am in a better mood this week. Last week I was in the middle of a dip of the Peace Corps roller coaster. Today I feel good because I am on midterm break until Wednesday. I told everyone I was leaving town and now I am free to do whatever I want for five whole days. It’s gonna be great. Lately, I have been getting some flak for not spending more time with the people in my village. It is not really fair of them to say that since I am followed by people yelling mzungu from 6 am when I leave my house till 7pm when I can shut my door and pretend to be busy. Of course the neighbor kids come in my house to laugh at me, and my other neighbors always want a quick chat, so by the time I climb into bed, I am never really relaxed. And if I step outside, I will invariably meet someone who will ask me why I am so anti-social. It is not my fault if Kenyans are ridiculously friendly! Its exhausting. Anyway, now I am free! I am hoping to go into Marsabit forest and see some elephants. That would be awesome. If not, I’ll just do my regular shopping, continue the quest for a cell phone that will work in the network black hole I live in.
On another topic, I have been observing people in my village and despite living here for a couple months, I still feel out of place. I think it is the clothes I wear, but I am too lazy to go to Town and buy a more modest outfit. I am sticking to my knee length skirts, scandalously short sleeves, and uncovered hair. But in case anyone wants to visit, and fit in, I thought I would give you a quick lesson on how to dress to fit into my town. Ladies: First, put on a pretty dress. Something bright, colorful, and fun. Like neon pink. Make sure the dress goes all the way to your feet, for modesty’s sake. Then take another dress, this one must be a muted, un-fun color. Like brown, or black. Make sure this dress is long sleeved and also goes to your feet, again for modesty. Put this dress on over the first dress. Now take a scarf and wrap it tightly around your head to cover your hair. Now take another scarf, make this one brightly colored and throw it jauntily around your head like the fashionista you are. Now you are fit to go anywhere, whether it’s the bore hole to fetch water, or to church. Now men, yours is more complicated so pay attention: Go to your closet. Pick anything. Put it on. Voila! Whether its dirty or clean, ugly burmuda shorts or a suit, a well put together outfit or (more commonly) a random organizational disaster, you’ll fit in.
Speaking of clothes, for those of you who donate clothes to Goodwill and wonder “who will ever want this faded high school football team t-shirt?” I have wonderful news for you. It somehow arrives here in Africa. Never fear that your favorite local business t-shirt that you got for free when they opened is at the end of its life. Donate it to Goodwill, and it will be reborn to a local man who will put a suit jacket over it and wear it to church. Last week, I saw a Washington Mutual T-shirt. A month ago there was a bright orange State Penitentiary shirt. And I could play sports team bingo with the number of logo hats there are in my town. This place is the afterlife for clothes. The secretary at my school has a favorite outfit she loves to wear. It is a shiny, maroon, mermaid-style, poofy shouldered, prom dress from someones past. Its great and she wears it twice a week. I should have brought my old prom dress, I would fit in perfectly if I wore that, under a black dress of course.
I know I have been talking about clothes up to this point, but I am going to completely change the topic because I just realized what the ‘meat’ I have been eating for lunch for 6 weeks reminds me of. I think it is cow stomach. Its either that or octopus. I can see its little sucker feet! I am not very familiar with identification of cow anatomy, so if someone knows what part of the animal has small circular structures that look like octopus suckers, please let me know. I am going to stop staring at it and just eat it anyway, cause it’s the only meat I get. And don’t worry, it actually is delicious if you don’t chew it and chase it with rice. We have a really good cook at my school. I don’t think I could turn unidentifiable chunks of cow into something an American would call edible, let alone delicious.
Alright, I have grossed you out enough for one day. I am going to go post this and then see what is going on in the rest of the world. And by that I mean I’ll be checking Facebook.