Tuesday, July 20, 2010

tour de gambia

so it may not come as a suprise to anyone that the tour de france is not as popular as the world cup here. i know, i know. however, as a longtime tour fan, i am itching to catch some race coverage. i've been living vicariously through another volunteer, who has seen maybe 2 stages at some taiwanese project headquarters. i also have been travelling a ridiculous amount lately, so i've been checking the versus website.
and i'm obviously upset with contador because andy schleck is by far my favorite rider these days.
but since i've been travelling so much i've been riding my bicycle more than usual. it's been pretty fantastic, especially the other day when i was riding a few villages over to do sea turtle surveys. they start really early, so i was riding my bike into the sunrise, and for once there was no one else on the road-and i mean no one. no other cyclists, no bush taxis, no donkey carts, not even a cow, goat, or sheep. and riding all by myself, in the cool of the morning, watching this incredible sunrise, i had one of those "oh my goodness i'm in africa!" moments. you just get this surge of energy and happiness and feel like maybe you can do anything. and you feel like maybe you're in one of the most beautiful places in the world. it makes everything feel so worth it, and it's exactly what i needed. i didn't have my camera with me, and i think even if i had it would have stayed in my bag. when i was joining the peace corps, everyone was talking about how you find yourself, how much of a journey it is for you. i never really thought of it that way, i viewed it more as a chance to give myself to other people, to learn how to help from the bottom-up. but watching that sunrise all alone, in a time when i hadn't really been by myself for so long, is something i never knew i needed. what i'm trying to say is, no matter where you are, sometimes you need to appreciate something completely beautiful all by yourself, and internalize that moment. the rest of the day, even though there was the normal stress (and more) and i was tired, i felt myself glowing from that golden moment. i'm not saying i'll be getting on my bike at 5:30 every morning, i'm just saying i'm not going to be complaining next time i have to.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

this explains a lot.

yikes. so i had this thing on my back that we all thought was a staph (staff?) infection, but it turns out i had a run-in with the almighty rove beetle. if you want to see what my back kind of looks like, check out the first picture and then imagine the area right below your (my) shoulderblade looking like that. if you're kind of squeamish, don't even look.
yes, it is a little comfort that the creature had to die for all this to happen. but only a little. anyways, think good thoughts. and pray this doesn't happen again.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

the rains are here.

the rains have begun. i was really excited for the rains to come, while most of my host family was not. i thought they weren't excited because the rain means it's time to get working in the fields (nobody's lazy during rainy season). but now that we are a few weeks in, i am seeing that rainy season definitely has it's negatives as well as it's positive points. i'll list a few for you...
pro- it's not as hot. when the rain is falling and right afterwards.
con-it's super, super humid before it does rain. apparently it's been more humid than usual this year so skin infections are running rampant on our volunteer flesh. send dial soap!
pro-everything is getting really, really green. we actually have grass now! i didn't even think that was possible.
con-EVERYTHING is getting really, really green. there is so much mold popping up everywhere.
pro-i don't have to go to the well nearly as often.
con- rainy season = creepy crawly season. oh hello giant spiders, roaches, scorpions, and enormous red bugs. and other assorted beasts.
pro-trees are growing
con-stagnant water everywhere-mosquito breeding grounds
pro-opportunity for malaria education!
so overall i still think it's a win. i'll keep you posted. i haven't stepped in too many terrible puddles yet, and the sand has been nicely packed by the rain. but the puddles here are a new level of gross, you really never know what's under that murky water.
and you really can't beat raindrops on the corrugate. it's such a great sound. and the cool breeze that accompanies them is quite simply heaven. also...we have fantastic thunderstorms. you should all come see it.