On Friday I didn’t go to school because I felt tired. I was sleep deprived and the plague of human frailty bore down upon me until I felt brittle and weak. I also really needed to do my laundry and we happened to have running water all day Friday. This is a gift, this seldom happens, and when it does happen I like to take advantage of the opportunity. Peace Corps puts a person into a community so that they can live life like the locals that they are trying to help. This allows the Volunteer to sympathize with their counterparts and help address the problem from a more empathetic standpoint.
Peace Corps is also full of crap. That is what they write on the brochure when you join the service but it is not how it ends in reality. When it comes down to it what really happens; move to a country, a volunteer from the community, a counterpart, is chosen that will be your ‘go-to’ person for two years, and that person is then tasked to find you a furnished home within a certain timespan. Depending on how productive your counterpart is really determines your living situation. My counterpart couldn’t really care and the first place that we were placed had no hot water, no washing machine, and no where to hang clothes inside during winter.
Eventually we moved to a new place that had hot water and places to hang clothes. This was a big improvement for us and we celebrated. Then we brought in our roommate who brought with her bed bugs. Now washing clothes is in high demand to make sure we kill all the bastard eggs. This process takes a long time because we do not have a washing machine. I was at my school and I showed a fellow teacher a picture of my clothes in a pot on the stove and she immediately said to me, ‘That’s absurd. Why not use a washing machine? It would be much easier, yes?’
Well, yes, yes it would. But we don’t have a washing machine. In fact I am the only person in my community that doesn’t have a washing machine. I’ve been asked by several teachers why I don’t buy a washing machine and I told them, ‘I’m a volunteer, I don’t get paid.’ They still don’t seem to understand. When people think of Americans they think of money and all the glamorous riches we possess. The view of American is exactly as it is portrayed on television. They think we drive our cars fast and furious, that we are all packing guns and will just shoot up stores or hold people at ransom if we want, that our criminals are super smart because they have to be better than our CSI teams, that high school is a strange and musical place and that even poor Americans are rich and still own nice homes.
Suffice it to say I dragged my feet all weekend from being tired and despite getting a lot of broken sleep last night I feel even worse this morning than I did on Friday. I never like it when my lie turns into truth. Right now my treatment consists of me buying orange juice and jugging it because we had to throw our other medicines out due to potential contamination from the bed bug treatment and I am still waiting for my Peace Corps doctor to tell me what the Russian equivalents are for, well, everything. Here is to hoping I survive another day.