Friday, August 29, 2008

I've been doing lots of work

As you can tell from my pictures, if you've looked at them, over the last few weeks I've been really busy: teaching health classes, English class, teaching women in my and two other volunteers' villages how to make neem lotion and baby porridge, weighing babies, and helping to plant a mango orchard (okay, really all I did was take pictures of the mango planting).
While I was out at the mango planting, the president of the local Association of Health Agents asked me to help the association get funding to buy some bikes, wheelbarrows, rakes, and other items, to help support their village cleanup and health class activities.  I thought it sounded like a pretty decent idea, so I'm looking into doing a Peace Corps Partnership proposal.  (Which if it goes through, means I will soon be hitting up all my friends and family for money - watch out!)
But the morning after the mango planting, when I saw my village counterpart and told him about the proposal idea, he got really mad.  He told me I should be bringing money to the village before I go helping anyone else get funding.  I've been in my village for a year and a half and haven't done anything for them so far!
Which made me really mad.  I haven't done anything?  What about all the health and English classes?  What about all the money that people (my counterpart more than anyone) have "borrowed" from me and never paid back?

That fight hasn't been resolved yet.  I'm still going to try to do the proposal, but I'm not sure right now if I'm going to bother with continuing health and English classes in my village.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I'm a real Volunteer now!

Finally I have become a real Peace Corps Volunteer: I got my first parasites of my very own - amoebas, and maybe giardia.  Not to worry, I am taking meds and they will be gone soon.  I feel like this is a Peace Corps rite of passage that I have finally made it to.

New photos!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Man-eating rat

Written Monday, 4 August 2008

A few days ago I was sitting in the Peace Corps house in Tamba,
watching a movie, when I felt something bite my toe. Of course I
jumped and yelled, so by the time I got around to looking down to see
what it was, it had run away. I thought it was a mouse – our house is
overrun with them. But a little later, as I was finishing my movie
(with my feet pulled out of reach on my chair), it came out and hung
out long enough for me to get a good look at it – a rat! Gross,
gross, gross.

Some of the other volunteers had recently said that there was a rat in
the house now, but I thought they were exaggerating and it was a big
mouse. But this was definitely a rat. Luckily its bite hadn't broken
my skin, or I would have been high-tailing it to Dakar to get myself
some shots for rabies and bubonic plague and anything else I could

When one of the boys came to Tamba yesterday I told him about the rat
and asked him to try to buy some poison or something and kill it. We
hadn't managed to find strong enough poison in any of the stores
nearby yet, but this morning when I woke up he told me that he had
trapped the rat in our garbage can. And then a little later our
security guard killed it for us.

So, the current score is: Volunteers: 1. Tamba house rodents:
approximately 1000. But I've gotten pretty used to the mice now; if
we can keep the house rat-free, I think I'll be happy. The war is
still on with the devil-cat in my hut, though.