The food is starting to take a toll on my body as I continue to get heartburn from all the carbohydrates and oil that I consume daily. I pee more than I have ever in my life and I find myself eating less and less but growing hungrier. The food here is filling but I’ve been craving pizza and some Spanish food; basically anything that resembles food from back home. It’s been a month since I have left home… I grow restless. It’s maddening to miss something, remember distinctly what it tastes like and not be able to have it. For those back home, eat a burger and/or a pizza in my honor as I weep quietly in a corner.
On Friday, I had my TAP interview with my training manager and the program director to discuss how I was handling things so far, to make sure I still wanted to be here and for them to express how the staff thinks I am doing. I got asked how I thought I was doing and I explained that PC service is not only what my family is known for as my brother and step-dad served, but I stated the three reasons why I continue to stay. I stay for the language as I want to master it and I am planning to get a tutor once on site. It’s not enough to just be able to speak it, I want to read and write Amharic. I stay for the students because they have so much to learn, I think I have a lot to teach and I think I can also grow by being here. Lastly, I stay because the end of PC service will open up so many doors for my career. I walked out with my head held high as all PC staff thought I was doing quite well and I was even told by the program director that he thinks I will make a great volunteer. It is a nice feeling to be recognized and have my efforts known.
Yesterday, my two sisters and I went downtown so that they could buy jeans and I could buy black work shoes. We first went out seeking jeans for them. It was a weird concept to go to a shop that instead of multiple dressing rooms, there was only one little back room where people could go try clothes in the back… It was an even stranger concept to have the store owner in the little room with my sisters and me as I tried on a yellow cardigan. It seems that there is not much privacy even in dressing rooms. Overall, as beautiful or as k’ongo that yellow cardigan was it wasn’t in the best shape and could have used more buttons. The oldest sister walked out with a nice pair of jeans. Eventually, I found black, comfortable shoes that I could use at the school instead of walking around in my $76 Chaco’s Monday through Friday which ended up being the best investment I could have made prior to arriving in Ethiopia. My black shoes ended up costing only 230 birr or approximately $13. Needless to say, I walked out very happy.
We were at the last shop to get my youngest sister jeans when a kid, who must not have been no more than 10 years old walked by. He picked up on the fact that my Amharic was very limited, wanted to either intimidate me or make fun but what did this little ish end up doing? He made a gesture like he had a knife, was cutting his throat, pointed at me and laughed. I looked at him as I was unsure of his purpose. What did I end up doing? I said to him “balagë” which is rude in Amharic and to even the score, I kind of cursed at a 10 year old kid in Spanish. Not the classiest move in the world, but hey, what’s a girl to do?
To make the story even sweeter, as we were coming home, we stopped for some mango juice which was utterly the best thing I have ever drunk. I didn’t have much to eat for lunch that day, so that juice was Heaven sent. We walked home and I cooked a delicious vegetable and rice soup which my sisters ended up loving. Prior to that, I took my malaria medicine at around 7:30 p.m. and dinner had finished cooking at 8:30 p.m. I had my medicine because I thought I would be okay as I had the juice in my stomach. I ate my soup, but suddenly I started feeling lightheaded. I told my sisters that I thought I didn’t drink enough water with my medicine and that I may vomit. Sure enough, less than five minutes later, I’m puking my guts out in the yard. That was the first time I have ever gotten sick from my malaria medicine. Silly me, I had forgotten that I needed a solid substance in my stomach and not just juice/water. I crawled into bed yesterday, tail between my legs, head down, holding my aching and weak stomach.