Saturday, April 27, 2013

115 km, 3 hours flat.

I may have made the most efficient trip into town ever. I hope my return trip doesn't counterbalance it. 
I slipped out by the light if the full moon at 6 a.m. and only startled one person, my Babba, who spotted me with the flashlight as I was locking up.  A familiar bush path, a herd of roaming cows, and two new blisters later, I ended the trip to the road with a run. With my retuned (hardly finesse) senses, I heard a car clunking down the road a little faster than I was moving. I got by the regulars with a quick hello, signaled the car with a hiss and jumped into the open backdoor like a boss. Gratifying win.
If only I had a picture of my situation for the next 25 km. The full car offered an unoccupied oil-bucket between inward-facing benches as a seat, which punctuated me with 11 pairs of knees and three chickens. 
I got my nature walk in and then played a balancing game on the kOLDa road all before 8! 
I didn't mark my luck until I got the sixth seat of seven in the next and final car. Just enough of a window for an egg sandwich. 115 km in 3 hours flat, I think we have a new record. 
2 points Homa.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Who opened the oven... Wind.

Hello world, 
Mood music: Sunrise by Norah Jones

It's bedtime, so tucked into my mosquito net I am. I just want to review some of the highlights of the week. 

1) Thursday has been deemed my village tour day. I'm central to 9 villages of interest in a 5 km radius. To keep work pinned to a timeline and people somewhat accountable for their work interests, I more or less make rounds to see them all. It's no small task with everyone insisting to hang out until the next meal.  I think they appreciate my "quick" stops judging by the thank you gifts I've been receiving. After playful banter, anyone at a garden or field will surely offer leaves or okra for sauce, seasonally ripe mangoes and cashews, and anything I show interest in (mint). I've also received sacks of the staple corn and rice, alive chickens, and hunted bush bird. Sometimes it's easier to accept such things. I need veggies on days when we only have plain rice at home; I crave the fruit when my water bottle isn't enough. 

During one of these days, I hung out for tea and a surprise breakfast while we talked about future village developments. Typical village breakfast is nothing to write home about, but the bowl they set out was not regular white rice. After a year and a half, I finally discovered the low sugar Guinean rice. It has a better taste and texture and is more nutritional. Year and a half. 
There are so many grain alternatives available at competitive prices, but for reasons I can't understand, plain white rice seems to be preferred. The monotony, the bland diet is what drives me to poor choices. 
Latest: eating spoonfuls of Gatorade powder. Red and delicious. 

2) We joined forces in my dear friend, Sarah's village to put on one last health event before her departure. We (wo)manned 4 stations: diarrhea and simple ORS, family planning and birth control, malaria and homemade repellant, and first aid. 
Why was there a sound system at the school at 9am?! The morning was noisy since the teachers agreed to toss in a last minute World Vision AIDS event. Whenever a situation with the chance if confrontation arises, it's ignored as long as possible. Under the bed it goes.They are incredibly peaceful people, but at the cost of simple problem solving. After the initial annoyance,  we continued mostly as planned since the other representatives were fashionably late. At the diarrhea station I got to practice bathroom humor in Pulaar with the ~75 kids that came through.  That will cheer you up. 

The giddiness nearly dropped from that air. Sarah has put in 2 years, so was also packing up and saying bitter sweet goodbyes. She had a bucket of giveaways that we couldn't take enough of under her peer pressure. I'll think of you every time I use a Qtip.? 
The Goodbye Cycle is for another blog. 

Safe travels my love monkey.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

To bring a little balance

I love when preconceptions fall short. I love stretching a foot out beyond the warmed sheets. I love stopping in my tracks to contemplate nature. I love my toes buried deep in sand and my hands coated with the earthy smell of soil. I love both the fondness of a familiar place and the excitement of exploring somewhere new. I love the deep, filling breath before a sigh. I love when I'm brave enough to be vulnerable. I love when people close their eyes and smile to let the sun dance on their full face. I love when those eyes realize they're loved. I love sleepy mumbles and fluffy morning cheeks. I love awkward silences that don't need to be explained. I fall in love with people when they're beautiful disasters. I fall in love with their honesty and their quirks and their foolish impulses.