sitting on the red sand floor watching a woman sweep red sand over red sand for 20 minutes has become a typical past time here in small town Mali.
someone sounding like Dylan just came on the radio bringing me a timely reality check.
homestay, the three month training period of peace corps, has proven it self to be insanely difficult. bodily waste management in this country is terrible to realize: the nyugen (ni - ye - gan) is the malian bathroom. a low walled, 4x6ft, roofless building with a 5in diameter hole, easily missed and rarely cleaned, sits over a giant soakpit, deep, hole... needless to say, roaches reside happily here, as do snakes, rodents and black flies.
the smell, especially after a heavy rain followed by 100+F temperatures is nauseating and dizzying. the flies add a hole new level of outside when they fan your body with flaps from their thousands of tiny little filthy wings.
being the only trainee with constipation has been a godsend. granted i had to be admitted to the clinic for tests and assistance, i'm known throughout the lands as the "lucky one" for you see constipation does not desire multiple (in some cases 25 trips) to the hole everyday. nay, instead i've spent probably the least amount of time getting to know my knees as anyone else.
apologies for the vulgarity - but this is life south of the Sahel and east of the Niger.
alas, its been over a month now. at first, the noises of the language all ran together, overwhelmed my ears and troubled my capacity. exhausting, terrible, overwhelming, the language and its obvious barriers filled me with fear. at first, th sound of the rains was drowning, deafening and filled me with fear. at first, the millions of cricket chirps through the darkness was overwhelming, exhausting, and filled me with defeat.
i say at first knowing that these sounds will, too, soon pass. they will become memories. hopefully distant and understood. they will make me stronger, a deeper sleeper, a better listener, a better citizen... at first