Sitting here in the internet cafe my blog seems so ridiculous. Surrounded by local men, writing about the things that are completely normal, ordinary, and certainly not exciting to them, I feel silly. Who am I to upload pictures and post about what is simply their daily life all over the internet? They know nothing different, and I can't even begin to imagine what they would think if they knew the things I was writing. They stare at me while I type at a speed only achieved by the number of papers I have written, and look at the less-than-exciting pictures I post of their town.
For this reason I am dedicating this post to the things that are interesting and different to me and completely meaningless to them.
Fire is the equivalent of a garbage can here. People have places outside their homes where they place their garbage and every few weeks they light it on fire. Last time I was here it took me quite some time to realize every fire I saw wasn't actually dangerous, and this time I have taken a real liking to starting the fires, particularly burning our used toilet paper that we cannot put down the toilet.
I have been washing dishes at the orphanage with 11 year-old Grace. It took a few days for her to approve my cleaning abilities, and it felt as though I was in some sort of competition where I would wash it, show it to her, and wait for her to say "it's good" or "it's not good." My skills have improved greatly, but I am still exhausted after washing 30 plastic bowls to her standards. I told her about dishwashers, and she was so appalled to think that we eat off dishes that a machine couldn't possibly have cleaned to her standards. Grace was hanging out in our house while I was doing dishes yesterday and stood there with her jaw dropped, in complete awe and disgust at the way I was cleaning. I explained to her that this is why the children do not eat at the volunteer house.
All water comes from wells. This means that when the barrels in our house are running low (about every other day) we walk to the well, draw water, and walk back with buckets on our heads. I generally enjoy this activity for two main reasons. The first is that it is a great arm workout, and the second is that I am bad at it. Carrying water is the only task I have discovered thus far that has a great benefit when you are bad at it: the more water I spill, the cooler I am. It's quite a refreshing activity. Although I haven't been carrying water my entire life and get harassed for carrying a bucket smaller than most of the children, I am already getting used to it.
This is a bad thing. It means that every time we need water, I dread the task just a little bit more. However, despite things feeling so repetitive here, everyday is so very unique, and it's the little things that happen that make each day worth it. A few days ago I dropped the bucket we have for fetching water in the well. Our bucket is very fitting for oburonis, as it is about as special as we are. It is cracked and has a very short string, hence why I dropped it. I feel as though this was my official induction into the water drawing population, although the obibinis at the well quickly took the bamboo stick used for retrieving the bucket out of my hand. Apparently I couldn't do that fast enough. Now when we go to the well (which is the busiest in the morning and before night, as it's coolest these times of day) we stand there and before we know it have our buckets filled with water while our fellow well-goers laugh at us.
Although the well is only a few minutes walk from our house, I always seem to pass so many interesting people, and the other day a young boy looked at me and announced, "Oburoni, you are carrying water." Yes, yes I am.
We took the children to the beach on Monday, which was the most fun I have had in a long, long time. I finally got to spend the entire day in the water without having to beg my parents to come and join me, and there were even times I needed to get out from being so tired. I really enjoyed watching the kids play in the waves and it was awesome to take them out further, although Joe cried while I was holding between every wave, and then laughed every time I dipped him in. Typical.
Lastly, I will hopefully post some pictures soon, but cannot right now because I am using the cafe in Bawjiase where the computers are full of frightening viruses that will cause my camera to self combust. The power hasn't been great the past few days and the cafe we use in Kasoa, about 45 minutes from here, was closed when we went yesterday.