Friday, January 23, 2009
I know I haven’t written a blog in a while, so sorry to all my loyal fans out there. It hasn’t been because I haven’t been up to anything. No, that’s certainly not true. It does seem however that my life here has become normal and routine. Things that I would have written about previously (eating babies?) might seem of little significance to me now because life here just seems ordinary. Things aren’t so new and unfamiliar anymore. I’m not saying that being here has lost its sparkle and has become dull, just that a rooster crowing at 4:30 A.M. has been a thing I’ve gotten used to for example. (It’s true I wake up every morning at 4:30 A.M. even when they don’t crow. They do a few minutes later though, no worries) it seems that I’ve forgotten how things were when I was back at home.
Back at home in the land of electricity and all its wonders of refrigeration and air conditioning. I’ve learned to live without or to use things more sparingly here. In bigger towns I can get my dose of these things (still not air conditioning usually). I’ve forgotten that things come all nice and packaged up and can be bought in huge grocery stores and aren’t sold by the kilo in open markets that line up and down streets blocking off car traffic so you can only travel by foot. I’ve forgotten that most things back at home don’t take that long to do or that you can drive anywhere you want to get whatever it is that you think you need at that specific moment in time. That just seems ludicrous now. Just to think that you can even upload pictures whenever you want and even be able to watch videos on the internet seems like such a foreign concept to me now. I’m a huge You Tube fan, but while I’m here I won’t get to see any of those videos on there or place any on there of my own. I’ve forgotten that fast food exists (more of a positive than negative, I guess). I can’t remember what foods are on a traditional American menu say at Chili’s or Applebee’s, and needless to say have definitely forgotten all the kinds of ethnic food that are available. No, all food has been replaced by one; rice. I really don’t know where this country would be without it. That being said I’ve also lost a taste in beer it would seem. No longer do I get to sample beer from all over the states and the world for that matter with my dad on pint nights. No, that’s all been replaced too with the lone beer they have here, Three Horses Beer (THB). I don’t say these things because I feel I’ve lost anything by being here. No, that’s definitely not the case to say the least. I say these things because this is my life now and will be for my next year and some odd months that I have left here. I say this as a reflection of how different my life has been this year from those in the past. Will I enjoy my year left here even if that means eating rice everyday? In the words of Napoleon Dynamite, “heck yes”! I mean I’m only here for two years, so may as well eat it up, right?
All that being said one thing that has recently happened is that kids aren’t so afraid of me (still not all) but they aren’t so shy anymore and don’t always run when they see me. Therefore I’ll break them up into categories to help explain:
Screamers- There are still kids that when they see me start crying and screaming really loud. Ex: One time I was walking into the local store to get some things and the one kid was in there and was fine until he saw me. When he did see me he froze, he literally couldn’t move because he was so overcome with fear and was loudly screaming and crying.
Criers- There are a few kids that just cry when they see me. From them I don’t usually get quite the reaction as the screamers nor does it happen as quickly with them. Ex: They see me then they look around at others as if asking what to do and based on the reaction they feel they receive they usually start to cry.
Runners- Probably my favorite group. These are the kids that will yell my name every single time they see me from a distance. When and if I get close to them however or sometimes even start to walk in their direction they run away. Sometimes this also involves crying. Ex: Kids come up to my gate and just stand there staring into my house or at me and they will stand there until I either acknowledge them or act like I’m heading towards them. If I do get up they run away as fast as possible, it’s a fun game I suppose.
Newbies- Newbies used to be runners or criers but I haven’t had any screamers become one yet. Newbies have just gotten used to me and have found out that I’m not as scary as they thought (and how awesome I am) and that they can come over and color or look at books. These kids have just found a recent mild obsession with me and want to come over or for me to take pictures of them doing any thing they can think of.
Oldies- The kids have been with me since the start. Since day one they weren’t afraid and have been coming over to my house since I first moved in. They get me more or less how I work and that while I can’t play every day that I do like for them to come over every once in a while. These kids for the most part don’t ask for as much as the other kids and are on the whole seem to be better mannered. These kids are also more affectionate with me and hold my hand when we walk around and aren’t shy when talking to me.
Working on some health projects lately of introducing teeth brushing and proper hand washing (using soap). I've included a picture of the kids with their wooden toothbrushes we made. Other than that working to teach them about nutrition and eating a balanced meal. Working with this I've introduced Moringa which is a tree that provides lots of protein, calcium, potassium, and vitamins. Also working on a proposal to bring kids from my village to a national park along with some other volunteers. What else? Just harvested my popcorn and last of my tomatoes. My rice is also still growing and should be harvested in the next month is my guess. If you heard about the cyclone that hit here just wanted to say everything is fine as for where I am we did experience some high winds and rain but everyone is fine, so no worries.
Hope you all had a great New Years and yay for Barack!! Keep in touch!