Chris, Chelsea, Mikayla and I have an inherited Irish friend that we got connected with by PCVs of the past. She is absolutely fabulous. She has lived in the area for 8 years now and has opened up her home to us which is a slice of of the Western world- ac, an oven, and her big heart. A group of us went to her house the other night to make homemade lasagna where we did things like grind meat through a hand-grinder because meat is not sold that way here. We also got to hang with six other Americans! They are Georgetown grad students doing a research study over here for ten weeks. It was great spending time with them, however I think it made the four of realize that we might be getting a bit strange… The Georgetown students looked so clean and shiny whereas we were wind-burt, dust-bitten (if that is a thing- we have it), sun tanned, and covered in a layer of dirt because those bucket baths just don’t do the trick sometimes. Our conversations also made us realize how far we have come in terms if what is “normal” for us which wasn’t normal 4 months ago. Things like doing battle with camel spiders are nbd, talking about bowl movements over meals, having no idea about new American cultural references or news, sleeping in ovens (our houses at then end of 110 degree days) or under the stars with roosters and goats carrying on, being on Africa time, going days without power, handling our daily marriage proposals with humor and suave, knowing the local lingo and hangout spots, witnessing what we used to consider bizarre behavior like people eating live chicken heads and it not shocking us. It was a time of laughter and a slight. confidence booster. We have adapted and are doing this this thing. Yeah !
A few days ago our Irish friend also took us to the local babies’ home where she has been volunteering for years. It was so touching. It’s built on the African family system, so even if the babies don’t have mothers, the extended family usually takes them in and raises them. There were 16 babies total and almost all of them were there because the family couldn’t afford to buy baby formula (it’s very expensive) and the mother couldn’t breast feed for whatever reason. So the babies come with a “carer” – a family member that lives with them at the home and cares for them along the way. They usually stay until the baby is 3 and can eat regular food. The munchkins were so cute. It’s biking distance from our home so Chris and I can go cuddle them anytime!