Wednesday, June 27, 2012

scabs, scalds, and snot

I'm extremely thankful that I know myself well enough to know when to say when.  I'm also thankful that my limit is so ridiculously stretched out from this whole ridiculous experience that my line rarely gets crossed.  I am infinitely resilient, but I absolutely admit to having my moments. Two weekends ago sucked.  I definitely felt down, and was disappointed to realize that the ups and downs of Peace Corps still exist 17 months into service. The roller coaster that volunteers will describe is so so real and can drop towards the ground with little to no warning. My crap ass weekend was capped off by a week of physical injuries which included falling off the sidewalk that runs the perimeter of my house, instantly followed by dumping my laundry basin on my head. The kicker is that cleaning generally makes me feel better so I thought doing some wash would help me get through the funk. I ended up with a nasty scrape on my knee that would rival that of a 6 year old boy. It still hasn't healed fully and I'm pretty sure I'm going to have a silver dollar sized scar on my knee cap.

I decided the next day (Monday) that I would no longer mope about the crap I'd been moping about and set out to have a fantastic week. It worked for the most part, I kind of established a girl's club with all my female students, sold a bunch of AFRI-Pads, and talked to my principal about writing a grant to host a reproductive health workshop. I started teaching a mini-class on how to make pretty posters for classroom walls. (This is a whole other story, but rest assured it ends with a quizzical facial expression and a sigh).  This high lasted until Wednesday when I rushed home to avoid the rain, failed to avoid the rain, and then decided to make pumpkin bread since the weather was cool, wet, and reminded me of fall.  I burned the crap out of all the fingers on my right hand lifting the steam filled lid from my dutch oven. Effff. I ended up sleeping with a bowl of rainwater (colder than tap water) next to my bed in which to keep my poor singed fingers submerged. They're not healed all the way either. Knowing that bad things generally come in threes, I was paranoid for a few days, sure that my bus would tip over or that I'd slip and fall into my pit latrine. You can't understand how relieved (and also miserable) I was when an upper respiratory infection took up residence in my sinus cavity and left me feeling like I'd been hit by a truck. Being sick sucks. Being sick when you're 8,000 miles away from home, in a place where you have to carry 20L jerry cans of water to your house if you're thirsty, where everyone stares at you and personal space is literally a foreign concept, where few to zero things are truly comfortable, and where hot showers are a maybe-once-a-month occurrence, brings tears to my eyes. Thankfully not a lot of tears, just enough to make my nose get even stuffier. Bother. I am currently sitting in a hostel room in Kampala, just having completed my mid-service medical exam and getting a ten-day supply of antibiotics. (The malaria test was negative). Back up to the village tomorrow, I'm seriously going to miss these hot showers, but at least I found some raspberry-echinacea tea to take back with me. 

My college has five Irish girls staying for two months, they're students at teacher colleges and on a summer study program.  It kind of showed me how far I've come in country when they came to me asking how to catch the rats that began plaguing them upon arrival, and how to do basic house-holdy stuff that I've gotten really good at. Who knew that the skills I'd acquire and share during Peace Corps would include "how to be domestic as a westerner living in Uganda." 

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