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Thursday, January 26, 2012

A quick quote!

“The real marriage of true minds is for any two people to possess a sense of humor or irony pitched in exactly the same key, so that their joint glances on any subject cross like interarching searchlights.”

-Edith Wharton

Swear-in, when I officially become a Peace Corps Volunteer, is only a week away! Too bad it also means I (once again) have to leave a bunch of incredible people behind to strike out on my own. Best of luck to all the other G21 trainees!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Things Kenny Has (That No One Else Does)

Kenny, the King of Africa
       -       A gold-plated western-style toilet.
-       Trips to Paris to practice his French on the weekends.
-       Women fanning him and feeding him peeled grapes.
-       A guard at his door to keep anyone from stealing his things.
-       A/C
-       Umbrella drinks with rum.
-       Kenny doesn’t have to walk anywhere – even in his house they have 4 hired men who carry him from room to room.
-       A personal chauffeur (that puts his bike on a rack so he can say he rode to school).
-       A man whose only job is to follow him around, telling people who he is and what he does.
-       A vast array of colognes to pick from each morning, keeping him smelling fresh as a daisy.
-       No respect for limited water resources because his house is stocked with bottles of Fiji water.
-       A swimming pool.
-       A bouncy house for his birthday.
-       A personal baker – honestly he’s getting tired of fresh-baked bread every day.
-       A Thermarest bed with one side set to 1, the other set to 5, so he can just roll over in the night when he gets uncomfortable.
-       His solar charger could power the entire village, but he just uses it to watch TV.
-       The still-unreleased end to the Twilight Saga? Kenny’s seen it a couple times, and says it’s not that great.
-       A unicorn and a rollercoaster.
-       The waterfall we went to was pretty boring – it’s got nothing on his backyard water feature.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Accepting a Simpler Life

Daft Punk is playing at my house!

Standing in the front door.

My bedroom...
And the bathroom!

These last few weeks have been busy! I journeyed halfway across Guinea and back, cleaned up midnight vomit (not my own), ate a pound of red dust on a taxi ride, and taught some Guinean children the Electric Slide. I befriended the Port Chief and one of his four wives; she taught me how to deep-fry a fish over the fire. My counterpart, Tounkara, begrudgingly tried the peanut butter and banana sandwich that I said would change his life (it didn’t). The fishermen taught me how to repair nets, I got multiple lessons about fish names, and Tounkara even thinks I’ll be able to find someone to help me prepare a goat. In Koba, I became accustomed to a lack of electricity, a lack of running water, and a constant barrage of attention from local children. It was everything I’d imagined and more.
An old tree that sits over the port.
But in the end I had to come back.
With a stop for Internet along the way!
After site visit, all the stories of everyone else’s perks and amenities started to flood in. Now’s when I have to be careful; when I let my guard down and let my thoughts wander, when I lost sight of my goals and dwell on my baser inclinations, I start to get jealous of what other people have. Jealousy is such an ugly and useless emotion, especially when it’s directed towards things that can’t be changed. I really couldn’t have asked for a better site. The whole time I was there, I kept discovering new places to explore and new people to meet, and had a running list of all the new projects and activities that I couldn’t wait to start. So why am I getting fussy over, for example, a lack of Internet? More and more I have to remind myself: “Though many had ventured farther and done so in finer style, my journey was my own.” My journey is still in progress, and it’s useless to draw comparisons to the opportunities and exploits of others. And besides, the best strategy to combat internal jealousy is to have such a rollicking good time of my own that everyone else starts seething with envy.
Food makes things bearable.
So that’s it. There may be low moments in the future, but I’ll only be reporting on the things that make you dance in your seat and wish to God that you’d had the clanging brass balls that I do; that you’d had the burning passion and reckless courage to do what I’ve done.
Stay chill, y'all

Sunshine, Laughing