Sunday, July 4, 2010

June 26

This morning was pretty exhausting, but it was very...cultural. Ok, I'll get to the point. A woman died in my village yesterday. She was only about 50 and she seems to have been the sister of my hostmom (family connections are super confusing and shaky to me). I know I'd met her, but I can't quite figure out who she was. Apparently, she had a fever for a few days and then died. I'm sure that's nothing near what actually happened, but the complexities of illness and death don't fall under the scope of my language abilities right now. Brittany (the other trainee in my village) and I went this morning to help the village clean the area around the death house. It's basically like a village's funeral home. But, it's just an open-air thatched roof hut. I don't know if they lay the body out there or what. But anyway, so we cleared the grounds for a little over an hour today. It was super exhausting because it was really hot and cloudless this morning (and then crashing down rain and thunder this afternoon, that's how it works in the rain forest I guess). It was also exhausting because, like everything else, we were being constantly corrected on our raking and hoe-ing techniques. It wasn't as bad as it could have been. I think we were both getting a little fed-up also because this one really enormous woman kept on just laughing at us for some unknown reason. That's what she always does. I really liked something that Brittany said about her: "obnoxious knows no culture or language." Also, I got bit by about 20 red ants. Those things hurt like hell. So, we were feeling a little under-appreciated, but then we finished up and a bunch of women came up and told us that we had worked so hard and thanked us a ton, so that made both of us feel much better. I know we were being a bit whiny, but when you're doing work for someone else and getting laughed at in the process, you get a bit upset. Oh, another thing was that all the men sat on a log and watched. There was one older man who was picking up vegetation in a wheelbarrow, but the big strapping young men were just watching. This country's gender roles really get me some times. The women raise the children, do all house work, clean, work in the fields, chop the wood and do just about everything else, frequently while pregnant. The men basically just go to work. And when there's no "9 to 5" jobs, that many times involves a lot of watching the World Cup. Wow, this entry was whiny. Sorry, I never want to have that super-whiny blog. Hmmm...let me think of something good from today. The thunderstorm today was really awesome. There was super loud thunder and just violent downpouring rain. Then, we were walking down the hill to the village after the rain and there was mist across from us in the trees on the hill. It looked like we should see a silver-back gorilla or something. It was pretty.

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