Thursday, November 29, 2007


i'd like to note that it's not always fun and games. i'm not always the happy PCV laughing things off and willing to take on whatever is thrown at me. in fact, i get angry a lot and i can usually count on my emotions fluctuating throughout the day. luckily i have learned how to maintain my calm and can generally give off the appearance of being stable (so that my villagers don't think i'm a nutcase) even when i feel like i'm going nuts on the inside.

i get mad when i can't get any peace and quiet. ever. with 13 people -- including myself and 8 children under the age of 8 -- living here, it is a constant cacophony of crying, screaming, yelling, lecturing, laughing, hollering, & bickering.

i'm pissed that i still don't have a grasp of this language and sometimes feel like i never will and sound like an idiot whenever i talk.

i get annoyed when i hear my name called for the 500th time in an hour (my own fault because i can't get a grasp of this language and don't know when i'm being spoken to unless somebody says my name first).

i get agitated when i am out in the fields just trying to gather peanuts and the wind won't stop blowing dust and dirt and sand into my eyes. (i intend on planting windbreaks everywhere.)

i get fed up when it is 2AM and i'm crouched over a goddamn hole in the ground crapping out my life because i drank some shady water because i was absolutely parched and it was either die of dehydration or risk getting the runs.

i get angry every time i want to buy something -- even something as simple as a fork -- i have to argue and bargain the price down because the consequences of a real fucked up history of foreigners in this country has led to the belief that all toubabs have money and subsequently everybody can jack up the cost of things to more than double its price just because i'm not senegalese.

i get outraged when i think about how the president has spent the money creating an arbitrary new senate that essentially is for the purposes of giving his cronies jobs and therefore, exuberant salaries, when the children here have no schools to attend, don't know basic hygiene like bathing and brushing their teeth, are malnourished, and have inadequate, if any, healthcare.

i get particularly furious when there are times that i have absolutely no idea what to do with myself and i feel completely aimless, useless, and unaccomplished and as if i am just a waste of space and resources.

so a lot of the times i am angry and frustrated but then i remember that it wasn't like i was never angry in new york. life pissed me off there too. late subways, homelessness, overindulgence, a starbucks on every freakin' corner, bad drivers, everything costing me an arm and a leg with absolutely no chance to bargain. there were plenty of times in new york when i didn't know what to do with myself but there was the internet and tv and other forms of mindless entertainment that would help mask that feeling of inadequacy.

it is then that i tell myself to suck it up, breathe, step outside of my hut and gaze at the three ancient baobabs i live under, and do something as simple as going down to the valley to pick some bissap or help shell peanuts and soon enough i am laughing and conversing and being teased and remembering that there is close to nothing that could take me away from this so that i could run the post-graduate rat race in a city comprised of steel, glass, and concrete. one day i will go back to that and be glad of it, but for now, i think i'll just look up and see the millions of stars scattered across the sky and remember that the children will stop crying and eventually fall asleep and that everything's going to be okay.

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