Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Losing my fizzle...

You know fizzy drink powders like Emergen-C that you pour in water and stir until the fizzy bubbles stop churning the water into a white white foam? I feel like that fizzy powder. Someone poured me back into my village and I fizzled white foam knowing inevitably that my bubbles will one day end and that I'll be nothing more than some stale, warm, sugary water...

I was supposed to go to Ghanzi today to buy some sports equipment for the hostel kids. But I was exhausted last night, and exhausted this morning, so I'm canceling until next week. The guy who runs the hostels responded with a text, "but.. what about the balls?" The balls are coming, man. Relax. Besides. I'm doing you the favor. 

I'm tired. I'm tired of hitch hiking. I'm tired of the cows in my yard. I'm tired of the birds that flap like a piece of construction plastic in the wind. I'm tired of the stink outside my windows. I'm tired of that dirt road and traveling on it back and forth and back and forth every other day so I can do things for people, things that they very well could be doing for themselves.

Case and Point: an 18 year old appears at my door step as I'm preparing to go to sleep at 8pm 2 nights ago. He literally shoves himself into my house even though I haven't invited him in, he hasn't introduced himself, and I have no idea who he is. He stares at my walls, my pictures, my books and electronics. Finally he speaks, "I want you to help me prepare for a football tournament." The details: 4 teams, 16 players, needed: balls and t-shirts. "Ok..." I say, "You need to write a donation letter." You can tell this is not what he wanted to hear. "Help" here means "do for me." "Tomorrow, write the letter and bring it here to show me." I tell him. "Ok," he says. And I push him out the door. 

Last night, another knock on my door as I'm preparing to go to bed. Scares the Bajeezes out of me. He walks in, no invitation and plops himself down on the table, two BLANK pieces of paper in hand. "Do you have another sheet of lined paper?" he asks me. "No. No paper here. Just the junk you see," I gesture to the piles of pamphlets, newsletters, notes, and checklists I've recently accumulated at our Peace Corps Close of Service Training. He stares for a while and then asks for a pen. I give him a pen. He starts writing the letters in silence. I want to yell at him. I told you to do this on your own! I think... but then again, did I? I patiently let him finish, listening to classical music spilling from the tinny speakers of the laptop I was just about to power down. 

Minutes pass. I'm curious what on earth he's writing. He didn't ask for any guidelines, any suggestions, any help. Finally he stops. "How do you spell sincerely?" he asks. "S-i-n-c-e-r-e-l-y" "Ok." He puts down the pen. I pick up the letter and read it. Not bad. "It's pretty good" I say. "Now, you need to make 3 copies of it, give one to the youth department, one to the DAC office, and one to CB or Jet."

He looks at me, his mouth hanging open a little, seeming to say, "What?" as if this was enough work I want him to deliver them too? "That's a lot of work" he finally says after a pause. 
"Yes it is," I answer, "I know, I've done it a lot of times" for you guys I want to add. "But if you really believe in what you're doing, you'll do it. It's worth it." 
He nods and continues to stare at the letter. "So..." he stalls, "I make a photocopy?" he says.
"Yes"
"And go to Ghanzi?"
"Yes"
A long pause. I can tell he's trying his hardest to figure out how to get me to do this for him. The cogs in his head are turning. His brow crinkles. Finally... "When are you going to Ghanzi?"
I'm supposed to go the next day but I don't want to and I don't want to tell him that, "Don't know, maybe next week." I answer, nonchalantly. 
"Oh..." Another long pause. Finally he looks up and spots a picture of some friends on my wall and stares. Then he points, "Who's that?"
"Just some friends." I steer the conversation back to the subject at hand cause I'm tired, there's no more discussion to be had, and I didn't invite him in in the first place. "So you'll deliver this in Ghanzi next week." 
"Yes"
"Ok then. I'm going to sleep. Bye."
"i'll just leave this here and pick it up tomorrow." he says and puts the letter on my table. 
"Um.. I think you should take it. I might not be here tomorrow." We shove responsibility around. 
"Oh. ok." he says and picks up the letter. I stand up, he stands up.
"You want to go to sleep?"
God yes. "Yes," I answer. Go away. I smile. 
He leaves. As I close the door behind him I make sure to turn off all my lights immediately so he can tell I'm not kidding. 

I feel like a bitter old crank. It certainly doesn't help that yesterday the Peace Corps Doctor called and told me i tested positive for Schistosomiasis. Worms living in my blood vessels contracted from contact with fresh water. Ironically, there is no fresh water near me in Botswana. I don't know how I could've gotten that.

I have this fear that I'm not going to make it home. It's a fear that may become an obsession in the next few months. I want to pad myself in bubble wrap, but bubble wrap won't keep microscopic worms out of my system.

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