV's and invested NGO's/ liase with a group who wants to come here for TB outreach, you know, same old same old. Wow, my life sounds so glamorous when I list everything I have to do with slashes inbetween and throw in some acronyms and big words. PCP, PCPP, APCD, CDC, CCB, DAC, NGO, CBO, OVC, TB, HIV, PACA, RADP, S&CD, RAC, LPO, DMSAC, TAC, VMSAC, VDC, WOH, etc etc etc. Surprisingly... all things I'm going to be attending to next week...

OMG! And I almost forgot the some important news. I came home last night as the sun was setting and from a distance you know what I saw? A light at the top of our finished cell phone tower glowing red. All day today 3 dark figures were seen climbing up and down the tower adjusting the satellite dish-- they told us we would get network yesterday, then this weekend, so maybe tomorrow, or the day after, or the week after, or the month after, I'll have cell phone service! Unfortunately, the network isn't the one I'm currently using, so I'll have a new phone number. And I won't be able to text back and forth to the states, but at least I'll be able to receive and send phone calls! 73667973

To be completely honest, or in the world of acronym, TBcH, the glowing red tower looks really ugly against the night sky when it isn't providing the sweet nectar of communication.

10-10-10
Can you imagine what things will be like on 12-12-2012? It will be the last time any of us alive today will ever be able to celebrate a #-#-# day! Who knows, maybe the Mayans are right and it'll be the end of the world. I just got chills-- the end of the world... what a scary thought.

Ok I just creeped myself out. It's 8:30 PM and I just walked home in the dark. It is Batswana culture to walk people "half way" home after they visit you. I should have been walking my own friends home at night-- next time I'll do that. Darn it all, the teacher I just visited taught me the Setswana word for "walking someone halfway home" and I forgot it already. I was so tired that I just went straight to the shower and then wandered around in the dark before falling into bed. Aaand now I just creeped myself out... and chloe's not here to diffuse my wild imagination... I guess that means its 30 Rock time.

Project Status: 1/2 day week-long "live well" alcohol-abuse and healthy living camp coming together slowly? details to be figured out. Won't be perfect at all, but one has to start somewhere... n'est pas? Hoping that the next 20 months will go by fast and I'll be able to see you all again soon. Missing home.

10-11-2010

Nothing has to be Perfect. What does Perfect mean anyway?

Today was pretty good. Went to work, talked to people, got a lot of things written at home, came out after lunch, talked to people, looked at the art exhibit at school, got stood up by the girl I was supposed to tutor, spent the rest of the afternoon writing more things at home, watched 30 Rock, and now in bed at 7:30 again deciding what to watch before I fall asleep. Life in the Peace Corps. Not Perfect, but what does Perfect mean anyway?

The neighbors have been dancing for hours on end every day this past week. By Dancing I mean the traditional singing and dancing. A girl in the village got her first period so they will be dancing every day until it is over.

10-12-2010
Still Dancing

I woke up this morning at 6am after a hot restless sleep to the voice of Thato in her nightgown. "Sunny," she's the only one who calls me Sunny, "Sunny!" She called at me. I threw on a skirt while yelling "Thato!" and showed up at the door squinting because I absolutely refuse to be seen as a short, fat, bald, glasses-person. I found her at my front door with 2 cell phones and a charger. "Good morning," I muttered, doing my best to smile and look like I've been up for hours. I knew this ritual well and reached for her phone, before I could grab it, she told me, "There is network."

I paused. "Network? Really?" I asked. I wasn't sure how to respond to that. "Are you joking?"

"Yes" she said. I yelled and did a little I'm-going-to-kill-you-how-could-you-do-that-to-me-dance.

Thato did her familiar you're-so-weird-Sunny laugh and then said "Really!" She came in and handed me her phone. I looked at it... a full fabulous five bars.

There was a moment of silence as the impact hit me. Then i looked back at the phone and with eyes wide and full of wonder, I exclaimed in soft tones, "It even says New Xade under it..."

October 12, 2010, a day to go down in Peace Corps Botswana History. New Xade receives Cell Phone Network.

All morning, my buddies and co workers and I were walking around with our phones in our hands. Ringtones kept going off during meetings. Ding ding ding went off in bags. Peoples heads dissapeared as they reached for their pockets, stared down at their hands, clicked clicked clicked away on their number pads. Laughs and smiles could be heard from every department as people tried to change their sim cards and swap new phone numbers. Mosodi and Thato came at me at the same time, simultaneously asking, "Wame, what's my phone number?" People interrupted each other, phone calls interrupted conversations, sons called mothers, mothers called friends, kids called each other, and anticipation was written all over teachers faces during classes. By 9AM there was not one bit of airtime left unused in the village, and yet we still clung to our phones like life lines.

The irony of it all, is that life actually kept going on as usual. There was no big hurrah, no huge celebration, no mention of it officially, life just got a little more... normal for me... and at lunch, walking between new working fridge and my new working phone, I felt like myself again, reached towards my head and thought, "my God, what did I do to my hair?"

At 7AM this morning, after Thato left, I sent 2 texts, called home, and then put the phone away and enjoyed my last few moments of absolute silence. Life will never be the same again.

And of course the moment you've all been waiting for, PICTURES!

This is my friend caitlin and i doing jumps on the nata pans

This is me half-shaven

and full shaven



Friday, October 8, 2010

10-5-2010
"You look like one of us!"

If you haven't gathered from the last post, I shaved my head. I now
look like one of those buddhist monks doing tai chi that my parents
used to collect statues of when I was in grade school.

I don't know what i want to talk about today. I feel like so much has
happened since my last post I wouldn't even know where to start.

I went away a week ago to a village on the East side of Botswana
called Maitengwe where my friend lives and where everyone speaks
Kalanga, a language I have trouble remembering the name of, let alone
actually trying to learn. We presented at an OVC Ngo workshop and
celebrated Lucie's 24th birthday. On my way back across the country, I
stopped by Maun and talked to some volunteers about the current sad
state of my village-- drunkenness, rape, children having children, etc
and what we could do about it. I got a lot of advice, mostly being
"take care of yourself!" and I got to connect with my fellow pcv's in
a way I was never able to before. I left feeling completely exhausted
yet lifted up, overwhelmed with the craziness of travel during a
botswana holiday (I spent 4 hours of an 8 hour bus ride with the bus
filled to the brim, no standing room left, and 3 children in my lap!),
happy to return to my site where things were familiar, and strangely
but not-unexpectantly sad that I had to return to my usual silent
existence in New Xade.

Not that I don't like New Xade. But my house still looks like a hybrid
between the last volunteer's existence and mine, the floors are
filthy, the fridge still doesnt work, nothing is in its right place,
and most of my posessions are spread out along every dusty surface in
my house. I'm too tired and perhaps depressed/unmotivated to clean up
and make this place my own, and after seeing how my friends lived in
their homely homes with photos on the walls and stocked
refridgerators, large ipod docks, internet access, and phone service,
I felt even less inclined to settle in here.
I slept at 7PM last night and woke up just in time to be half an hour
late to work, I spent the whole day in various meetings and have ended
up with the impossible tasks to complete in an impossible amount of
time and am so tired, dehydrated, and drained from the sun that I just
want to sleep now, and it's only 5pm. The gates are locked and I fully
intend on leaving this bed only once between now (5pm) and the time I
sleep (soon). Tomorrow is going to be a stressful day, hell, this week
is going to be a stressful week and what kills me is that I arrived
thinking first and foremost-- "I have to take care of MYSELF" which
meant, getting my fridge fixed, getting rid of that weird smell,
buying healthy foods, cleaning, finally organizing my stuff and
unpacking some boxes I have still not unpacked, getting back into an
exercise routine, and making sure that I take off a few hours a day to
unwind.
I like being here, I do. And when I walked around today and saw how
excited everyone was to see me/my haircut, I was so happy-- yet now,
still, I want to cry. I am tired even though I sleep forever and a
half. I am reluctant, even though I'm super excited for what I'm doing
here and what I want to do here. I am overwhelmed, even though my
plans have clear, small, and plausible steps.

I feel like a million different people at once, the shy, overridden
child I once was, the obnoxious, know-it-all tool I was in high
school, the confused, depressed and bitter college student, the calm
and structured person I had finally become at lawndale, and now this
new person, this person who is all of these things at once, the good
and the bad. The capable, but sometimes overzealous, overconfident
overachiever. A quiet and humble person who doesn't know how to say no
to any request no matter how unappreciated, stupid, or difficult it
is.

Why did I shave my head? I keep thinking about it. Was it a healthy
decision? A practical one? A sign of a nervous breakdown? A semi-last
resort, an oh my god it's so hot and if i'm going to give myself a
fighting chance of surviving here i might as well shave my
head-moment? Do I just not care anymore about my appearance? have I
lost all my pride? Looking back on the pictures documenting this
momentous occasion in my life, all i can think is, "oh my god."

And so, my head is shaven and I look like a buddhist monk but I
couldn't feel anything further from one. But then again, when in my
life have I ever felt at peace? Am I just doomed to spend the rest of
my life so high strung that I can't enjoy it?

10-7-2010
Another "long" day consisting of... meeting, reading, and then
sleeping. I called it a half day since it was so damn hot and there
was no one around. Our police is planning a youth alcohol abuse
workshop. I am on the publicity committee, which meant I spent all
yesterday running around between the police, the only working
computer/printer I could find, and a copy machine trying to get a
gazillion invitation letters writtened and addressed to various
commitees, dignitaries, and others. Today, however, we learned that
due to the late submission of quotations, the workshop is thus
postponed to November 11. Which means, all the work I did yesterday
amounted to zilch. Suprisingly, I'm not upset about it, mostly amused.
The way the workshop is being planned is eye opening to me, instead of
inviting youth directly, they are trying to find other ways of meeting
their 200 ppl goal: 100 ppl are going to be invited dignitaries and
the people running the workshop, the other 100 ppl will consist of
youth from various organizations around the community (football clubs,
theater groups, choirs, etc). It is a clever way of doing things,
though someone brought up a good point-- isn't this like preaching to
the choir?

I had planned to spend the rest of the week until next friday in my
village doing nothing, but due to the postponement of this event, I
have been convinced to try to get my fridge re-installed... which will
hopefully lift my mood quite a bit. I started the day off literally
near tears for no good reason. Then, just when I was beginning to feel
totally crummy for looking like a monk, being fat, and being
completely alone, I got a couple letters from you guys (Suanne and
Christine-- sorry I'm thanking you here, I'm not sure when I'll get a
chance to write you back in non-snail mail form) and I had no excuse
to be miserable anymore. So thank you guys for not forgetting about
me. I'm sure there are more letters in the mail that are still somehow
stuck in the system, but I know I'll get them soon. These things tend
to work out-- so thank you anyway, Caroline Guo, and any other people
who have sent me things I haven't received yet. Today I'm trying to
build my faith in the universe, in God, in all things that they will
work out as I need them. I guess that's one reason to join the Peace
Corps-- to learn how to live life when absolutely nothing is in your
control.

Speaking about control, I woke up at 5 PM after a nap due to the
following dream: I was a muppet being held hostage by an evil witch in
my own bed. I was paralyzed on the right side of my body and blind in
one eye. Next to me was a very eager Fozzy the bear who was helping to
lift me up and out before the evil witch could come back and collect
us. Except Fozzy is an inanimate muppet who can't actally function on
his own strength. What sucked about this dream was that I knew I was
dreaming and I was actually half awake. One eye was open, staring
about the room looking for this evil witch; and since I was blind in
the other eye, naturally, I couldn't see Fozzy. I had to shake my head
a few times before I was able to pull myself out of this crazy
disorienting dream. Oh Fozzy. You meant so well.

And finally, the question of the day: How am I feeling? Itchy. It
looks like a mosquito infested bomb exploded in my lap and I am
covered from head to toe in red welts. It's no wonder I prefer to
spend my time in my mosquito-net covered bed next to my new fan (which
works off of solar energy!!) in the dark. It's 7:25 PM tonight and I'm
going to go to sleep early again.

If anyone is looking to send me anything, Large 3M hooks would be
great. Another PCV couple used them to hang mosquito netting over
their doors and I have a distinct feeling that I'll need to be doing
that soon. There is a leak in my back yard that breeds mosquito's and
I've been stupid enough to leave the window open there to air out the
nasty smelling fridge. Hence: Welts.

Music would be nice too.
Sanity too if people can afford it.
And as usual movies, tv shows....
Am I being greedy?

Just News is Just as nice too! :) and/or pictures. I do like my
pictures. (Thank you Suanne and Christine! My bedroom is now swamped
in pictures of good ole California) and my parents sent me about a
dozen pictures of them on their vacation to Alaska (in the same pose
in every picture). At least now I'll never forget what they look like!
We're expecting cell phone network any day now. Any day now baby!!!

10-8-2010
It's 7AM, I'm never up so early. I got up at 5:50 this morning after a
restless sleep that began at 8:30 PM. I guess that's what it's like
here. Sleeping super early, waking up super early. That's what
everyone here does. The place is surprisingly vibrant before the sun
rises. Even now, 30 minutes before the work day begins, people are out
doing chores to the thump thump thump bass beat of house music.
I'm waiting for one of our drivers to come pick up me and my empty gas
tank up to be refilled. I am psyched. Soon I'll have cold water to
drink and the smell will be gone, which means my window can stay shut.
This morning, I entered my kitchen to a large collective buzzzz and
nearly flipped out when I saw 2 dozen mosquitos collected in my
window. I guess they're trying to escape the heat. There's a leak in
my water pipes in my back yard and the resulting huge marshy puddle is
right underneath my kitchen window, a breeding ground for mosquitos.
If there's anything I hate most in this world, aside from you know,
mean horrible nasty people, it's mosquitos. Mosquitos and/or donkeys.

I'm going to try to attach some pictures in today's post. Wish me luck!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

My head- izt been shaven!