15 November 2007

when life seems absurd, all you need is some laughter.

As I sat at Negash Lodge, enjoying the company of some of my favorite
volunteers in our free time before dark, a mischievous little monkey
sat quietly in the tree above our table. He strategically positioned
himself on his branch, steadied himself, whipped it out, and proceeded
to let loose a stream of urine. Not a little stream, either, a
full-on golden thunderstorm. Our reaction time was admirable,
however, as Aly yelped an "oh shit!" and we all leapt over our chairs
to safety, immediate breaking into hysterical laughter as the
Ethiopian staff stared in confusion, gazed up into the tree, back down
at the puddle on the table, and suddenly understood. TIA. (this is
Africa.)

... in other news ...

Despite the monkey pee, I'm currently in a splendidly good mood after
several carefully executed surprises (although the recent influx of
candy and letters hasn't hurt either!). Several of us were discussing
how much we love a particular volunteer who wasn't getting enough
mail, in our humble opinions, so we wrote an onslaught of letters to
surprise him. It's going to be wildly amusing for us when they all
arrive en masse with no return addresses. I threw in an extra for
another friend just for the additional entertainment. Then, Sinead
and I rallied the kids in her neighborhood for a massive photo project
involving them holding up signs wishing her friend luck at his
wrestling tournament this weekend. Steph and I have also organized a
massive firenji movie night at the hotel (well, late afternoon, given
our curfews), complete with popcorn. Grandma's Boy comes to Ethiopia.
If you haven't seen it, go rent it.

The kids and creepy men have been particularly spunky lately, and I
accidently stumbled across a man beating up a mentally retarded kid
yesterday, but I can't be brought down. It's times like this I'm
reminded why I'm here. Sure, it's not always fun and rarely easy, but
no one ever said it would be. You don't join the Peace Corps for a
vacation (well, maybe if you get assigned to a beach in Fiji, but I've
heard even that's no cakewalk!). Hard times and obnoxious children
aside, this is one of the most rewarding, albeit challenging, things
I'll ever do. I've learned more about myself and what I'm capable of
in a few short weeks here than in four years of college. The group of
people I'm currently working with are, without exception, incredible.
New programs have an attrition rate around 50%, but we've only lost
one and no one is showing signs of lagging. Our six returned
volunteers say that this is the most dedicated (stubborn, perhaps?)
group they've ever seen, and I can believe it.

For those concerned that us lonely PCVs wouldn't be able to properly
binge on Thanksgiving, have no fear. Our country director, Peter, has
invited us all to his house in Addis, where we've been assured we will
be stuffed to the brim with the closest thing to a Thanksgiving feast
we can conjure up here. I'm really just hoping for apple pie since
dad already sent the can of olives. That doesn't mean we won't still
be freshly arrived at our sites and alone on Christmas, though, so
keep sending those care packages!

Site announcements come on Monday - I'll finally know where I'm going
and have a vague sense of what I'll be actually doing!

Candace, I've been listening to Reema's "Love on a Bike" mix for days
now and have only been able to identify four songs. You wouldn't
happen to have a song/artist list, would you now? I'd love you
forever if you'd email it to me!

It's been a windfall mail week. Mom, your box and a letter made it -
thanks for everything, especially the Reese's! Grandma, I got your
letter as well. Matt N and Nick, you two seriously made my day on
Tuesday - I never expected to hear from y'all that quickly, and both
on the same day! Love you guys! Jess - thank you for an excellent
package (Haribo = delicious, and there really aren't words to describe
how excited I was when I saw the Oreos!) and thank your class for the
great letters! I had a whole afternoon of entertainment reading them.
A response is on the way, and I should have pictures online by
Christmas.

1 comment:

Anthony said...

Sounds like you're having a fun time. Ethiopia is such a cool country