Tuesday, March 23, 2010

How are you doing with the peeing?

Peace only, for lack of a better response. And it is a sort of peace: there's no violence and war, which is the only linguistic alternative in Pulaar of which I am aware. There's just this emotional exhaustion that comes from always feeling like I need to be doing more than I'm doing. This is related to my observation that my ability to cope with life here seems to be indexed to exactly how overwhelming it is: I keep thinking it will get easier, but instead, as I become better at Sénégal...Sénégal becomes better at me. Duh, this is inevitable, because as I become more comfortable, I push the envelope.

I exhaust myself. Knowing is half the battle. The other halves are figuring out how to change it, finding a way to thermoregulate, and finding a way to easily supplement my nutrition, and growing a thicker skin to people asking me for things.

Up on the mountain for 11 days, two days in, I locked myself entirely out of my cell phone. This is impressive, but more importantly left me entirely without any way to communicate in English for 9 days. I think my Pulaar got better, I know that I was quite talkative when I came down the mountain. With a bad cold.

"It's because of your sleeping in the wind, Mariama," Aissatou told me. "It's because you sleep outside," my Senegalese mom said. I'm getting to the point where I don't mind contradicting people in a culturally insensitive way. "No," I told them, "It's because Luis and Binta do not wash their hands with soap and reach into my section of the bowl." They argued with me a little bit, and in the end we agreed that both of those factors were a cause. Sleeping in a dry wind certainly does not help, it's true.

As soon as I got back to site, Tamba once again began hitting me up for money for the hut. After a lot of anger and a very small breakdown at Katie's house, I finally gave in. This prompted extremely fast action: by the time I get back (this afternoon or tomorrow), my new hut will be ready for me to move in, except for my painting the walls and them finding me a backyard fence. Oh, and my latrine fence is such that I can greet people and pee at the same time. Once, one of the neighbors even said "Good morning, Mariama! Did you sleep in peace? How are you doing with the peeing?" It was a kid. But, still. No, I'm not joking.

The Eye Clinic is going on right now in Kédougou: a couple American doctors are doing free cataract-removal surgeries. I've been helping a bit with translation, but it's time to go back up the mountain...I thought today, but now I think, tomorrow.

Oh, and those glasses I went to Dakar to get? The new prescription gives me a headache. This is not the easiest week of Peace Corps, but I didn't come here because I thought it would be easy, and if it were, there'd be no bragging rights. (Yes, I plan to be incredibly fond of bragging when I get back. You're warned?)

1 comment:

C.W. said...

(HUG) At least I'll see you in...three months time? XP And then I can greet you while you pee :D

when I think of you...sometimes the cliched poster of the kitty "hanging in there" comes to mind ;)