Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Play Me Some Mountain Music

…like Grandma and Grandpa used to play…instead of this Tigrigna nonsense. It’s kind of nice (OK it’s very nice) to wake up to a power outage, when I don’t hear the “DA DUN” beat of the standard Tigrigna music that is ever so popular here. At least my compound is situated far away from the mosque and the big church in my town, so I don’t get those lovely sounds (aka moans) in my ears as well. The compound I live on is rather small, yet there are multiple noise-producing devices and they always all seem to be turned on and playing different music. Cacophony at its finest! Ethiopians seem to love loud music, especially at 6:30am. But sometimes the local radio stations will play American music…Celine Dion, Shania Twain, Michael Bolton, and Michael Jackson are favorites. A lady I work with often tells me, “I am really really lover Celine Dion…and Michael Bolton.” (Pre or post haircut???)

Life continues to move at a pretty glacial pace over here, but in the big picture, the time is passing quickly. My group of volunteers arrived to Ityop’ya in the beginning of October 2009…and we’re almost halfway through July 2010 now! I’ve been staying a bit busy with trainings and the like. In late May, PC had all the volunteers in country get together in Yirgalem, which is wayyyyyyy down south. It was great to be on social overload for a week, but I always seem to get in a funk when I come back to site from being at a farenji-fest. Perhaps it’s normal. More recently, we had a 5 day permagarden (sustainable gardening) training in my town and the G3 PCVs in Tigray and our counterparts created a beautiful garden that will benefit some members of the PLWHA (Persons Living with HIV/AIDS) association in my town. We learned many aspects of gardening, including site development, composting, mulching, land contour, creating swales (they’re swell), seed spacing, etc…Check out my shutterfly site (http://pioneerdaze.shutterfly.com) for pictures (they’ll make you want to start your own garden!).

In other exciting news, I’ll be turning 24 on July 17th…not sure what the past has in store for me (it’s currently 2002 here in this wild place), but we’ll see. My guess is a large round loaf of bread and some coffee??!! And if I’m lucky, a banana. The other time I had a birthday in the year 2002, I was turning 16 and got my driver’s license. How many people can say they’ve had 2 birthdays in one year, but 8 years apart? This concept is strange to me.

Also, belas (cactus fruit) season is in full swing. It’s a Tigray thing, to eat cactus. The fruit is way cheap (4 for 1 birr, or about 8 cents), and they’re full of VitC and other nutrients! But the saying goes, “Too many belas makes you fight with your anus…” (I think the latter can be said for many things here)…so you shouldn’t eat too many at a time. Did you know that camels actually eat the cactus leaf, spikes included? Ouch. Let’s see, what else…the new health center in my town will supposedly be opening this coming Thursday. Ever since I came to Quiha for my site visit last November, I was told the building would open in “2 months”…so January, right? Not quite. 2 months came, another 6 months passed, and now, it is finally going to open! The actual building has been complete for awhile, but there was no electricity or water, and “without electricity or water, it is not a health center.” And how! So we’ll see if it actually opens…it’s quite a step up from the old facility.

Happy July!

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