Saturday, November 3, 2012

Not Top Ten

This week's "Not Top 10 List"...

1.  Long weekend in Muyenzi. No school on Friday last week meant that we spent Friday night in Ngara and came back to Muyenzi on Saturday. Unfortunately, too much time in this house, ie spending Saturday night and Sunday here seem to be directly related to our general lack of good mood by mid-week.

2.  Giant bug. Literally a monster. In the road by our house. Bright orange, furry, at least 6 inches long and 1 inch in diameter. And it shoots white poison from its butt at least a foot when hit by a rock.

3.  Rationing of resources. Namely, surviving for two days on a ½ bucket of water between us. What do we need water for? Oh, everything…drinking, bathing, cooking, dishes, washing our hands…Monday and Tuesday were rough to say the least.

4.  How long can we go without washing our hair? 8 days. Without washing our bodies? Oh, 9 days. Between lack of water early in the week, and consistently rainy and really cold afternoons, our showers were put off for way too many days. And even once I did finally bathe, it’s such a miserable experience when its cold outside and the water is cold. You’ve seen my shower room right? Exposed to all elements, including wind, rain, lizards, bats, spiders, etc., so am I even clean now? I will keep telling myself yes…

5.  We now have a family of huge a** birds living in our ceiling. They hit the side of the house to announce their arrival, and then romp around disturbing all the bats. Occasionally, they stop walking and we hear their poop fall above our heads. They also like to attack the bats in the middle of the night, which sounds like murder happening above my bed. I’ve had multiple dreams where I’m Katniss Everdeen, and I take out the birds with my bow and arrow. Seriously.

6.  There was a plague of insects in our house Thursday evening. Literally at least 70 moth/locust/flying creatures appeared in the matter of an hour around our do-everything-table. It was the most insane killing spree ever, and after sweeping up the carnage, we went to bed early.

7.  I arrived at school Thursday to find out classes were cancelled because the day would be spent cleaning the environment. The students spent the day carrying bricks, cutting the grass (which is done by hand by long lines of students swinging long sickles in the grass) and cleaning classrooms. I spent the day reading Hunger Games.

8.  General lack of fruit. Or any variety of food for that matter. Basically we eat rice. Pasta. Biscuits. And whatever vegetables we happen to have, which means a lot of tomatoes, carrots, peppers, onions, and eggplant. I’ve been craving bananas all week, but to no avail. We also didn’t get a pineapple this week.

9.  There is a questionable spot on my right big toe. What initially looked like a harmless blister has now turned to a hard black spot. Hmm…

10.  Finally, it’s now the time of year for a locust infestation. On my ride to school on Friday (which was only 45 minutes behind schedule because of the rain), everyone from the villages was out picking up these bugs. Why? Oh apparently they’re a delicacy, boiled or roasted. Apparently they lose their wings and fall to the ground, where they are easy to collect. Also on Friday afternoon, my students were all gathering large bags of locusts from the school grounds. AH! So gross. And word on the street is that it’s only going to get worse in the next few weeks… 

So there you have it. I suppose it’s safe to say that this was a week of low morale for both of us. Lack of communication brings little comfort from home, and when it’s cold and rainy it seems harder to let things just roll off your back. Thankfully, while Marisa and I bond in our crazy love for Africa and ability to laugh at almost everything, we are also able to bond in our misery. We’ll make it this year, of that I am certain. But through it all, I just keep reminding myself that we have a purpose here. I’ll leave you with my inspiration for the week:

One night a man had a dream.
He dreamed he was walking along
the beach with God.

Across the dark sky flashed scenes from his life.
For each scene, he noticed
two sets of footprints in the sand,
one belonging to him and the other to God.

When the last scene of his life flashed before him,
he looked back at the footprints in the sand.
He noticed that many times along the path of his life
there was only one set of footprints.
He also noticed that it happened at the
very lowest and saddest times in his life.
This bothered him and he questioned god about it.

"God, you said that once I decided to follow you,
you'd walk with me all the way.
But I have noticed that during the most
troublesome times in my life there is
only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why when I needed you most
you would leave me."

God replied "My precious, precious child,
I love you and would never leave you.
During your times of trial and suffering,
when you see only one set of footprints in the sand,
it was then that I carried you.

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