How to say thank you?
It takes a village to raise a child – ermmmm I mean Peace Corps Volunteer. But really, that’s what I am here, a child! I don’t know where to buy nails, lettuce or chickenwire or padlocks or a pack of gum, and depend on others to share this information with me. Sometimes I don’t even know how to say these things and depend on the storeowner to bear with me as I describe it (chickenwire? I went with little holed metal gate material thingy and it worked).
I moved yesterday, and I couldn’t have done it without the help of my immediate and extended host family.
My host aunt is letting me borrow a shelf for the kitchen.
My host uncle is helping move the shelf and a dresser I got because he owns a truck.
My immediate host family helped me move my increasingly large pile o STUFF to my new house with their Nissan.
My host dad helped me mow the (rather large) yard today. We took turns.
My host mom in a last ditch effort to feed me, loaded me up with grapefruit, bananas (fresh from the yard), cheese, a slice of cake and half a loaf of bread just to “tide me over” until I could go grocery shopping. She also provided me with dried palm leaves blessed with holy water to “keep the ghost away” (the guy whose house I live in died in December and I’m the first person to live in the house since, but that’s another story).
My host mom also turned her kitchen inside out looking for stuff they don’t use that I am borrowing for the next two years. Two pots, a teapot, water jugs, tereré equipo, plates, cups, bowls, mugs. I am set.
My landlord helped install some new lights outside and clean out the house and gave me a stove and table and chairs I can use for the next two years (I sanded and repainted them yellow, bright colors make me happy).
I am overwhelmed by the amount of help I’ve gotten with this move! I was sincerely almost embarrassed/uncomfortable with the amount of help people have offered me when they have so little time/materials things themselves (compared to us in the States). Still, I do not know what I would have done without my host family. I’m trying to think of a way to adequately say “thank you.” I’m still brainstorming – I just haven’t come up with the right idea yet and I want it to be right.
So, how have I been spending my first day of independence?
By digging a 2.5 ft wide x 7 ft deep hole! Yep, that’s right. I’m digging my own mini landfill in my backyard and about halfway done today. There is no trash collection here and most people burn their trash but that is not something I want to be doing for health & environmental reasons.
I’m hoping most of my waste will be compostable (I also built a compost pile today) or taken by the guy that takes plastic and metal to recycle, but I know that there will inevitably be something I will need to get rid of… namely TOILET PAPER that the plumbing here cannot handle, so we have to throw it out in a trash can by the toilet bowl. Gross, I know, but you get used to it! I’m uncomfortable composting toilet paper with my poop on it that may attract flies that infect someone with parasites, so into the trash pit it will go.
I’m hoping that 2.5 x 7 ft will be enough room for two years worth of TP and misc. items… I am already sore from digging today; there is no way I want to do this again if I can help it. The trash situation here has really helped me be conscious of my waste in a way that I didn’t have to be in States, where twice a week the friendly garbage man came along to grab my trash, so I only had to be shamed by it for a half a week.
Pictures of the house will be up once I’m unpacked!