HVV - Host Volunteer Visits
We were sent off to go stay at a current volunteers house and see a bit of their life.
Name of Rachel. She’s from Philly, and different from other, typical volunteers : much more urban – if that’s the right word. Much less outdoorsy, which I find to be interesting - that there are other types that survive and even thrive. She has less than a month to go, and has her life in a nice routine here. I just made proper coffee 1) for the first time – sooooo good wow. And I’m not complaining about their instant coffee – I’m actually impressed by how good it is. Didn’t I already mention this? Ah well. Her hut is a beautiful dark blue2), traditionally thatched. A big bed takes up most of the space, a cabinet/drawer set, a small wardrobe, and two small tables. Not much leftover space haha. And she has a toon of crap, sort of like my room in NC.3)
Her host family has some home-made weights, so I got in a super-great back workout for once. I cannot wait to go to site and build myself some equipment. Yesterday, I spent pretty much all day at BMI, bored and browsing really slow internet once again. It was nice in some ways, I got to catch up internet stuff, but wow it made me super homesick4), so creaky and worn you’re surprised it can make it up the hill, as weaves back and forth avoiding the rockier sections. The driver gets out and wrenches open the door, and you poke your head into the dark interior. It’s only half full now, maybe about 6-7 people, in 4 rows of seating. So you cram into one of the seats, as near to the front as you can. If you can, you open a window. Usually though, they don’t like you to do that – they don’t like the dust.
The seats are a thin foam with vinyl on top, not too uncomfortable in the short term.5) You get in, and the taxi bumps and rattles around, and all the heads in front of you wave back and forth, and it stops, and more people get on, and it stops, and people get on, etc. Eventually you have a couple of bags on top of you, your knees jammed into the seat in front of you, something in your bag digging into your thigh, your elbow in somebody’s chest, the heat starting to make you sweat, the eternal bumping and swaying making your ass hurt, and your knees feel like they’ll never unbend again. 6)
HVV was not bad, just a bit tedious at times. Visited the school, got laughed at by the entire student body (around 200) for my accent. Oh I’ve not yet described the schools. Cinderblock buildings, tin roofs, big green water tanks for roof runoff, little dirt paths running everywhere, small sections of tilled earth here and there. Classrooms are cracked concrete floors, a couple of blackboards on the wall, and crammed with worn wooden desks. Sidenote, saw the principal lightly7) whipping a kid when I went back to get a water bottle. Sooo…there's that.8)
Had EXCELLENT food, for once.9) Chicken and rice and veggies. Soo goood. Garn I’m hungry. Just had a bit of granola for breakfast, along with some coff – speaking of, I’m so @!$# glad I brought the aeropess and coffee grinder. I still have a bit of beans left, and wow that is good coffee. I mean, damn. So yeah, really starting to feel the hunger pangs now, about 4 hours later. And no prospect of food anytime soon either, because I’m absolutely, totally, and completely broke. I vastly overestimated my cash reserves when buying some ‘essentials’ over the weekend, and of course I had to help Rachel out with the groceries, and now barely have enough to get back to my village10).
Getting water. While we’re with our host families in training, they fetch our water. I had not realized just how important that was until getting water for Rachel. It’s not a long walk, but it goes down and out of a little valley, and boy is water heavy. It takes about 10 minutes to walk there empty-handed, and about 20 to walk back, swinging the 5-gallon bucket from hand to ground to hand, shoulders aching. For ONE !@#!$@ bucket.11)