I’m hiding out in my house today. Under my warm covers. I’m working, grants, papers, blogs, emails. But mostly I’m hiding out. I miss normality.
Every time I think of something that used to be normal, I’m reminded how abnormal it is here.
Water: water outage for the past 3 days, children, cows, goats, birds, roaming the streets, making noises, searching for something as essential and simple as water to drink, bathe in, wash their clothes. My jo jo tank is drained and has been for weeks, so now instead of shaking my head and saying “Ga go na metse,” when I see children coming, I run into another room and hide.
Food: I overate all week. I feel sick. Instant noodles, Mexican food, ramen, cake, muffins, sandwiches. And last weekend, my friend told me about how her organization’s cleaner’s children died of malnutrition. She told me this over wine, cheese, and crackers.
Wine: I bought a P62 bottle of Baronne last week. I drank half the bottle in one sitting not thinking about how P62 could’ve bought someone food for a week—or a substantial amount of chibuku, the nation’s traditional alcoholic brew. One bottle of wine, 10USD, something that I would’ve joked about in the states as cheap, is such a treat here that I cried when I pulled out the cork.
Sex: Sex in the states, this intimate, private moment. Now when I think of sex, I think of parents having sex in their huts as their children watch, primary school students having sex in front of their peers in the hostels, children having sex with men, children having babies, babies dying in childbirth because their mothers are only 12. Do women here enjoy sex or has it turned into yet another dirty requirement of life, like alcoholism, clogged outhouses, starvation and drought?
When, if ever, will I be able to enjoy the things I used to enjoy without feeling guilt, anger, frustration, annoyance, privilege? …there are children pounding on my door again now, peering into my bedroom windows. Children, when will they return to their normal states in my head and cease to be these fearful creatures that haunt me in my dreams?
Last night I had a dream that someone was watching me in my sleep. Watching me from the crack in my window shades. I knew it because I could hear their chewing. They were eating popcorn and watching me like a movie reel.
6:40 PM-- Challenges are easier to deal with when you have the courage to face them.
I went outside today after a long day in bed to fetch some water and collect a bill from a friend. Stepping out into the sun really wasn't as intimidating as I thought it would be, as sometimes it is. The sound of children's laughter made me smile. My yard, though people had been through it, around it, and up to my doors and windows the past few days, was relatively untouched. The laundry I left hanging, unstolen. I came home and some kids followed suit a few minutes later. But instead of knocking on my door like good little children, they went to my bedroom windows and knocked. I came out, in a huff, and they ran up and around, I met them back on my front porch and yelled a fury no sunny has ever yelled-- basically, I said "you have no manners, you can't do that. Go!" I was proud of myself. I fear no retaliation-- I hope. Then again, these kids really could make my life a living hell if they knew how to push my buttons right.