If I had the chance I’d ask the world to Dance

I would bet that many of you, myself included, like to believe that you are good, moral people in our hearts.  The kind of person who would stand up against wrong in any form; would catch a bullet for a stranger if in that particular circumstance; would fess up for a catastrophe no matter how humiliating.  Yes, well, today I found myself in a situation and I reacted well below my own expectations.  And I am ashamed.  My perpetually pregnant cat, Pagoda, came in through the window with a lively, wriggly lizard and was playing with it.  Me (no longer a tom boy since the onset of puberty) was completely grossed out and squeamish so asked a neighbor girl playing on the front porch to assist (clue number one that I am not as noble as I’d like to think).  And here’s the whopper: not only did she come in to get that sucker, she came in and proceeded to beat the shit out of it with her legless, armless doll.  That’s right, a skinny young girl beating a lizard on my dining room floor with a Sally Talks A Lot who’s seen better days.  And what did I do during all this?  Stood on a chair and looked away.  Alas.  There it is, I am a despicable human being.  Not only an “animal lover” but stood by and did nothing as a lizard (a namesake!) was bludgeoned to death with a child’s toy–by a child.  This is going to do wonders for my karma.

In another somewhat related note: Perpetually Pregnant Pagoda has become a serial killer and I condone the behavior by cleaning up after her.  Most kills (small mice) are food and I think that’s awesome and nutritious for her, but lately she will bring in a dead rat (and I mean huge stinking rats), decapitate them, disembowel them, and leave the whole mess for me to find in always the secret and surprising location (i.e. bookshelves, under dining room table, etc).  It’s become a rather disturbing pattern, and I have been contemplating turning her in (for her own good of course).  Gosh I hope she doesn’t read this…

A bit o’ good news!  We got the deed for the adjacent parcel of land (finally!) and it’s off to get the plans and budget to post my PCPP and start begging for money.  I’m going to get the price down as low and reasonable as possible, but it’s going to be quite the challenge coming up with the money.  I’m anticipating (and hopefully overestimating) around 20,000 USD for the two buildings.  Can we build an orphanage in less than a year?  I say we can!  Stay attentive for new information.

😀

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

And finally I leave you with some pictures of a funerailles party in Dschang.  This was a funeral held on November 20th for a man who died in 1988.  Yes, you read correctly.  Always a good party! Cheers.

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.  😀