seek and find

Saturday, February 21, 2009

there is a funk in the air, it could just be those piles of trash they're burning...

the weather changes, moods swing, sands drift, wheels turn and still i'm in Mali.

i'd like to say that the last few weeks have been exceptionally difficult but i'm pretty sure it just has not yet become easy. living here, missing home, adjusting, learning, trying, failing, none of it is easy and no one ever said it would be... but come on.

as a group my stage was put through 3 weeks of training at a Peace Corps property in Bamako. we got plucked from our newly found sense of security within our little communities and put with roommates in small huts, forced through endless bureaucratic nonsensical meetings and were made to evaluate our first 4 months in village and were openly judged on our said actions. some training, huh?
as soon as it was over i found myself back in Morgoula, back in my huts, back to the severe importance of routine and happy about it.

happy about it until the following events occurred.
a)i was charged by a mad bull; mucous and Flem flipping from his nostrils i was merely filling up a 20 liter water jug and he was insanely thirsty. i flung the jug in his face and ducked out of the way just in time to watch the dust settle on the tattered and empty remains of the yellow former-gas tank. he found shade later and slept standing against a wall.
b)that event prompted some tears, some fears and a nap. i was jolted awake from mid day slumber by loud cracks and small chunks of my wall and ceiling falling onto my bed, screaming coming from outside. i ran before realizing what was happening and made it just in time to see and "catch" a 10 or 11 year old boy, donning an Alanis Morriset 1998 concert tshirt, whipping a snake to death on the side of my hut. completely petrified he showed me its carcass, 4.5 feet long, narrow and pointed, i realized it was one of two snakes, both residing in mango trees, identical down to the shape of the head, which was smashed, one of which is simple like a garden snake and the other one of the top three deadliest snakes in West Africa. i was terrified into tears and dry heaves. the snake was making his way into my hut through a hole inbetween the ceiling and wall, about 5 feet from when my head rests in bed. yikes.
c)a few days later, feeling stronger and more confident and somewhat "over" the previous events, i went to work with Wurdia in her garden. its beautiful there, fenced by small, fat trees that produce olive like fruits, thick with greens and reds, Dabi plays amongst 3 foot tomato plants and Tene, my little sister, washes laundry while Wurdia waters, prunes and inspects her produce. i was helping pull water from the well when my god forsaken chacos (not recommended ever for anything unless you want your once lovely, long and lean feet to become flat, wide and unsightly) and their 2" sole got stuck, forcing me to trip --- OVER THE WELL. with my feet on one side and my arms on the other, i realized that my waist and thighs were across the hole, 37feet deep to an immeasurably deep well, it happened in about 10 seconds and before i knew it i was in the dirt, Wurdia, Tene and Dabi crying and screaming, me frozen and wide eyed.
d)just days after my well scare, Dabi fell into a state of incomprehensible fevers, chills, shakes and moans. his little nails cutting deep scrapes into his belly, which was hot to the touch - like a baked potato still in its foil. he refused food, milk, water and comfort. i have never seen someone suffer like this. someone so small and so undeserving. so innocent and so unlucky. fear and rage and nausea over whelmed my days in village, watching as he slowly slipped from consciousness into coma and as i reiterated time and time again the importance of water and of the doctor and as his parents, who i respect and care deeply for, continued to say "tomorrow, tomorrow we will go" and never with the intention of leaving their village.
i am terrified that he will be dead when i get back. scared more by the idea that he may not be, but will inevitably have permanent internal damage due to the 104 temperatures and severe dehydration.
its a terribly sad day when you wish death upon a 3 year old...
it breaks my heart, it hurts my heart, i cry as i type this tragic truth, this terrible reality and yet, here i sit, at a cafe in Segou, a swimming pool not 20 yards away and type.
i do not act.
i do not know how to.
i sit and i type and complain about the heat when a child that i care for dies.

there is funk in the air and i don't know how to deal with it.

Monday, February 16, 2009

merci, i ni ce, thank you

i think its time for a general thank you.
you all have been more than accommodating and helpful and fulfilling. i've received 6loofas, multitudes of chap sticks, toiletries, yoga pants, pictures, magazine clippings, a recorder,tuna pouches, books and other goodies. thank you all so much. its not only a relief to be clean,
soothed, well read and with taut facial skin (hopefully for a long time), but also to know that people are reading
this thing. thats comforting and amazing. thank you. thank you. thank you.

due to the recent and abrupt change in weather, here is a new list of goodies i would cherish here south of the
`self adhesive envelopes
`drink mixes (ocean spray, propel, etc)
`candies, along the lines of chews (starbursts, mambas, etc)
`fashion magazines or even just clippings (an amazing realization that i've had and that Ryan will be very pleased with
is that gossip magazines are sadly scavenged upon arrival but so often we see the same pictures, the same people, the
same idiots with money and first, can't figure out what the date of the magazine was published and then and get sad -
sad for American pop culture, sad for the energy lost and the inevitable disappointment
thats felt upon finishing them, mostly though, we're sad for the beautifully designed clothes whose beauty is lost upon
some of those aforementioned idiots); please do remember the grave difference between say W and OK! or Elle and People.
the former are examples of true fashion magazines and the latter are the gossip columns that are seeming to fail me
`granola bars (if you haven't tried a Trio bar yet - YOU MUST)
`and the most difficult thing to encourage but the most priceless of all of the things sent - letters; handwritten, typed,
chicken scratched, i don't care. a letter received in this country is more nourishing than any vitamin supplement or
water enhancement methode, although those will suffice.
`dried fruit - always a hit.
`good pens for better letters
two sad notes that i'm throwing in at the end here because they are both tragic in their own ways and i'm still without all the facts and without the words to speak of them just yet.
Dabi, my lovely little man in village (see below), is in a Malaria induced coma in village right now. his mother is too poor to pay for medical care so i footed the bill (a whopping $2) and ensured her that the doctor in the neighboring village could in fact help Dabi recover. i have been out of village for 3 days now and the health volunteer in said village has reported no sign of his arrival yet. this, to me, means that he may have passed away which is right now just too much to handle. it could, also, mean that he recovered on his own but the chances of that are slim and i'm realistic.
over the past 5 months in Mourgoula i've taken over 700 photos, 10 videos and made lots of promises to friends and family, both here and at home, about the delivery of said pictures. alas, upon arrival in the united states, the camera card was empty.

like i said these are two touchy (and very different) topics that i'm currently having some serious trouble dealing with. when there is a change in either situation, i'll let you all know.