peace corps

Guinea Stuff

Blogging gets more difficult at the time in your life when you really need to. I have so many new experiences but I want to experience them rather than take down notes, then I can’t do anything when i’m tired (one of my huge flaws). Anyway, I want to write down things that I’ve noticed and things I’ve heard that are interesting to me here in Guinea I guess.
1) there are a lot of things that are incredibly similar to the states and a lot of things incredibly different. This is probably an obvious statement but it seems to be something that needs to be said. Here the kids and the people have huge holes in tears in everything from their underwear to their pants, to their shirts ( the underwear that my 9 year old host sister wears is pretty much just an elastic band with a small piece of fabric that definitely doesn’t cover anything).
2) Washing and germs are deemed important but the concept of germ theory isn’t there. This is 90% Islamic nation with mosques on every corner and the call to prayer always ringing. During their prayer, which they do 5 times a day, they wash parts of their body (i.e. face, hands, nape of neck, etc). They also always brush their teeth before each meal and wash their face and hands.
With that being said, they don’t use soap to wash their hands or toothpaste to brush their teeth, but they do use it when bathing, washing dishes, washing clothes, etc. .I believe I heard it is because they say that the soap makes the food taste weird, which leads me to my next point
3) EATING WITH YOUR HANDS FROM ONE LARGE BOWL THAT EVERYONE SHARES IS AMAZING! You really feel one with the food and with everyone else. Essentially instead of sitting at a table ad everyone having their own plate, there is one large bowl in the middle and everyone just picks up the food (usually some type of rice with sauce) with their hands and go for it. The food that is directly in front of you is yours, don’t stretch your hand all the way out and try to grab that piece of food that is on the other side of the bowl, that’s a cardinal offense.
4) Tv’s make people act exactly how you think they would (sitting around rarely saying anything). The electricity here is hydroelectric, which is great because it is the rainy season now and rains very hard for various lengths in time like 1-2 times a day. So the power comes on for maybe 3 or 4 hours at any random given point in the day (could be 3-7 in the morning or 3-7 at night there is no rhyme or reason or guarantee that the power will come on). So usually you just keep the lights in the on position and when we see the lights on we know that the electricity is on and everyone shouts in joy!
5) Susu is the biggest ethnic group here, they are stereotypical loud and full of energy all of the time (Naruto fan’s should think of the Uzumaki clan here). The Polars are stereotypically quiet and reserved (think Sasuke and the Uchiha). Now the anime watchers will also get the connection that 1) there are many other ethnic groups, but are not as prominent and 2) there is a split in power and the roles that you usually see them in. Poles are usually the Guineans you know outside of Guinea (any Diallo or Kadiatou), they also are characteristically seen as owning shops. The Susu are characteristically the market people and the ones with stands. I’m sure i’ll have a lot more to write about on this as more comes to me and I have a lot more time, but this is just a note on the two


The Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with the First Step

What a great start to my service in Guinea! I missed my flight to Philadelphia for staging, the last flight of the night, now I’m sitting on the airplane on a flight that was supposed to take off at 7:25 am (it’s 7:40am now). They cannot find the pilot and have not given us any information otherwise that we will be leaving soon, they even turned the engines off.
With all of these snafus you’d believe that I am discouraged to go. Not at all. I don’t believe that this simply boils down to the simple fact that I don’t believe in omens, I still get a little wary about irrational things all of the time. I think that it is because I am a lot more prepared for things to go south, while still knowing that everything will be alright and that getting upset rarely helps anything (WOW! Is this maturity??!!! I don’t think that I’m ready for that). Anyways, it is what it is and I might as well just accept it.
the darkest nights produce the brightest stars
At least when I get to my other trainees, I will not be traveling alone anymore. It’d be nice to travel and talk to someone isn’t a single-serving friend (Flight Club references f*ck Yeah!). I’ve started traveling more since I first studied abroad and left for France. Actually… it might’ve started with going to the Grand Canyon for the thanksgiving break of ’12. Travel and hardships makes people bond and form friendships even if it is only for a short while that they spent the time together. I’ve imagined that travel with my significant other will continue to add glue to keep us together with such hardships.. That or break us up. You know… whichever.

My blogging experience

I enjoy reading blogs, especially about PCVs (Peace Corps Volunteers). This is what my future holds and these are the people who I will become.

I think maybe I am looking for the insight into another person’s struggle through life. On any other social network, everything is dolled-up for the pictures of Instagram or Facebook and Twitter’s character limit to me can only get across jokes and punch lines. Tumblr gives me more of a view into someone else’s life, but it is too saturated by gifs and arguments (although i will spend HOURS on there with all the porn, comical stuff, and crazy stuff that i love!)

Here on WordPress the only tags I’ve searched for are Peace Corps, Guinea, and break ups.Even if writing about things help, I still need to know that there are other people like me. I still need to read from their experiences first hand, this is the reason why I write exactly how I feel. It is not only for myself to express how i feel right now, but it is for another person who might come across it also.

There are a lot of things that go on up in my head that I’m not sure are completely normal. If there are other people having the same experiences then at least them and I would both know that we aren’t as different from everyone else as we think that we might be.

Kelsang quote

I am going to the Peace Corps and i would like to know if they have struggled with these things before leaving also. Can I really help other people if I can’t even help myself from continuously falling into a mini-depression?