When I was a little girl, I used to hear grown folks say, "You don't have a bucket to piss in!"
I understood that statement then, but boy do I really understand it now!
You see, I do have a bucket to piss in because well, I piss in a bucket every single day! And let me tell you honey, it's some pretty raw shit. Pun intended. I've never had this much contact with my body waste, not even when I was in Girl Scout camp!
I've been at my permanent site for about one year and it's been raw, real but very rewarding.
Raw because I live like a cave woman. I also crap in a hole in the ground, better known as a pit latrine. And I bathe in the same basin and bucket that my clothes are washed in. There's no running water. Also, living with no electricity is pretty raw. There are no ratchet reality shows to look forward to so the sky is my television.
More importantly, I'm out here in the bush of Africa and save for my BlackBerry, I'm with the core of my being, the true essence of who I really am as a person. And it can be scary to be with yourself! Alone! All my demons have come back to haunt me and I've been exorcising them one at a time. It's a very hard and scary thing to do.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining here. I'm just telling you how it really is to live in the bush. All of this rawness isn't for everyone, but this is where I'm supposed to be at this very point in my life so I'll continue to press on.
My experience has been real here because what infrastructure lies in this Third World country is just non-existent. The school system is weak. There is NO concept of customer service at all. The lines at the bank STAY long. I used to complain (then, I learned to change my attitude about what I couldn't control!) and then I just dealt with it, like bringing a book or a magazine to the bank. It might take me two days to reach the teller but at least I'll have read a good novel!
Being here has also been very rewarding, though.
I didn't join the Peace Corps to save the world. That's naïve and illogical thinking. I joined the Peace Corps to serve the world, since I've always had a heart for service, and to give back to those who gave back to me.
I've gotten to do that here through teaching, after-school activities, and bonding with my host family.
Being a Peace Corps Volunteer was my dream about four years ago, and I'm here doing exactly what I want and need to be doing at this very moment in my life.
I have one more year left in my service and my goal is to simply enjoy this season, and to truly savor each moment, no matter how raw and real they may be.