You know you are a Peace Corps Volunteer when:
Not "showering" for 3 (or more) days doesn't bother you and you are completely comfortable talking about it
The ability to get a good radio station at your house incites jealousy (same can be said with a good cell phone/internet signal)
9pm is a late night
You are in your twenties (or older) and you aren't allowed to drive
Happy Valentines Day Everyone!
To celebrate I'd like to share a poem I wrote with you all -
We've been together for many years
We are such a good fit
I wasn't sure about you when we first met
Now time has passed and I know we'll be together until the end
Always together - always on a new adventure
With miles of road, layers of dust, even by air and water we've endured
Meeting new people and learning together
As we age, we stay together, accepting and going on
With memories behind us and possibilities before us
My friend, helper and lifeline -
I've titled that one - Ode to my backpack
Shane liked it and was convinced it should go on the blog - and I'm sure it is appropriate for today!
Today is also my Grandma Fox's birthday, I'm so excited that she gets to celebrate another year and our thoughts are with her. Also, we just got a Valentines day card and two other treats in the mail. the card was sent at the begining of January! We've got big plans to celebrate with a bottle of bubbly Rosé wine, the movie Date Night and we are even splurging on take out pizza! This is big stuff for a Peace Corps date:-) We still aren't sure what to do for Shane's birthday which is coming up on Sunday. However, he's very happy because his Ju jit su classes are starting tomorrow.
We spent last week both at a Peace Corps training and I got to go to one of the big water project dams in Lesotho called Mohale Dam for the WFP staff retreat. I'll post a few more photos on the "Real Thing" page. We had several days of heavy rain at the end of the week so the photos at Mohale show that. We came back on Saturday via the bus. Please keep in mind that there is pretty much one road that goes through all of the districts in the north and one other that goes through all of the districts in the south -let's talk about infrastructure. We live in the highlands, as a result we have to pass through several districts to get out to ours - we are pretty much at the end of the road. There is one spot on our main road where, I think last summer, a large gully formed from eroding soil, washing out that portion of the tar road. To go around they made a dirt road going down and around and coming back up to the main road. Well, we were on the bus going along, when it stopped - and all of the people started getting off pretty much in the middle of nowhere. We were confused and of course everything was in Sesotho, so we followed people over to look at the road, and the dirt road bypass had been partly washed out from all of the rain we'd had. It was too narrow and fragile for the bus to go across, and there wasn't any way around it! - This was a bit crazy after we had been talking about Disaster Risk Reduction and preparedness at the WFP meeting! Fortunately a few men went down and started piling up stones (of course some decided to watch instead, along with all of the women) but the photo above is of them working together - Shane is standing next to the guy on top of the culvert and his superviosr is wearing black to the right of the bush. It ended up being a successful endeavor but it was another wake up call of how lucky we are in the states, even with the flooding in ND the infrastructure was there to make it possible to go around even if it was inconvinient, and how vulnerable you can be without alternatives. The WFP trucks can't pass either if the bus can't... Also, I was really glad we are here with Peace Corps because if we wouldn't have been able to get back to our house, I'm sure we would have had their support.
Another interesting tidbit, is that Shane had his first experience with BEDBUGS! He picked them up from the place we usually stay in Maseru - he counted and had more than 45 bites on one leg! Fortunately, one of the things that was not on the packing list for Lesotho that we brought was part of our collection of homeopathic remedies - we had one for bug bites and it really helped especially when combined with the anti-itch stuff fromt he Med kit. I did ask him to always remember who still loved him when he was covered in bedbug bites.
So, I'll write a little bit about our diet here, but will do a to be continued next time (again)...
You can see from the pictures that we are enjoying the challenge presented to us by the limitations of availability. We do what we can though, finding a lot in our village and in town, but also knowing what we need to get when we go to Maseru (wine) and even from S.A. if possible. Also, we love the infusions from our care packages of things we just can't get at all here. One of our biggest challenges is protein, we aren't very comfortable eating meat here - not just because of our usual reasons (industrial animal farming is present is S.A. and most of the meat comes from there) but other, general food safety reasons - such as consistency of refrigeration and other things. So, fortunately we are accustomed to getting protein from other sources. Unfortunately, without a refrig and because, again of cost and availability we aren't able to get as much variety of protein from things like nuts and seeds, yogurt, cheese and quinoa as we did in America. So, we eat a lot of dry legumes pinto beans and peas we can get here and we found a store in Maseru that even has chickpeas, we've even been eating lentils too, but we can't buy them locally - we sometimes sprout them for extra deliciousness. We also eat a lot of eggs, like, we buy them in trays of 30 and usually finish that in a week and a half! Same goes with peanut butter, we've eaten something like 15kgs of PB since being at site. We also buy the boxed UHT milk in .5L boxes in packs of ten, again lasting about a week and a half. I liked Central America because you could get chocolate UHT milk and the chocolate would cover up the wierd UHT taste. I've thought about trying to make cheese here with the funny tasting milk, but still not sure how that would work out especially with culturing it.
I can see that this has gotten a bit long, so we'll leave off here. I promise we'll wrap up this subject in the next post, so we can talk more and show more pictures of our projects!
Lots of love and happiness to you today,
Shane and Carol