Friday, October 09, 2009

I love Africa but

instead of doing a third year, I left. I would have loved to do a third year, but the mosquitoes drove me out of the country. Every mosquito bite turned into a staph infection and I ended up with nasty quarter size and sometimes larger black scars. Lucky for me my legs didn't end up as bad as some volunteers' polka dotted legs.

Sometimes during the summer my legs and feet would be covered with band aids and a huge number of flies would land on each covered sore. It was gross.

I could have stayed in Africa if I had been willing to wear pants, socks, and shoes, but it was so hot. Plus have you ever tried to pee in an empty field with your butt exposed to the world? Skirts were practical pieces of clothing, easy to go to the bathroom in, easy to create a bit of privacy in a country with few bushes and trees, easy to hide from the bush taxi eyes as they followed the foreigner who has to pee, easy to be modest and create a bit of respect from the Muslim men.

Lucky for me I moved to Gansu, a dry desert where the mosquitoes are few.

However, last week I went to Chengdu for the national holiday and mid-autumn's day. In that wet humid climate, a city filled with water canals, and a teahouse culture where you sit by the water drinking tall glasses of chrysanthemum and green tea for hours at a time, the mosquitoes attacked.

PS. Have you heard Peace Corps Guinea volunteers are being moved out of the country again? Remember when that happened to me?

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