The winter has brought all sorts of new friends to the area. First of all, my friend Mr. The Electricity Going Out who likes to stop by at least a few times a week usually in the evening when his presence is most appreciated. The other is Mr. Firefly who likes to fly around my room at night and communicates with me via his butt and the blinking light on my ipod. The last friend is actually an entire orchestra- The Tular Bullfrog Symphonic. They perform out in the hills and shoot lasers at each other all night. It’s quite melodious.
The coming of the rainy season has also coincided with several other events that collectively have made the past month or so pretty eventful. On the first night of a training last month, I sat outside with one of my best fellow volunteer friends wishing I could somehow store the cool mountain air in a nifty bottle to be used when I returned home. We talked about the usual (“So who do you like? No, I mean like like like?”) and amidst some discussion about our views on development and our role here, he informed me that he had come to the definitive decision to leave the country and go home to his family. In complete understanding of his reasons for departing, I was still deeply saddened to see him go. Its not at all the external factors that make this experience difficult. We all expected, and in my case have grown to really love, a change of pace, unreliable electricity, outdoor almost everything except your bed, goat poop in front of the door every morning, loneliness, frustration, etc. But when you really start to grapple with whether or not your work in your community is best for the people of that community and best for you, things get all tangled up in your brain and home seems really far away.
[We’re going to make this sort of a “Choose your Own Adventure” kind of blog post. If you would like to hear more of my rambling and ranting on this subject, scroll now to the post “Arrested Development” below. If not, please continue reading.]
Each place and each person is different and he made the right choice to do what his heart told him to do and I know it wasn’t easy. After a day or two of annoying myself with my moping and some reflecting on how I felt about everything, I actually got a little burst of energy and optimism that hasn’t fully exhausted yet. I might even go out on the skinny limb to say that I’ve been pretty busy with work. At least planning my day around World Cup games makes it seem that way. Don’t you wish you were watching in a country where the only thing they care about is soccer all the time, not just for 4 weeks every 4 years?
Life was proceeding well and work was picking up…and then old lady Agatha decided to pop in and brought 6 days of relentless rain with her. On the 5th day of that rain I hopped on a bus with soaking wet socks (in my top 5 worst feelings ever) and rode to the capital to pick up my… mom! After months of anticipation, seeing her walk through the terminal was surreal and amazing. We got some delicious food at a restaurant where we could gawk at salsa dancers, booked a room at a fancy hotel, I took a piping hot shower, and we took full advantage of the free cocktails that came with the reservation. Over the player piano I heard the news that the south was flooding. “Well this should be interesting.”
I woke up the next morning to my neighbors frantically calling to inform me that they were taking as much as they could carry out of my house because the river (1/2 mile away!) had left its banks and was starting to warm its toes by my 1 burner electric stove. They grabbed my computer, my guitar, a stack of books and hit the road. What friends! Geez, amidst the chaos of getting their own families to safe ground, they burdened themselves with my junk. Going back a few paragraphs… I can always think about the amazing friends I have in town, how incredibly lucky I am to call them as such, go drink some coffee with them, kick around the pelota, talk about the heat, and those vines in my brain come untangled a bit. I was pretty worried but the roads were closed and what could I do? Go back to the hotel bar and search for the best response to questions about what I’m going to do with my life.
My muddy, smelly, mosquito ridden house was not the most ideal place to welcome my mother to my life for the past year. We got to work and spent two days clearing out the remnants of the storm and getting rid of the stuff that got ruined (I needed new clothes anyway). What a mom eh?! Unfortunately that didn’t leave much time for meeting all the people that wanted to meet her and I will not stop hearing about it until the day I leave. I try to explain that my mom is the only person I know who can get sunburned while being indoors and therefore only had a few hours at dusk to meet everyone. They are still angry. We did have some nice dinners with great people and I think it was comforting for my mom to see the loving care with which the community treats me. I don’t think she loved the heat (see picture). But all in all I’d say it was a success- I got to see my mommy and she got to make sure that I haven’t withered away into skinny oblivion.
-I have a camera now (expect more pictures!)
-I have my recording equipment now (expect recordings from The Shampoo Effect as well as my solo side project soon!)