Friday, December 21, 2012

Erin and Tchabawol

I have a post mate.  Her name is Erin and she's kinda awesome.  The best thing about her is that she and I approach the Peace Corps in much the same way.  Everyone here thinks the world of us and that we will revolutionize their lives.  Then they laugh at us when we propose the idea that maybe they should let women outside their compounds and effectively double their workforce.  "Haha, things are just different here".  Yes, yes they are.  We spend a lot of time talking about what exactly we can do or change and how exactly we can do it.  Then we realize that everything is incredibly daunting, nothing we do will really stop poverty or make an oasis in the desert, and we begin to question what the hell we are doing here in the first place.  After that we laugh, make lemonade, and go climb a tree.  When it comes down to it, we are just along for the ride and we are damn well going to enjoy it.

I kind of won the Peace Corps lottery.  Erin lives out in the sticks.  The proverbial one road town.  She miraculously has electricity and a forage nearby, but there the amenities end.  She doesn't even have a weekly market (mine is immense)  and can't really buy anything during the week (I can at least find lettuce, tomato, and onions every day… at the moment).  Not to mention that I am replacing a volunteer so my house was fully furnished.  She spent her moving-in money on a bed, stove, and other essentials.  I had shelves installed, because I don't like bending over and picking up my pots and pans off the floor.

Still, I love her village.  It has that quaint, everyone knows you feel.  Her Fulfulde has left mine in the dust in part because of her need since there really are only two or three people that speak any French in her town.  I've visited a number of villages since I've been here working with the health center and hers is definitely one of the nicer ones.  That owes a great deal to her chief who has worked hard to get electricity and a number of water sources built.  There is still plenty to be done with the agriculture and environment there of course, but she has a good place to work from.

There she is in a tree.  Poor thing won't see this for weeks.

We are making quite the team.  Not because we've collaborated or done any actual work together (that's just nonsense), but because we are both keeping each other sane.  Having someone to share war stories with--in God's own English, no less--on a weekly basis is a life saver.  For me at least.  She might just be visiting because my town has all the food.  Whatever, works for me.  Takes it where I gets it.

1 comment:

  1. Dale, I laughed several times while reading your posting. You both have a great advantage being able to chat and for those moments find a friendly voice that can appreciate your common challenges.
    It's also great to see pictures of her and hear these stories. I think she may have burnt her camera's circuit so we don't know what her hut and area even looks like.

    Any way....keep up the good work, though as you say...making a difference takes time.
    Erin's dad.