Sunday, May 2, 2010

High Tide Low Tide

Yesterday started out pretty neutral. I woke up and ate breakfast (leftover rice and beans - Asian style), then got ready for my 9:00 meeting with some local man about goat husbandry. By 11:30 sharp, the man had picked me up and we were on our way. It was raining, so we had to keep the windows down as we drove around for the next 1-2 hours picking up various people who weren't yet ready for our 9:00 meeting. After the car was packed (6 wet people in a compact with no AC and the windows up) we drove down one of the most poorly maintained roads with some of the most nauseating driving I have seen in Africa for at least a week, and that is really saying something. After arriving at the project site, I picked the smallest, least fresh pile of goat shit I could find to stand in and listen to two men argue in a language I didn't understand (not Runyankore or English) about whether one man's goats were fit enough for the government to buy and give to the other man for free. After the meeting was over, I explained to the driver that I was not feeling well enough to continue on. I withheld the information that this was probably 50% attributable to his driving and 50% attributable to the neglect of my rumbling stomach. After another hour ride back, my mood at this point could have best been described as "pissy".

Once out of the car, the tide began to turn almost immediately. The sun came out (literally) as I sat down to a nice heaping plate of rice and beans (African-style). I then went home, ate about 5 kabaragara which are these amazing little yellow bananas, listened to a Podcast of the Avett Brothers live in concert (thanks to Ally and Charlene for the intro), and laid around for about an hour. Next, I got up and went to my new gym and, despite the 6'X15' space available for the dozen of us there, got in an amazing workout. I then went to the store where I bought some yogurt and a scone which I slathered in peanut-butter and inhaled while listening to another live concert Podcast - this time Passion Pit. After a few more hours and a few more kabaragara, I made dinner. I had eaten rice and beans African-style or Asian-style for the last four meals in a row so I decided to treat myself and switch things up. After an immensely satisfying bowl of Mexican-style rice and beans with a Decemberists Podcast to keep me company, I watched the movie Avatar (available locally for the low, low price of UGX 2,ooo = $1), ate the rest of my kabaragara, and called it a night

Peace Corps is a dichotomy. I've heard it said a by a number of more experienced PC Volunteers, but it is just now starting to become apparent to me. I have never had such peaks and valleys in the course of a single day. In one moment I might be completely lost and miserable. An anxiety will grip me and I'll start to wonder what on earth possessed me to do this. Am I out of my mind? A few hours later, you might find me at peace with everything, grinning from ear to ear. Sometimes the change is brought on by something as simple as the sun coming out or getting a decent meal, and sometimes it is brought on by seemingly nothing at all. I guess that's just the nature of this thing. Sometimes it feels like you're on top of the world, and sometimes it feels like nothing is ever going to go your way. I think the trick will be to learn as much as I can from the bad and soak up as much as I can from the good.

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