Friday, June 15, 2007

I'll Tell You What I was Thinking

I was thinking that there was more to life than what I was living. I was thinking that I had fallen into a bit of a rut that was making me forget that we don't live in a perfect world and that there are things that I can do. I was thinking that I knew well in advance that I was going to have a rough time and I decided as well well in advance that I was going to meet that head on... ADAPT AND OVERCOME!

So now that we know what I was thinking let's look at the problems presenting themselves at the moment and of course I'm fielding suggestions on overcoming them. Now I may have no earthly idea what I'm doing right now, but let's be honest... when you all started out on whatever you started out on, you didn't either and if you say you did... well, you're lying and we all know that's a bad thing right? To quote Pope Julius III "Do you not know, my son, with what little understanding the world is ruled?" Scary and encouraging at the same time. :)

Problem 1...

... I'm in a farming community that is very dispersed. There are groups of houses that are scattered all over the hills. It takes me about a 30 to 45 min walk to get to the next grouping of houses. There is no central place in town except for the school and only some of the children go there. My job is community health education and it's hard to do that when you have to go door to door... especially when you don't exactly have a "door to door" personality. This I think is going to be my biggest challenge over the next two years to doing meaningful work here. Unlike a lot of other volunteers, I don't have any associations to work with, whatever I do, I'm going to have to figure it out.

Problem 2...

... Finding housing. Inshallah this will only be a problem for another month. It's all farms so it's not like I can just rent an apartment. I'm going to have to either keep living with my host family which presents obvious difficulties or rent a part of someone's house. The other option available is to move in to the house they built for the teacher by the school. That has two other problems though... well three. The first two are minor compared to the third. One is that the house is trashed. There are no windows, the door is broken and there are holes in the walls, not to mention there is trash everywhere. I could clean it up though... if one of my friends here can build a house, I can clean one up. Two is that I would have to get permission from the Ministry of Education. That's just paperwork and all that fun stuff though... doable. The biggest problem with that I forsee is that it is on the school property which means I would be dealing with kids ALL THE TIME! I don't know if I can handle that on a day to day basis.

Problem 3...

... Language. That's going to come. I'm figuring that one out as we go.

Now let's talk about the Awesome parts of my valley... I'm going to go ahead and say that the night sky is themost spectacular thing I've seen in my life. No one has electricity so there are no lights anywhere at night except the onces shining down from lightyears away. I went out last night with my guitar after having a particularly rough day and sang for hours until of course a pack of wolves started howling at me from the field across the way and I didn't wait around to see if my music would tame them.

I had my first health talk yesterday in the Berber language and of all the major health problems affecting this area... typhoid, malaria, and so on... I spent a half hour explaining to my host brother that what was on his face was not chicken pox, but acne and that he needed to start washing his face/hair, blah blah blah. Comical right? The funny part was trying to explain the hormones of a teenage kid in a language that calls the entire arm, wrist, hand, etc. by one word, "afus".

1 comment:

Alexis said...

I want you to know I really enjoy your posts. Your problems- based on what you describe, it seems to me that living in the teacher house is perhaps more of a solution than a problem. If you did that, you would be around kids all the time, but that is both a language learning tool (kids have endless patience with that) and also a connection to the wider community. if you can do health education with children, you can work your way to the family. It is the same principle that churches use in VBS and schools use with PTA. Anyway, of course it will be work, but I believe you can handle it! Think about the impact you have on a future generation if you get to them when they are young!!! That was the first thing that came to my mind. Blessings to you.