December 18, 2009
I fought a foul mood the entire day. After forcing myself out of bed and sprinting to Keur Yaay because I was late, I arrived to discover that no one was there. Keur Yaay is awesome, I love the girls, and the mission, but I hate that they never tell when things are cancelled! Then, I had a decision to make: A) go to Peace Corps and read and study in quite, blissful solitude or B) go see Diof and check in since I’ve neglected to do so because I don’t like being with him. I made the wrong decision and went to see Diof. Diof is a great counterpart because he knows practically everyone in Thies and in my first few weeks he did an amazing job introducing me to everyone and helping me make a lot of contacts. I also had Chris we with those first weeks, which really helped and shielded me from Diof’s condescending and misogynistic attitude.
Needless, to say Diof was at his best (or worst) today. After giving me a talking to for not coming to see him in the last couple of weeks (which I probably deserved) he launches into the fact that I haven’t written him a report like other volunteers did in the past. There are several reasons I have yet to write this report: 1) I have not had my second training component where I actually learn what to write in these reports 2) PC policy has changed and now volunteers only write reports bi-annually. Obviously, PC did not tell Diof about these changes nor did he care when I told him and he made it fairly clear to me that I need to write a report by next Wednesday and then he expects a report every month. This is really just because he needs a boost for his ever enlarging ego and he wants someone to report to him and make him feel special. I guess I can acquiesce if my only interaction with him is handing over the report in order to maintain good relations.
In need of a pick-me-up I went to the Post Office. Even if I don’t have a letter or a package the Post Office guys are always excited to see me and it’s fun to talk to them even though they ask me to be their second wives. It has become a joke and o ne that I’m comfortable with. And I did have a letter from Shirley! Thank you! Since I escaped Diof’s as quickly as possible and had to meet my Ladies Who Lunch in town I was too lazy to go to PC since that’s in the opposite direction, but as soon as I was done reading Shirley’s letter Jackie called to announce her arrival and Katherine meet up with us soon after.
I must say that Ladies Who Lunch round two was a rousing success. We met in honor of Erin’s birthday (I gave her a bunch of New Yorker magazines wrapped up in a Channukah bow my mom sent me!), but it is always great to get together and bitch. We are all going through the same thing and we just understand. Plus, we got to talk about the upcoming holidays, general PC gossip, and the fact that we think another person from our stage has terminated their service (yeah, we’re not sure it’s kind of weird). I really needed my Ladies this week. I’ve been letting things get to me. I’ve been wearing headphones a lot lately just because I can’t deal with it anymore. I can’t deal with people hurling racial slurs at me, with adults asking me for money, and being hissed and whistled at in order to get my attention. I’m not at my wits end and I’m not particularly homesick or anything like that I’m just generally annoyed and pissed off. It didn’t help that as I was walking home after my delicious lunch, beer, and beignets that some teenage boys called me the bad word for white people.
I was in my neighborhood, it was broad daylight and I was feeling bold so I turned around and screamed at them in Wolof. I told them they were being rude, I understood what they were saying, and that they should stop because I lived here just like them. Well, being teenage boys, they just mocked my Wolof accent as I stormed away. I know that teenage boys are the scourge of the Earth in every country, but I just wanted to scream. To make matter worse everyone at my house was in a terrible mood when I got home and my mom was walking around screaming at everyone. When this happens I hide in my room.
I hid in my room until the power went out. Usually the power goes out for about an hour and a half. I’m currently typing this post in the darkness of my room 3.5 hours after the power first went out. The only good thing about the power being out tonight was that everyone sat around talking. The evenings are usually reserved for Brazilian soap operas dubbed in French with my family blanking staring at the television, but tonight everyone sat around my headlamp and talked. It was great. I was glad that I tore myself away from sulking in my room and watching Mad Men on my computer to talk with everyone. I’m really starting to understand most of conversations and my siblings get a huge kick out of it when I laugh at appropriate times in understanding. At least the day ended on a positive note even if it is ending in the dark…
Messy, but Warm
10 months ago