Thursday, March 28, 2013

Those Times When You Realize, "Hey, I'm in the Peace Corps."

It is easy, even over here, to get stuck in the hum-drum of life. It's easy to wash, rinse, and repeat each day. But then there are those days that just throw you for a loop and you have to remember you're not in America. You aren't living a "normal" life. You are a Peace Corps Volunteer.

- You talk about poop- your own, your fellow PCVs, the animals, and your host mother 's (and unfortunately got to witness that last one).

- You don't even ask what you are eating until after you have eaten it because chances are, you don't want to know and if its free, you probably don't care.

- You don't shower every day, every other day, or sometimes even every week (don't judge us- we're either too poor to pay to heat the water, our town/village once again has no water, or we're on a so-called "vision quest")

- You give a stray dog a chunk of bread on your way home from the store so you can have a friend in town. 

And then there are those things that you can't even begin to describe.

The other day I came home from school and went downstairs to collect some wood to start my fire- however I didn't make it to the wood pile. I walked out on my host mother cleaning goat intestines. I will let the pictures do the rest of the talking since I have to include them (A. This is something hard to imagine without seeing it and B. My host mother laughed for a good 3 minutes when I asked if I could take pictures). One thing the pictures can't capture is the smell. It was horrible- very ammonia like. The smell is so strong it has been known to make PCVs quit smoking!

My host mother working on her intestines. The first step was to find the end of the intestines and hook it onto the end of a long stick.
Then she would push the intestines onto the stick so they would bunch up- she did this quite fast too I might add.
She really bunched them up on the stick.
The next step was putting the stick in the bowl and pulling on the intestines to turn them right side out (she had already turned them inside out and cleaned them by the time I got there).
The bowl of "cleaned" intestines
Then she washed them over and over again in clean water. The bubbles aren't from soap, but rather simply the intestines themselves.
After washing them, she threw them in a pot with water to boil for awhile. At this point, I stepped out of the action and just asked her what she would do. She said after they had boiled, she would throw the water, chop them up into small pieces (about the size of your thumb tip). After that, they would be eaten in a variety of manners- cooked with rice and spinach, soup, etc. I told her I would pass on eating them as I have already tried intestines and despite being a delicacy, I don't like them. So far, I have escaped having to eat any, but we shall see.

Oh to be 26 and living the life of a Peace Corps Volunteer. I know you all wish you could trade lives with me!

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