It’s my one year anniversary in Mali!! It’s amazing to look back at the last twelve months and think of all the things I’ve done and how much my life has changed. Here are a few differences:
- Instead of showering I now take bucket baths. This consists of a bucket of well water that I’ve retrieved myself and a large cup that I use to pour the water over myself. I’ve gotten really efficient with water use. Now during cold season I boil extra water for making my morning tea and use it to warm up the bucket water. This is my “hot shower”
- I used to wash my hair daily but because of what was noted above I can now go as long as a week before washing it. Braids are great for hiding unclear hair.
- I can eat almost anything now if I’m hungry enough. I’ve gotten really good at picking out the meat around fish bones and sheep heads. I think I once ate a fish eyeball..I try not to think of that too much.
- I get urinated on by babies and laugh. In the states I hated to be dirty but here it’s a way of life. Add adding a little something extra to my already sweat stained dirt covered clothes is the least of my worries.
- I can drink warm water. In the states I hated to drink water and would only drink it out of a bottle. Now I get excited for pump water and drink it warm out of semi clean glasses. I will never take ice for granted again.
- I drink full calorie soda. I hate regular coke in the states and here it’s a cold treat for myself on very hot stressful days.
- I can coexist with spiders. I used to be the screamer who could barley muster up the courage to kill a spider. Now I great them in the morning and thank them eating all the other pesky bugs.*Note* The big hairy spiders are not my friends. I kill them as soon as I see them, they still freak me out.
- I watch quite a bit of TV now. I’m a huge fan of Modern Family, How I Met Your Mother, Big Bang Theory, Glee, Castle, South Park. Don’t judge…I sit in a two room hut with nothing to do most nights.
- I ran my first half marathon. Training is fun because between 5-6pm I run along the Niger River with my dog Legend. This is one of my favorite times of day. The sun is a beautiful mix of red, orange, and yellow with an amazing reflection in the water.
- I sleep outside every night. My bedroom is a bughut tent on my cement porch. Thanks to my friend Courtney I now have a *ceiling* fan with a light. Best present ever!!
- Hitchhiking is now the best way to get around and is a lot safer. Riding in a stranger’s car is a quicker, more comfortable, and safer way to travel. Don’t worry its usually in a very safe NGO vehicle.
Ways I’ve stayed the same:
- I still get ready every morning. Makeup is a treat to myself and it adds some normalcy to my life. I also still love clothes. One of my best friends in village is a tailor and we have a lot of fun together. He teaches me to sew while we listen to American Rap music. It’s a win win.
- I’m still really social. I love holidays because we all get together have a few drinks and catch up. This may or may not include lots of dancing. I've met a lot great people in and outside of Peace Corps while living in Mali. It’s fun to be American, get dressed up, and go out every once and awhile.