This week was site visit. Site visit= all of the volunteers take public transportation to visit the place where they will be living for the two years after training. Your coutnerpart takes you to your site and you stay for a week. Then you travel back to your host families house by yourself or meet volunteers in nearby citites and travel back together. I haven’t reached my host family yet, because I am living in southern nations, the Peace Corps got a hotel room for me and some of the other vo;unteers. We are not supposed to travel at night so while it only takes one day to get to the capital they were afraid that we wouldnt make it to our host families (who live about 1-2hours away from the capital) in time.
Which means, internet (although it is not free) and burgers for me!!
Anywho back to this week.
This week is challenging for many volutneers because it is the first time you are truly alone. You are away from your hsot familiy, volunteers, and the teachers. You are lucky to find someone who speaks any English while you are in town. This week is the second highest time during a Peace Corps service that people early terminate (meaning they end their service and go home). Fortunately, I had the love and support of my family and friends who called me at all hours of the day/night. 🙂 This helped me cope with the loneliness. I also knew that there were those that could not call that were thinking about me. 🙂 By the end of the week, rumors that a forengi was in town began to spread and people began to introduce themselves to me 🙂
Those that read my previous blog remember that I was having bowel problems before I went to site (if this topic makes you uncomfortable please skipy ahead). Because I had to take a 7 hour bus drive to site, I needed to make sure I got that under control and take a medication that would stop me from using the restroom. Well, this worked perfectly and I was able to reach site with no problems. Unfortunately, over the next couple of days my problem returned and changed colors. I had to call the doctor and he told me to go to my nearest clinic for a stool exam. At the stool exam, they gave me a piece of 2×2 paper that you catch it on and a tube the size of a needle that you are supposed to put it in. -_- Of course, I couldn’t go at that time. So, I devised a plan. I decided that I would go home, use the bathroom in a bag and bring it. This means I have to carry it across town (I hadn’t thought about that part). So I do my business and walk to the clinic. No my horror, a little girl came up to me and tried to see what was in the bag. She grabbed at it and kept trying to look. I had to snatch it back. Then I arrive t the clinic and am told that it is not fresh enough. Of course I can’t go again. So I wait until the next day, and by this time I am finally back to normal and call it quits.
Besides being sick, the first couple of days were difficult. I am used to walking around with my lighter skinned volunteers, so people notice me. People tend to come up and introduce themselves to forengi’s and try and make them feel welcome. This week, since I was alone, I got a few looks but for the most part I was ignored. It was difficult to meet people because no one really paid me any mind. I called another volunteer and asked him how he dealt with this. He gave me a ton of good advice including going to people and introducing myself. My counterpart was supposed to take me around town and introduce me to the mayor, police, and other people in town. But, that didn’t go as planned. We don’t see eye to eye very well. He yells when he gets frustrated and he treats me like a child (even holds my hand when i cross the streets).He did take me to the post office box to open up a box. But, I have very little patience for him and by that time my patience was wearing thin. Fortunately, I met the principal of the school and he was able to show me around town. I also was introduced to an 8th grade calss that I agreed to teach conversational English 2x a week.
Yesterday my landlord kept telling me to come with her somewhere, but she wouldn’t tell me where. Although, I kept asking. So I walked with her thinking maybe we are going to an evening church service. She stops walking and her 11 year old son comes up and continues to walk me to who knows where. He takes me in a room with an old man, some young girls, and a bed. The little boy leaves and my first thought was “oh my god they are going to make me into a sex slave.” CLEARLY, I watch WAY too much Law and Order SUV. I don’t know where I am and I don’t know how to get home. I start to get up to try and leave but the man stops me. Eventually, the son and my landlord return and I feel better. They just wanted to serve me coffee and food. I felt like an idiot, with a crazy imagination. I may be a little paranoid lol, that’s what TV does to you.