Thursday, February 10, 2011

February 7, 2011

I think it's about time for another update. True, the past few months
have been filled with a lot of angst, a lot of quiet moments filled
with not-so-quiet thoughts of desperation and anxiety, loneliness, and
not very well thought-through phone calls or emails home… true, my
site is a challenging one, located 100km on a dirt road away from
everything civilized: electricity, internet, post office, clean water,
grocery stores, a bank, and when I first began, phone service… true,
I've often felt isolation and self-pity for my situation, no one
understands what it's like here, nobody knows my sorrow…

Thanks to a pile of girly magazines and months of waiting though, I am
feeling better. I've realized that my situation now is the lot that I
was given—and according to an issue of "Shape" Magazine, I should
start to learn to "want what I have." So this week's mantra, composed
in pixels and framed in the black plastic of my cheap black and white
phone is, "I want what I have."

My hair is reaching a funny stage where every day it wakes me up with
a surprise. Sometimes the hair is sticking 3.5" straight up. Sometimes
it's flat on just one side. Sometimes it looks perfectly styled and
wild. I can run water or gel through it and make it to do funny stuff
and, surprisingly, it's making me feel more feminine than ever. When I
go to the grocery store in Ghanzi, the women there tell me that I'm
"beautiful"--- "beautiful" is a really common word here. When I flip
through magazines, I secretly connect with the models who have short
hair and I feel like I've been invited into their little club. Though
on the flip side, if I haven't had time to gel it or run water (or
more likely, sweat) through it, it falls flat on the sides of my face
resulting in a rather unflattering "Susie" haircut from Calvin and

I try to keep myself positive when I go outside and talk with people.
I try to smile and be patient whenever meetings get cancelled or
postponed and no one tells me. I've learned to have low expectations
for event turnouts and bring a book with me whenever I'm supposed to
meet with someone somewhere. I try not to take it personally when no
one is around and I find out that everyone was at a football match or
dance competition that I wasn't invited to. I try not to cry every
time Peace Corps issues a new policy I'm not made aware of, sends out
an invitation via email that I found out about after the deadline, or
asks me to do things that that have no idea how difficult it is for me
to do…

I got hit on yesterday by a 20-year old 7th grader. "Hey lady!" I hear
from across the school yard. The kid has a surprisingly low voice for
a primary school student…

I'm writing this from the side yard of my friends' place in Ghanzi. I
got stuck here today after my ride had to stay here due to an extended
workshop. I ran to Pep, a local convenience/clothing store like
clothing-obsessed CVS and bought underwear and a towel. My friends are
away teaching an aerobics class, leaving me sitting in their yard to
swat away some incredibly scary looking mosquitos. The mosquitos are
especially present at this house. I don't know why. What's more, they
are the deadly looking kind, large with black and white stripes, long
skinny legs that girate up and down like a humping dog as they suck
the life-blood from your legs. They especially love my ankles. Such is
my life.

I've started teaching an English Club at school. On the first day, I
asked my students to write down a goal they have in life, "I want to
be the captin of my football time," one student wrote. "My time is

I saw a warthog last week. Then I saw it's baby trotting behind it.
"Oops," the driver said as we drove by, "I killed one of the babies."

The heat is so hot here that my blood boils when I step outside. The
sun is so strong that any bugs living in my hair are instantly baked.
I misstep on any sandy road in Xade and the top of my foot gets
burned. On Monday, I traveled one block away, sweating like a fat
person on a treadmill, and realized that I forgot some papers. I bent
down in my bag to look for them and fell over, half conscious.

The Mosquitos have notified the swarm of my existence. They taste
fresh blood. They have come in numbers to execute me. As I write this
I am sitting in the sun like a crazy person, stomping my feet and
looking very much like a cheerleader who has been dropped on the head
one too many times.

If you know me at all you know there are 2 things in the world that I
hate more than donkeys: heat and mosquitos. God damn…

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