Sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint what’s eating at you. I tend to brush things off pretty easily, but recently I have been in a bit of a funk. I tried to analyze what’s going on: is it the constant struggle to encourage a learning environment at school when no one else wants to teach? Is it the one-year mark quickly approaching and my personal desire to have accomplished more by this point? Is it the lonely hours in the village or the overwhelming amount of work? To be honest, it’s probably a combination of all the above, but the one factor that looms over everything is the water. I blame it on the water.
For the past 6 weeks my stomach has been in knots (to put it nicely) thanks to my lovely water source. To top it off, my water pipes have been coming apart on what seems to be a weekly basis. So three out of the seven days a week I have no running water. This means that everything water related must come from either the rain or the mysterious water tank located behind my house. The water tank was probably the cause of all the trouble to begin with but I’m not even going to get into that….
The one year mark is just days away and with it comes anxiety about what the next year will hold. Maybe my language isn’t where I wanted it to be. Maybe I have not accomplished the 10 projects I envisioned at the start of service. But reaching this critical point in service does have some perks. I still have a full year and a half to go. That means time for the projects, time for the language, and time to continue coping with all that it is I am learning to cope with. For starters, the water came back on today, so all is not bad! I just need to make sure my back-up water reserves are full in anticipation of the next pipe break.
Walking home from school today I was invited to a neighbors house whom I had never met before. I joined her and her daughter for a cup of Koko Samoa while they were preparing leaves to weave into mats. I surprised myself by maintaining a conversation with the two of them strictly in Samoan! They were really impressed which of course boosted my slacking self-esteem and they invited me back any time to come weave with them and kafao. And just like that, a successful language lesson occurred and I actually spent an hour outside of my lonesome fale. It’s things like this that I must remember.
So to my friends in country, thank you for putting up with me over these past few weeks. And to my friends at home, I apologize for the depressing emails sent recently. On this emotional rollercoaster we call Peace Corps, things are on the rise. Only a matter of time before they drop again, yet keeping my optimism about me is going to help, and looking on the lighter side of things will get me through. Tomorrow is Teachers Day, so there will be no teaching. On the bright side, it will be a full day of praise for me and my fellow teachers – singing, dancing, acting, and funny poems will all occur. And the year 8 students have promised to bring me coconuts. All in all, I can say things are taking a turn for the better. Happy Teacher’s Day!