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Charleston, SC, United States
"Fear is a stranger to the ways of love. Identify with fear, and you will be a stranger to yourself." -ACIM

Monday, July 11, 2011

This is a test…

A test of my mental and physical health.

Why oh why did Peace Corps decide to keep us here for well over a month after school was over? I still have two weeks to go and it is killing me! No, seriously. For the past month my house has been packed with visiting relatives and now we have 17 people there ALL THE TIME!!!

Let’s break this host-family situation down: Dad, Mom, 3 host-brothers (28, 26, and 16 yrs old), 2 sister-in-laws (26 and 24), 3 nephews (8, 6, and 2 yrs old), 2 host-aunts (55 and 60), host-cousin, his wife and their 9 year old boy and 4 year old daughter. Oh, and me. That’s 17.

That’s 17 people, one outdoor toilet, one table, one sink to wash out of (we haven’t had water for 6 out of the last 11 days), one heat wave in July and no air conditioning to be found for 30 miles.

What’s a typical day like you ask?

6:30 a.m. host-mom gets up to let all the chickens and turkeys out of the coup and likes to sing to them in the morning. This all happens in the courtyard below my open windows. (They have to be open because it’s too hot to sleep with them closed).

7:00 a.m. host-dad and brothers get up to get ready to go to work. They have no concept of standing near one another to talk in the morning so they like to yell across the complex to have conversations in the morning. This of course is intertwined with their hawking of loogies because they all have sinus problems due to the open window issue.

8:00 a.m. The kids get up to see the men off to work and have a good morning cry. That 2-year-old has one hell of a set of lungs on him.

From 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. it’s like living in a zoo. All the birds (turkeys, chickens, swallows, and finches) all have babies right now and the (human) kids just run wild SCREAMING at the top of their lungs all day. The women are just as bad because they are constantly yelling at the kids and then each other since one or the other will be in the back of the house while the others are in the front. Best way to carry on a conversation? YELL!

The men generally get home from work around 6 so this adds to the volume but seems to quiet the women down a bit. Not the kids though. Or the birds.

We usually eat around 7 or 8 but the food has decreased dramatically with the addition of 6 more people. The quality has stayed the same as well which means that I just eat less of the already small amounts of sheep fat and bread that I have been for the past two years.

With the heat being well over 90 these days everyone generally stays in the courtyard until around 1 a.m. (kids included) because it’s cooler out there than it is inside. Add on my insomnia and I’m getting around 3-4 hours of sleep a night these days.

I have a 15 minute period in the morning when my Internet works so I go down, get my (instant) coffee and go up to my room to drink it and check the baseball scores. (Go Braves!) This is the one time in the morning when the men are having their morning tea and the kids aren’t up yet so it is somewhat quiet. This past Saturday morning I was enjoying my 15 minutes when the 4-year-old girl who sleeps with her family across the balcony from me opens their door, comes out, and then right outside my door, drops her pants and takes a leak right there. It was already over 85 outside, I had not slept well in days and so I went through the roof! I went downstairs and in front of the whole family told her mother what had happened. Needless to say she was embarrassed, but not enough to be apologetic about the fact that the one area of the house that is mine now smelt like piss.

AAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!! (2 weeks man. 2 weeks!)

But, this is not to say all is bad in the world. I got to go with three of my friends to see Mt. Kazbegi this past week for a few days. It was a lot cooler up there and we had a good time. This week I’m going to visit another friend of mine for a few days to get a break from the family and the food so that’ll be good. A few of us went into the capital this weekend to play softball for the last time before we head out. (I went 3 for 3 with 2 singles, a ground rule double and 2 walks) Yeah, we score a lot of runs in the win.

So, I’m finding things to do to get me away from the house as much as possible. But, I can’t be gone everyday and I’m just hopping these last 2 weeks fly by.

Can’t wait to get home and see you all. (Well all of you that I can anyway).

Be well and do me a favor, go inside, turn the AC down an extra degree and enjoy it!