2 months in and 3 separate trips to my homestay and I am nearly finished with training. This last time around was pretty draining. After being in Mali for a while my body, mind, and spirit are drained. I’ve been trying to deal with diarrhea again but maybe I should just deal with the fact that I may never feel like I do back in the States. But at least when i’m home if I have a problem I can just hang out on my porcelain throne. When I have a problem here I have to pop a squat and try very hard to maintain my balance so I don’t fall forward or backward while aiming for a hole in the ground.
I’ve been making the last push for language learning as well. I have a language test today where I need to achieve a certain level of proficiency in order to swear in as a volunteer on Thursday. I’m not really too worried but it’s just another thing to think about as if being in Africa wasn’t worrisome enough.
There were many times this time around when I could feel my self-control slipping away. All those social mores i’ve had all my life are suddenly becoming blurred and my behavior more erratic. I find myself becoming desensitized to poverty and if a child starts bothering me then I don’t have a problem slapping him upside the head whereas back in the States I would never do something like that.
Despite all the travails I’ve been through it’s all been worth it and I still look forward to what’s ahead. I’ve already been thinking about how i’m going to hook up my new pad and become the farmer i’ve always wanted to be by raising some chickens, raising goats, and planting a garden.
Our final farewell was bittersweet but appropriate. We went to our village chief’s house where we were greeted with a bit of fanfare (despite the fact that it’s Ramadan). I, of course, was dressed in my traditional Malian garb, and proceeded the sweat like crazy the entire ceremony. A few speeches and a little bit of dancing later and we would bid adieu to our beloved 102-year old village chief. The next day we said our final goodbyes to our friends and family we’ve grown so accustomed to over the past few months. It was almost surreal as we stood there loading the truck, as two months prior we were newbies unloading our stuff in this foreign village. Now we would be leaving as members of the village moving away. I really loved living with my family. We made fun of each other a lot, I played with the young ones all the time, and my host mom made me great food. More than that my host dad was there every step of the way helping me and guiding me. I owe him a debt more than you will ever know. But life goes on. I really hope I have a chance to come back and visit but who knows what the next two years hold for me, or if I even make it two years here in Mali la. I’ve updated my picasa album so you can check out new pics. Enjoy!
Song of the moment: “Change the World” by Eric Clapton