Monday, March 7, 2011

Two Weeks in St. Cuthbert's: A List

  1. I have an amazing host family! Charlene, my host mom, is 25; Timor, my host dad, is 30; Timmax is my five-year-old host brother and Shaqueena—Queenie—is almost ten months old! 
  2. I am eating chicken, fried rice, curry, plantains, LOTS of fresh pine (pineapple), fish, bellange (eggplant) and pine tarts!  I can make bake and roti, two different kinds of bread…with a little guidance at least.
  3. I have no running water in the house, but a pipe pumps it into my backyard.  That’s what I use for (cold) showers, washing dishes, and making tea—my family drinks it but I can’t be cause my body has no resistance to all the creepy crawlies living in it.
  4. We have two dogs named Blackie and Brownie.  Yesterday, Brownie peed on my leg.  Maybe that’s his way of accepting me into the community?
  5. Speaking of peeing…outhouses aren’t really that bad.  Unless you get locked inside one, which happened to me once.  Bobby pins and watches are good tools for escape.
  6. Speaking of peeing, again…I have a pee bucket called a “tinny” that resides under my bed.  It’s kinda awkward to use but preferable to braving the outhouse at 2AM.
  7. We have generator-run electricity from 6PM to 10PM every night!
  8. St. Cuthbert’s just got a computer lab a few weeks ago—incredibly good timing, no? Especially since that means wireless internet access in the youth center that we use as a training building!  My host parents are both taking computer classes three times a week, and they’re really excited to practice their typing on my computer.
  9. I have two hammocks in my house—my host grandma made them!
  10. Aforementioned house is two stories, made of wood…downstairs is a big kitchen and a small shop that mostly just functions as a bar in the evenings.  The bedrooms are upstairs--I do have my own room, but I only have a sheet for a door.
  11. Timmax, my host brother, loves playing slapjack and listening to the Beatles on my iPod.
  12. Queenie, my host sister, is crawling up a storm, and I’m fairly certain she’ll be walking before I leave.  She’s also fascinated with my glasses, or as Timmax calls them, my “specs.”
  13. Lizards hang out in my room at night.
  14. I met someone with a pet anteater yesterday.
  15. I’ve been to two birthday parties since I’ve been here!
  16. My days start early…I run with some other trainees at 6AM most mornings, then I bathe, eat breakfast, and go to class at 8.  I only have a five-minute walk to my classroom, which is a small cement building right next to the primary school (which means that the kids come and stare in the windows at us on their breaks).  Training lasts till about 4:30, when I go home and help with dinner.  By 9:00 I’m exhausted, and by the time the lights go out at 10 I’m usually asleep!
  17. Training is on several topics: safety and security, health, cultural integration, and technical training in education. 
  18. I’ve taken the 10-minute walk down to the river to swim or bathe a few times with my family.  They call the river water “blackwater”—it’s the color of strong tea.
  19. The first time we went down to the river, we saw a snake! It was bright green and it swam across the river, and then my host dad beat it to death with a stick.
  20. Next Wednesday, March 16th, I will find out my permanent placement…and then on Saturday I’ll go there to visit!!  I am really, really, really excited to see the community I’m going to be living in for the next two years.

Twenty is a nice, even number, so I’ll stop here...I have to go home and cook pumpkin and roti!