Saturday, July 24, 2010

Email Home- "Thank You Tetanus Shots"

Family and Friends, Ma Ha!

       What do you know… another week has flown by.  First things first, I’d
like to give an update on the Charity situation.  I hope I didn’t
sound so heartless in my last email or like I’m trying to overplay the
complications, because they are serious in terms of responsibilities
to my group, the field studies program, and my own research—and that
still doesn’t even include the whole “what is the best thing to do to
help?” question.  Still, this Charity thing has haunted me.  The day
after I emailed you my school friends were walking me home when
Charity, who has been unable to eat since she can’t pay her fees,
shoved a crumbling biscuit in a faded wrapper in my hand before
parting ways.  Why?  Why is she giving me a biscuit?

I talked to my group, to my host mom who works at the school, and
after all that prayed about it and decided that for whatever reason I
needed to pay the $120 for her school fees.  Maybe it is like that
starfish story, I don’t know.  I’m not doing it for the accolades or a
great story for some self-righteous trip or anything like that, and if
there was an anonymous way to do it I would have done that, but it is
out, and I really hope things will work out because I still feel like
I did the right thing.  They have so far.

One of my favorite parts about the week was “General church” service
for the school.  Everyone comes from every range of faith.  (Oh, and
don’t even worry, it starts at 7, so that involves waking up at five
to get ready and walking there, all you nine o’clock church haters).
This church was something like the best sacrament meeting of my life
and one of my many high school punk rock concerts.  You arrive
exhausted, breathe in the music, abandon your inhibitions, and dance!
I’m the backbench kind of church person.  Long ago, I used to be that
kid who opened my bedroom window to sing for the neighbors, but that
got trampled by a more mature Sunday decorum: Sit Down > Fold your
Arms > and be Quiet.  Happily, that window singing kid resurfaced in
me- reminding me of the days when I didn’t care what I looked
like—which is why I think I needed that meeting, reminding me that the
root of “reverent” is the word “revere.”  Not to discredit our way of
worship, but I can’t help but admire the way these teenagers do it.
Not a person sitting, hands flying in the air, a few wailers, some
fainters, a soloist with a crackling second-hand microphone, a lot of
dancers churning up the crowd, a bongo accompanying the steal drums,
an electric keyboard, everyone wearing white, everyone in their own
world, and not a soul cared that I am no dancer.

Research wise, things are going great.  I might have told you about
the day I did 20 interviews… it is crazy.  Lots of educational crises
at the moment I am wading through, but it has been a great experience.
 The kids are in their finals week equivalent right now, but I love
how they do it.  They drag their desks out of the classroom and spread
out under the trees to take their tests.  How romantic is that?  I set
a few of my friends up with their first email and Facebook accounts,
so we’re all really excited about that, and I’m cooking spaghetti for
them this Sunday as a farewell dinner.  You know, I’m beginning to
think that “good-bye” is the greatest of oxymorons.  There is nothing
“good” to be said about a “bye” in favorable circumstances.  You
travel and meet new friends, people who have permanently changed your
life, burry an irretrievable shard of your heart in the dirt, sulking,
searching yourself, “Why do I have go to back?”  Everyone knows the
likelihood of meeting again, silencing these thoughts because what
could be more dour than an “I’ll never see you again, my dear friend”
parting?  I might prefer silence.

So yes, I am a bit off this week with the close of school coming on.
I find myself withdrawing from my friends and my group, more irritated
than usual when the posts holding up my mosquito net fall in on me in
a dead sleep, or when my homework refuses to disappear, or when I step
on rusty goat poop crusted nails (yeah, that was awesome).  So yes.
Stressed out Rachel is coming back, and I’m not sure how much I can
blame it on the Larium malaria medicine I’m on.  I am still a walking
contradiction.  Maybe I’m not so different after all.  Or, maybe I can
cut myself a break and be okay with being a little sad to say goodbye.
 Or bad-bye.  Or whatever it should be called.  I like the way the
French say it.


Business Name:  The Future is Uncertain Hair Salon
Marriage Proposal:  Broken English this time.  “I want to marriage that.”

PS- anyone have any recommendations for places to go in London?  Never
knew how much I missed a good solid session of Google….

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