Six Months

Trip Start Dec 01, 2007
Trip End Mar 27, 2010

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Flag of Guinea  ,
Tuesday, June 3, 2008

I have been in Guinea for 6 months! I can hardly believe it.  It has been over 6 months since I've eaten Mexican food, or Wendy's or Penn Station or Chipotle or Panera.  It has been 6 months since I've slept under a comforter, used a machine to wash my clothes, driven a car or gone to a movie theater. But in that 6 months I have done things that I never would have thought possible. I've eaten cow brains, bush rat and chicken neck. I've biked over 60 miles.  I've navigated the country in a bush taxi by myself by miming. I'm learning a tribal language. I live in a hut; I cook over charcoal and I've danced and sung in front of perfect strangers. It's been difficult. I've cried, a lot and I miss you all so much. But when I look back at this experience in 10 years, it's not going to be the 10 hour bush taxi ride that I took from Mamou to Kissidougou where I sat next to a military man with a machine gun cradled between his legs nor the day I spent sobbing after the Peace Corps killed my cat.  I'm going to remember this weekend where I sat with Katie in her hut and we made spaghetti and garlic bread.  I'll remember hidding behind Alison's mosquito net laughing because ants had swarmed the house and we couldn't walk on the ground.  I'll remember my friends and that is what's important.
That being said my trip to Kankan and Mandiana have been wonderful.  The week before I left site was utter torture.  I think you know I have bed bugs. So I slept in my hammock while I disinfected my hut.  I left the mattress in the sun. I boiled my bedding and clothing. I sprayed an entire can of insecticide to where I could not longer breathe. After 2 days I'm ready to sleep in my bed.  So that night I go to the Health Center where a little boy had just fallen out of a mango tree and had a split lip. I heald the flashlight while it was stitched up but I started to feel a little nauseous and so I handed off the flashlight and went to sit down but before I sat I passed out and hit the bench I was about to sit on.  I have some pretty bruises from that tumble.  Then I went to bed and woke up with the flu. Hundred degree temperature, alternating sweating and chills, headache, cough and runny nose.  I tried to get out of bed because guess what? bed bugs were still terrorizing me.  But I was too weak so I suffered in bed.  The next night a storm came through and ripped a portion of my roof right off and it happened to be the portion that was right over my bed.  So there I was...sick, bed bug bitten and now wet.  It was not pleasant.  And when Annaliese came by 4 days later I could not jump in that Peace Corps car fast enough.  I'm at my wits end.  This is the third time my roof has blown off and I've been bed bug infested for over a month.  At the end of the week I'm going back but this time I'm taking reinforcements.  David is coming with me and he is Mr. Fix It so I trust he will solve all of my problems. First I am burning my mattress.  I'm fumigating my hut.  I'm varnishing all the wood.  I will win, they will die. In a foreign country you should always have one place that you can go to on a daily basis that lets you feel safe.  Someplace Africa can't penetrate.  That was my bed and now it's been taken away.  It is emotionally exhausting not feeling safe or at home anywhere. I'm hoping that will change soon.  It will take quite a bit of work on my part but hopefully one day I will feel safe at site. Happy six months :) Oh and Happy Birthday Katie. I love you!!!
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