Out of the many things I’ve learned being a Peace Corps volunteer, those that stand out recently are that eating bread and cheese for four days straight is not good on the digestive system, East African wedding receptions also have the electric slide as the token dance and Congolese doctors like to play scrabble after work…French Scrabble that is. Oh, I almost forgot this too…watching eight shows of the Gossip Girl in one day can seriously lead a Peace Corps girl into depression.
So, I haven’t updated this blog in a while. I hope you haven’t worried too much. I haven’t died or mysteriously dropped out of the Peace Corps or immigrated to Kenya to live among the Maasai tribe. I’m still gainfully employed as a Peace Corps community health volunteer in my village’s health center.
Latest events: 38 fresh Peace Corps volunteers just arrived in Rwanda, bringing our total number of volunteers up to around 90. If Rwanda’s population density is around 300 people per square kilometer, it must also be around 100 Peace Corps volunteers per square kilometer too. I personally have three Peace Corps volunteers that are less than twenty kilometers from me. Ironically, I never see them except when we travel to the capital, which is around 150 km away.
In other news, I have been traveling around lately. My villagers, at one point, thought I had gone back to America. In February, I was sent to Nairobi, Kenya for about a week to have a medical procedure done. Nothing too serious but it was still dramatically called a “medical evacuation.” For me, it turned out to be a mostly all-expenses paid trip to a city that has everything a girl could wish for. And by everything, I mean shopping malls, cinemas, and Mexican food. If you’ve never been to Nairobi, I seriously recommend a visit. It is amazing. I probably gained five pounds because I insisted on eating pizza and ice cream every single day I was there. I also racked up around $150 in credit card charges because of all the shopping and restaurant dining. I even went to a Brazilian steakhouse. You know, those restaurants where the waiters dress like South American cowboys and bring around skewers of meat to your table until you feel like you want to die of fullness and sheer happiness. They even had alligator meat, which was quite tasty.
Tell you what, after being in pseudo America for a week, it was really weird going back to Rwanda and my village. Really weird. It kinda got me thinking about the things we love most in life and how many times, they are small, unimportant things like ice cream. We don’t even realize that until they are gone. I thought that going to the Peace Corps would make me realize the triviality of all that stuff. Instead, it just showed me that the smallest things, like paper towels and wearing jeans, maybe aren’t necessary but they bring a person closer to home.