Orphanages, complaining, and honey

Rocking out to 80s Box Set.  Nice.

First off, some begging.  Please subscribe to my blog, send on to friends, save and read, read, read.  Thank you kindly.

That said, I have some good news.  Regarding my Orphanage/Center for children with Disabilities:  The prefet of Baham has agreed to hold a conference with the elites to give us the neighboring parcel of land.  Brilliant.  Not only this, we found an engineer who surveyed the land and sent his plans to an architect, for a much better price.  Zacharie (director) took out a loan to pay for it himself.  Sustainability.  By next week, could the proposal be sent to Peace Corps administration for approval?  Does this mean that in two weeks it will be posted on the website, open for all to send in what they will?  Let’s hope!  We have our work cut out for us to put these buildings up and children inside, but I have faith that we can do it.

Now for a little gentle bitching.  I work in a community of 50,000 people (at least) and this means that I cannot work with everyone all the time.   In my village it is normal to give someone a hard time if you haven’t seen them for a couple days.  For instance, you might say to someone, “You’ve abandoned me!  I never see you!”  Well, I’m getting sick of it, frankly.  I know they mean nothing by it, but how dare someone who hardly knows you to try to insinuate that you’ve abandoned your work, when you’ve been working on several projects like I have.  Well, I’m just going to start doing it to people myself.  Giving it out, instead of absorbing the negativity all the time.  Will I be a tougher, newer, improved Liz after this experience.  I certainly hope so!

And finally, I leave you with a photo taken this week during an apiculture class given to a group I work with by CIPCRE a pretty awesome organization in Bafoussam.  Go bees!

Alphonse and Jean Daniel demonstrate modern beekeeping with Kenyan Hives.

On Being Sick in the Peace Corps-Africa-style!

Someone once told me that Peace Corps volunteers who serve in Africa are often known as the “snobs” of the Peace Corps world.  Someone who served in Romania might recount what it was like to have the flu during service, but heaven forbid if this person tells this story in front of RPCV-African country because surely they will then hear, “Yeah, that reminds me of when I got MALARIA…”  Commence eye-rolling, please.  But it’s kind of true.  Currently there is a Cholera epidemic in Cameroon, and there have recently been cases here in the West Region.  Wednesday night I woke up with projectile vomiting and…well…other things as well…that lasted well into Thursday night.  I thought for sure, “Yep, it’s the Cholera.  I’ve got the Cholera.  Please don’t let me die.”  But it wasn’t.  I went to the hospital for some tests just in case, but nope must have been a virus.  You know the kind of sickness that comes around about once a year that you normally think nothing of….   No, here in tropical Africa, everything is Cholera; everything is Typhoid; everything is Malaria.

But sometimes it is those things.  Several of my friends have had malaria (even the ones who take their prophylaxis religiously).  Often, if you are taking your prophylaxis you will find that while painful, and all around sucky, you will survive especially if you get to the med center and commence treatment in a timely manner.  Other things, not necessarily as dangerous, but still quite unique to my situation are: chiggars (nasty insect which burrows into your skin, often feet, and then lays an egg sack and continues to swell 90% of her original size.  This sucker itches.  She doesn’t suck the blood.  Oh no.  She releases a toxin that basically dissolves your skin which she then eats up.  You must cut open and squeeze her and all her millions of babies out.  I have had 3.)  Mango flies (These babies like to lay their eggs in your wet clothes hanging outside.  You then take your dry clothes and put them on.  Several days later you notice a worm wriggling around just under your skin.  You then faint.  Only way to avoid these is to let your clothes dry for 4 days without touching them, or iron.)  Intestinal worms.  (Yeah we all know these, and yep I had them.  Best to regularly de-worm yourself as often as you do the family pet.)  Driver ants.  (Horrible beasts!  These wandering nomads will eat anything in their way, including elephants.  They burrow into your skin and eat you inside out.  I have had numerous attacks of my house which I won by constantly having a bottle of Raid near by.  One encounter happened at night at my friend Julie’s house.  I went out to use her latrine and noticed a few ants.  A few minutes later while chatting in her kitchen, my right leg suddenly felt on fire.  My pants flew off as I ran around the house shaking and smacking my leg.  She was amused.)

So there ya have it.  Some scary little buggars which will keep you up at night ;).  But all in all, it’s really not that bad in real life as it reads in print.  After all, just 12 hours ago I thought I had Cholera.  I just got back from a jog, and feel fantastic.  Let’s be vigilant, not dramatic.  😀