Ok, things are OK. I’m in the middle of learning the real reason that I’m in Mourgoula and it’s riddled with government corruption, an NGO’s mislead money and a ribbon cutting that should never have been. My village essentially got taken for granted, an NGO has done a terrible job and has lost a huge hunk of money – money to finish a 100m dam that is currently ruining 100acres of good crop land – to a corrupt government official (or two) and I am now stuck in the middle.
It’s a curious life, the life of a PC volunteer. One riddled with mislead information, some completely left out to justify a mistake or a mishap, and when confronted answered with a shoulder shrug and the saying “that’s how it goes here.”
I’m currently disgusted and embarrassed and confused, three things I don’t face well, and I’m in need of a vacation…
(Enter parents of the year Bob and Mohanta Schalit)
I’m leaving for Paris in under a week; on board my flight is my best friend, Megan Pilli, and our dear friend, Tim Carroll. Upon arrival we intend on getting a fountain soda, a big Mac and a large order of real French fries. We intend on having champagne and watching Oscar winners and enjoying the recycled air… like we never have before.
They are headed to the US and the UK, respectively, and so while waiting out their layovers will hopefully get to meet my fantastic parentals. They arrive a few hours after us, hopefully giving us the time to prep and speak English enough to be understood by those outside of the world of Bambara. We’ll see.
Anyway, I hope this explains a little bit of my downward spiral. My writing has become a bit more depressing and I hope you know that it is with honesty and clarity that I write but it is unfair to only write the bad and the ugly… where is the good?
Here we go:
a) My tailor is amazing and Cindy Canchola, Reagan South and Ginger (what is your last name, my dear friend) are all about to realize it. He can do anything and is a good man.
b) Dabi is healthy and happy and living a life that only a small West African man can. It’s one of strange privilege and misunderstood priority and I am blessed to be here to watch it.
c) Fisher is awesome and getting him on the phone every day that I have service is one of Ryan’s greatest gifts to me.
d) I’m about to turn 24, while in the company of my beloved parents in the region of Normandy and I’m ready for it. 23 was a great year, but a little long and a little rough around the edges. I’m done with it.
e) My huts are getting new roofs, a process that will be documented (if my camera decides to work again) and my fear of bugs is lessening… slowly.
f)Last time in village, during the sweet, musky hours of wulafe (around 6pm) I was stung on the neck by 3 bees, they dropped off my water bucket down the neck of my shirt (for those Austinites who still read this, it was my joy shirt and I found that painfully ironic. Miss you all.) And the pain was insane and the stiffness was unbearable and the hilarity of it was too much to explain. I was crying from the ridiculousness of the situation and found from it a way to help out the community – we are going to construct a basin around the pump so that water falls into a designated area instead of to the ground, creating a cesspool for disease riddled flies and painfully insistent mosquitoes and furiously thirsty bees, not to mention the ease this will bring to quenching the thirst of (grumpy) cows and sheep and goats and dogs and ducks and, well, you get the picture.
f) Ryan is the love of my life, I’m 23 and I found the love of my life. What could be better?
g)I’ve got people like Megan Pilli, Liza Clark, Dan Dayton and Jon Burgess to get me through all of this crap with a wink, a smile, a meal and less often than wanted a cocktail.
H) I’m ok, I’m healthy, and my hair is growing out and currently looks like those 1980s TV Cop hairdos coveted by today’s comedians. My skin is still is in good condition and I’m learning the gurgles of my body like no one ever should.
I) I’ve still got a sense of humor and that is probably priceless.
j)I miss my dear friends, Janna, Lauren, Ginny, Joe, Brett, Biglow, Ray, Patrick (both of you), Brandon… there are too many to continue but thank you for always being in my thoughts and brightening days and easing me into dreams at night. It’s a wonder that PC doesn’t require you to bring family and friend photos from home – for mental stability if not for anything else.
Anyway, the point is that I’m facing more than I ever thought, dealing with pains and aches and gross bugs (google: whip scorpion – these live in our huts and are fast and furious and apparently only hurtful to your nights sleep), I’m missing more people than I knew I loved and I’m 6000 miles away from the one person I want to see every single day. But I’m doing it in stride, with a hunk of salt and everyday I question why I’m here. But for some reason, one that will hopefully come to light soon, I am still here. I can leave and be happy and start my real life any time I want, but for that one little reason that I still don’t know, I’m still here, sweating out 54C highs and sand storms, and bug attacks, and bad food, and hard work, and painful nostalgia and for what?
I’ll keep you posted…