watermelon seeds

Posted in Uncategorized by Diana on June 7, 2010

If you want to earn more – learn more. If you want to get more out of the world you must put more into the world. For, after all, [people] will get no more out of life than they put into it.

– William J.H. Boetcker

You know how, when you’re young, you try not to swallow watermelon seeds because if you do a watermelon will grow in your stomach?

Well, guess what. Not only do I swallow them now, I actually eat (chew) them before swallowing. The other day, I was eating watermelon with the host family. As I proceeded to pick the seeds out, they all look at each other, clearly communicating something with their eyes. Then host father says, “Watermelon seeds are ifulki. They keep you cool when it’s hot.”

Hmm…o-kay, I think. Sure, I’ll go along with them (for now). People eat seeds all the time – sunflower and pumpkin are the two that immediately come to mind. Besides, it’s peak fruit season (and there remains less than a month of home stay).  I’ll take seeds if they come with fruit any day.

Mondays are soq. Maybe I’ll enjoy soq more when 1) I have a reason to go and 2) it doesn’t make me feel trapped in the host family house because there are all these people/men from surrounding villages who aren’t used to seeing me – a foreigner – in town. I am really grateful that my village has a soq and I do like frequenting them. However, as much as I enjoy hearing the Chinoi/Japon buzz around me *insert sarcasm here* there are days in which I just don’t feel like being a celebrity.

I heard a little bit of the buzz when I left the house and hopped into a taxi headed to the next town over, my escape for the morning. Destination: cyber café! I’m not a fan of the French keyboard but it’s better than not having any internet (and being stuck at site).

Living at the community level, within the community…is more of an experience than I imagined. Public health, gender and development, education…these themes are constantly on my mind when not in my face. It’s humbling but how do I move past that? How do I achieve goals created on the policy level with people in the bled? How do you teach people things you’ve learned from books when they are illiterate? How do you motivate people who do nothing but ask you for stuff? How do you teach people who say they want to learn but are reluctant to change?

With the highs and lows of PC service, you learn to cope with the emotions. You live up your highs. You reach out when you experience lows. You reach out when you know someone else is experiencing lows. PCVs…we’re each others’ support network. If you’re lucky, your support network extends further – family and friends, State-side and beyond.

More highs than lows so far. No steep lows yet. lHamdullah and knock on wood.


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