Cold water is what stays on my mind. Never mind the almost five hour delay in brussles where all 14 volunteers finally managed to find each other (we aren’t that difficult to spot), or  the fact that a man being deported wailed and moaned indecipherably at the back of the plane before mysteriously quieting after three official looking people surrounded him. Never mind either, the liberian man we met en route who told us about the liberia of his childhood and his classmate charles taylor – now on trial in the hauge for crimes against humanity or the amazing ham and parmesan sandwich  I had in the airport.

Cold water reigns supreme.

Returned to my previous peace corps bucket bath reality, I find myself minus one ingredient. Hot water. No one heats a bucket of water simply to bathe. Coal is too precious despite time being plentiful. And so each of the last four nights, the fingerprints of a hot clammy day lingering all over my body, I gritted my teeth and whimpered loudly as I trailed cold water over suds.

But tonight, freshly arrived at the place I will call home for the next six months, I was met with surprises. Electricity…and more than that…running water!

The electricity is only from 6 pm to 7 am, but that’s when it is dark so it works out well. The water  holds no such schedule and flows sporadically but there is a pump in the yard so I can’t complain. Still…even straight from the pipes and out through a shower head, cold water is cold water. And so this evening I took my inaugural shower wincing only sporadically as I rinsed the four hour drive across pock marked asphalt down the roach stuffed drain.

Bucket bath aside, this experience is shaping up to be the anti-south africa. More than a change in hemispheres, everything has been turned on its head. Rather than the solitary american in my village I now have four roomates (two will be heading out in the next two weeks). Instead of a host country national counterpart to introduce me into the community and to provide guidance on my work here, I have been plopped into an area without any real connection to anyone or anything here – the work I’m suppsed to do is based out of monrovia.

That said, some things never change. As Bushdiva (my fellow newbie in country) and I asked about our assignment we were informed that it is rather fluid and we might benefit from thinking about ways we want to get involved with the community and surrounding NGOs while our appointed duties come together.

A quiet aside, I nicknamed my sitemate bushdiva because despite her protestations, we both know she is a diva…at least as diva as she can be under our living circumstances. Case in point, this evening as i settled into the sound of crickets and some relaxation she prepared for her cold water shower. A few minutes later she returned and calmly asked for my help. I followed her into the bathroom where she handed me some cardboard and then pointed at the tub, “get him.”

The him in this reference was a florida-sized cockroach, the kind about the length of my big toe. I laughed but dutifully picked him up and threw him outside. Small price to pay in the scheme of things….she is the neat freak among us and I look forward to reaping the benefits of her cleanliness.

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3 Comments on cold water welcome

  1. LaDawn says:

    Submit this!! This is wonderful! I can see where you are and everything. I love hearing about your experience.

  2. Lizzie says:

    I don’t like that you are so far away but I am loving reading your writing again, especially in the context you are in. The way you see things and your descriptions always make me feel as though I am there. I agree with LaDawn, you should submit it.

  3. Tiara says:

    Bushdiva makes me think of Stacy living with you. Hilarious, because we all know there’s no way that would ever happen as long as it wasn’t at a 5-star hotel. I’ll forward this blog to her. 🙂
    Keep up the great writing. You have an uncanny ability to draw us all into your world in a short blog entry. Thank you!

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