Friends and family,
I am in the capital city of Kara and have access to a keyboard and Internet. There are so many things I have been meaning to write about, but alas, my laptop is on the fritz, so I have been writing longhand entries that would take up too much time to type out at the moment. Just wanted to say that things are going well if I have not spoken to you in a while. The end of August, nearly six weeks ago now, we swore in as 2016-2018 volunteers at the US Embassy in the capital city of Lome. It was a really rewarding, surreal moment to finally swear in after three months of 50 hr/wk trainings and head off to our respective sites. It was equally difficult to grasp the idea that our close-knit stage would be dispersing throughout the country, alone, and that we would be in-village for a few months before the next occasion came to see one another.
The pace of life here, expectedly, is dramatically slower. There have been moments sitting at home where I have watched sweat beads pool on my forearms at ten in the morning. Consequently, I keep a role of toilet paper on-hand to dab my wrists in order to keep writing. I have cried for joy upon hearing the rumbling of thunder nearby or across the valley, praying the rains would make their way towards my home and fill my rain barrel. “Where there is water, there is life,” says my host father. He could not be more right. I have never felt more wealthy, having a full rain barrel to indulge in a full-bucket, bucket shower. The best moment, however, is watching the dark clouds roll-in, to feel the cool draft of air before a wall of water hits you, and to take your soap in-hand and clean off in the rain.
School starts in a week on the 17th of October. Currently just getting used to living in a small community of 1,600 individuals, 70% of whom speak only Bassar, filling out surveys to collect baseline data for future projects. In my spare time I have been tutoring my host sister in English every other night, running in the mornings to Blink-182’s self-titled album, baking things my family has never eaten before and giving the most basic, unhelpful descriptions of these baked goods: “These are called donuts. Uhh, all cops love them and dip them in their coffee…” handwashing clothes, sweeping up mouse poop, collecting it from around my pillow the night before… all in a full day’s work.
Physically, my body is responding well to all the different microorganisms in the food and water. Diarrhea and vomiting are now a bi-weekly occurence instead of weekly. Emotionally, it feels like high school all over again. In-love one moment, crying for the beauty of a thought you’ve never had before the next, and writing that untainted thought down and sending it to all your friends so that they too can understand the rare beauty you have found in the world. Daydreams are extremely vivid, and memories of the past replay themselves before your eyes in detail you weren’t aware was ever committed to your long-term memory. Food cravings are unreal. I have folder on my phone of food pictures that I flip through at night right before I fall asleep, hoping that those tacos from Baja will be in re-eaten in my dreams.
Okay! My time is up. Wish I could say more, but hopefully will write more frequently than I have been.