Monday, November 29, 2010

You Know You're a Peace Corps Volunteer in Africa when...

"Life in the Peace Corps will not be easy... ... it will be rich and satisfying..." ~John F. Kennedy
quote taken from longer quote found on this link

There is a YouTube video entitled You know you're a Peace Corps volunteer in Africa when...
The following is a transcript of the video (with some of my commentary in parenthesis following some of the statements).

..walking around holding a roll of toilet paper seems like a completely normal thing to do.
..Sitting under a tree watching goats graze is considered a "productive day" (or Camels, camels are people too.) stare when you see a white person you don't know (My favorite game to play in town is Mzungu spotting - which is to say spotting the foreigner I don't know and speculating about who they are and what they're doing. I try to introduce myself when possible too to get the scoop.)
..the length of time it takes you to walk anywhere is wholy dependent on how many people happen to be in their yards along the way
..knee length skirts are shocking, but toplessness is not (toplessness is not a thing in Kenya but knee length skirts are rather shocking to see.)
..two weeks, three countries, and three changes of clothes in a backpack seems about right (100% true; in fact one week's travel is about 2 shirts and 1 trouser in the backpack )
..seeing a movie in a theatre is a good bargain, but buying a book is an unthinkable expense (well usually yes, but it's because books are ridiculously expensive, as compared to watching a movie. plus we've got a nice library in the PC office and books are traded regularly between PCVS) have come to realize that the monkeys in the park's play pretty much the same role as squirrels in America but you persist in taking pictures of them anyway (they're just too quite!)
..there is a rooster you would like to kill, if only he weren't dangerously close to your size (I wouldn't kill it but maybe duct tape its beak shut in the morning...if it wasn't "dangerously close to my size"...) are considered the eminent expert on professional wrestling dispite being able to count you're WWE viewing sessions on one hand are outraged whenever the fare for a 30 minute taxi ride goes up 30 cents US dollars are not outraged whenever your 30 minute taxi ride takes 2 hours are stuck in an overcrowded bus for 10 hours in 120 degree heat and no one is willing to open the windows for fear of catching the flu can identify an otherwise unmarked stretch of road by the pattern of the potholes
..when walking down the street, small children shout "white person" and point at you but as you walk towards them they run away screaming in terror find government employees sleeping on the floor of their offices in the middle of the work day
..when buying clothes you think "how hard would this be to wash in a bucket?"
..the fact that peptobismal turns vomit black is a standard and essential element of your knowledge base
..showering every day seems like a decorative vacation live in an almost constant state of existential anxiety about whether or not you are driving on the wrong side of the road no matter which side you happen to be on're cognizant of being the worst dressed person in your village and you don't care double up on words beyond the standard shop shop and now now so that such phrases as soon soon, past past, long long, and hot hot are part in parcel with your everyday vocabulary
..if you have to choose between whether you would rather loose your passport or your adapter you would choose the passport (I can see why this may be the case in general, but in my circumstances it's just too much hassle if I loose my passport)
..30 kilometers is considered a pretty short distance don't think twice about going potty in a plastic bag at night as a way to avoid leaving your hut have so many random bags that when you travel you look like a gypsy will drink and enjoy anything that is cold (including: camel milk, goat milk, cow milk, water, fruit juice, etc.)
..if you're taking public transport and your lap is empty, there is always room for more people immediately loose your ability to estimate distances and waving your hand towards a certain place is considered giving directions
..if a problem arises, your first reaction is a single big long sigh secretly enjoy African pop music including Klito (sp?) and KwasaKwasa (sp?) enjoy eating maize meal and even order it at restaurants're menstrual cycle coincides with the moon cycle
..basically, you have no shame can never act more crazy than your African counterparts already think you are
..spiders are no longer the enemy, but your trusted ally in the constant battle against bugs let complete strangers crash at your place just because they speak English (yes I am a member of CouchSurfing so that if sommeone who speaks English happens to stop through town they can crash with me for a day or two)'ve lost track of how many marriage proposals you've received. know how to make alcohol with local ingredients
..a long work day is six hours distinguish between your Peace Corps family and your American family
..those eggs have been sitting out in the sun all day, sure i'll take two realize that every village must have its token crazy person stare at foriegn tourists as much as the locals
..when you actually realize you miss having a salad
..when you know if someone at your site says "yes" it means "definitely not", "maybe" means "probably not" and "no" means "no"
..when you have a story for every possible topic in life that starts with "when I lived in Africa..."

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