22 February 2008

you're exactly the kind of trouble i need.

Last Thursday, we did an HIV discussion with the Ethiopian Red Cross
staff. They weren't as eager to open a dialog as our previous
community groups of women, but we managed to get them going on the
topic of how to bridge the gap between the plethora of information
available in Ethiopia and actual behavior change. When they all
admitted that they'd never been tested for HIV and many didn't use
condoms, they realized they were the problem. We had a great
discussion about "leading by example," and afterwards, they made plans
to go get tested together. Heartwarming, eh? The slow days aside,
that's what makes this rewarding.

Happy belated Valentine's day - I saw two unsolicited naked penises
from crazy men in 24 hours. One was the town exhibitionist, having a
snack on the side of the road with his pants around his ankles and the
other purposefully whipped it out when he saw me approaching. Didn't
I feel special. For the weekend, we all met up in Debre Zeit for an
Arsi/East Showa zone Peace Corps party. Turns out there's a Mexican
restaurant there, open only on Sundays when the owners come down from
Addis. Whoever's doing the cooking has had some training in the
states. Delicious.

Monday morning, a few of us met with the owner of a string of thirteen
private colleges (Rift Valley University) in our region. He's looking
to bring us on board teaching health classes, running seminars about
HIV/AIDS, and working with the student groups. The Assela campus
doesn't have a formal health program, so we won't be teaching those
classes, but we're going to put together a series of lectures about
different aspects of HIV - biology, social impact, prevention, etc -
to be combined with VCT on campus. I may also be able to teach some
English classes, where I can slide a little education in on the side.
I'm excited. Even better, he also owns a massive guest house in
Adama, which he invited us to use for planning sessions and parties.
It has an oven and hot water. It's the little things.

It's still 85 degrees here, every day. A couple of rain storms, so
sometimes the temperature drops in the mornings, but still warm all
the time. I miss cold weather. Snow would be lovely. I think I've
gone round the bend. I think it's related to the mefloquin (malaria
drugs) - my dreams are getting weirder by the day. I've been
entertaining the notion of a second round in the Peace Corps if I can
get central Asia. I think it's a combination of losing my mind and
hanging out with Candace, who served in Swaziland before this. I've
got a lot of time before that's even a serious consideration, so no
one panic yet.

With Easter coming, I've stuck with my traditional Lent plan and given
up going to church. So far, so good. I'm too much of a heathen for
this holiday, but I certainly do love the candy (see below). Speaking
of heathens and blasphemy, I've been reading The Satanic Verses, and
while it's interesting, I'm not seeing how it warrants a fatwa calling
for Rushdie's death. I suppose my standards for apostasy are higher
than most.

Dan and Nick, I got your letters. Thanks! Matt and Mary, I loved the
books - you guys are the best! Mom, your box made it too.

Wishlist:
-Cheddar goldfish crackers
-Sour cream and onion pringles
-Jelly beans
-Sour jelly bellys
-Those big marshmallow eggs with a thick sugary shell (not Peeps)
-Cadbury eggs
-Malted milk balls
-Kraft mac and cheese
-Chocolate covered gummi bears
-Gummi anything
-Yarn
-Books

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Jess, let me know how the make your own gummi's work out! Do the shoes fit?
Love, mom