Having done several hardship assignments, the first three months never felt like a vacation. I just told myself that I have a contract to finish and an obligation to fulfill. My tech advisor always reminds me that my sole purpose here is to help the starving kids and that is true. That is what keeps me moving each day.
Today was a bit different. I woke up with my roomie sad, downhearted and crying. She said that this must be the end of the third-month honeymoon for her. She misses friends and comforts. I can't blame her. I missed those things since I have arrived.
Our friendship circle is very small. It is just me, her, and another girl. We do not really have a lot of people we can talk to here because we do not speak Arabic. Other than this, we live and work in the same place so our life just revolves around this 10 to 20 meters periphery.
On some days when we feel stressed and in need of freedom, we venture out to the market to get kerikede, a local reddish tea made from dried gumamela that is sour to the taste or the local bon or jabana aka coffee. However, my friend has gotten tired of this little treat as well. She is right in saying that even getting that tiny cup of coffee is stressful.
We get followed around by dogs and chased by children who keep on shouting 'Kawaja! (Strange white person) How are you?' which she finds annoying. Me? I just shout back 'Kawaja!' at them and this shuts them up. At the coffee stall, the chairs are usually broken and there are so many flies in beautiful colors that we need to ward off. Oftentimes, drunkards and beggars would often find their way to us or some random persons would walk up to us and say, 'Keif? (How are you? )Tamam?!(Good.)'
I sometimes wonder which is worse-this place or Tanna, Vanuatu? This place is as isolated but at least in Tanna there was the beach at the end of the day and Filipino snacks sold at the local store. Here, there are no chips/crisps. No chocolate. No junk food. There is ice cream but the water and milk source is dodgy so I would not want to take the risks of having a GI upset. The Nile hosts crocodiles.
Some days like these, I find it harder to find the silver lining. Honeymoon is indeed over.
My Verbal Diarrhea
My Verbal Diarrhea is soon going to transition into a collection of short stories of actual events that happened while working as a relief worker with different international non-government organizations as well as a chronicle of anything and everything that moves me. Who knows one day, this will become a memoir?
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