Wednesday, April 30, 2008

You Know You're in the Peace Corps When...

This past week has definitely been a “Peace Corps” week. One of the highlights includes finding a snake chilling out on my kitchen table. I thought I was going to have a heart attack as I watched my host uncle kill it with a machete. He then thought it would be funny to throw the dead snake at me. Luckily, he missed. Not funny, Tio! Then, a couple of days later, the thunderstorms began. My host mom and I rushed to move everything up high as water started leaking under the doors. The winds were soo strong that it was blowing through the house and raining through the cracks between the roof and block. Although it only lasted about 20 minutes, it took down trees and power lines. We have been without electricity and running water ever since. That night, another storm blew in. This time, water dripped through the tin roof and onto my bed while I was trying to sleep. Let’s just say I didn’t get much sleep that night! Now I use a plastic cover on top of my mosquito net to prevent future rain from leaking in. And finally, as I was using the bathroom last night in the dark, a cockroach crawled up my pant leg! I’m still grossed out thinking about it. Yuck! These are just some of the adventures of Peace Corps.

So a lot has happened since the last time I wrote. Let me update you. My work has been going pretty good. I have been a little frustrated with my women’s nutrition course. Only four women showed up to the first meeting, but I managed to get thirteen to come to the next one. It is so difficult to motivate my community to be assertive, but little by little, they are coming around. My youth group is going great! Twenty-eight youth showed up to the first meeting and I was impressed with the amount of participation. I also started teaching a couple of English classes. Pretty much the whole community wants to learn English, so I’ll probably be teaching classes throughout my service. Right now, the students are really enjoying the class and I hear them singing “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” walking down the street.

I had my first visitor a couple of weeks ago! A cousin of my sister’s best friend wanted to come down to the DR to check out Peace Corps Dominican Republic. He was a TEFL Peace Corps volunteer in Cameroon from 2002-04. We had a great time while he was here. We checked out the sites of Santo Domingo, spent a few days in my campo, and headed to the beach for a couple of days. In my campo, he helped me out with my youth group, baby weighing, and even taught my English class. He was amazed at how much American influence is in this country, especially in the capital. As I don’t know my way around the capital very well and it was late when he arrived, I made him eat at Pizza Hut the first night. He was then shocked to find out that I could buy Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and sliced bread at the supermarket in the nearest village. When he asked me how I washed my clothes, I told him that we have these things called “machines.” I think he was speechless for a minute. Life in Cameroon was a little different. But although there is a lot of American influence here, I don’t find too much in my campo. It’s nice to be away from the US for a couple of years to experience a completely different culture and way of living, but I admit that I do enjoy going to the capital every now and then to eat McDonalds or TGIFridays. It helps with the homesickness.

So has spring finally arrived back at home? I hope everyone made it through the rough winter all right. Just think, pretty soon you’ll be having the same weather that I have been experiencing for the past seven months. I still can’t get used to this endless summer thing! What month is it??

1 comment:

bob said...

hi ! kim , looks like you're having quite an adventure...stay safe...we enjoyed your blog...looking forward to hearing from you sat....we're already back from our was great ..i'll try to send you some , mom & dad