After looking over my past blog entries, I thought I’d go back and update you on a few things I brought up earlier.
Firstly, I may get to remember my time in Cameroon with actual souvenirs, instead of garbage, since I discovered that Douala has a trash disposal system more sophisticated than lighting a match. Since I’m stopping over there on Friday, I’ll be hauling all my trash along in the 2 hour cab ride. The amount I’ve been stockpiling has been greatly reduced, though, since I recently uncovered my household’s mystery dumping site. I’d tried to throw biodegradable things out on my own, but was always told just to give them to the housekeeper. Since I feel I’m a little past the age where I spit gum into my teacher’s palm, and let my mother wipe off my face, this simply would not do. I persisted, and was finally pointed towards the edge of the property, where I found a pile primarily consisting of plantain and vegetable peelings, but also containing some random packaging. Disappointed at the lost compost potential, I deposited my ‘decomposable’ selections, and felt a small weight off my shoulders.
I’ve actually been fairly impressed at the small amount of garbage I’ve accumulated here. Granted, I’m not the one who does the cooking, but I haven’t really bought much that requires a plastic package, and whenever I can, I make use of my organic MEC shopping bag. This particular bag was bought for reasons of practicality, but I have to admit that I felt a twinge of embarrassment when someone inquired whether I worked for the post. Judging by the herds of three inch heels hiking past me on rocky, rutted roads each day, I don’t think anyone would understand my argument of function over fashion. On that note, my boss actually commented that my pants were too wrinkly this morning. The washrooms have a half inch of ‘water’ on the floor, I have a mouse sharing my bed, and there’s a great chance that I’ll fall into a 3 foot deep gutter while walking home at night; but ironing should be a high priority. Right.
In regards to the rodent, he’s turned out to be more stubborn than I had expected. Despite my half-hearted attempts to ‘accidentally’ poison him by leaving out copious (for a mouse) quantities of crushed Advil, he’s prevailed in his mission to leave not one inch of my room un-pooped-upon. Though he sampled my first poisonous concoction, my second try at a mouse-sized cocktail of Advil and orange-flavoured Gravol didn’t seem to be his drug of choice. I could have gone one step further than that, but decided that adding anti-diarrhea medication and ex-lax might produce less than desirable results. So my one furry roomie remains, though I succumbed to temptation and killed a roach last night. It had made the poor decision to crawl across the bread bag I’d carefully suspended from my clothing line. Normally I just ignore them, but any creature should instinctively know that to come between me and my food will only end in tears, not to mention a swift blast of bug spray. When it comes to monstrous insects, I feel I’ve been somewhat demoralized.
My shower situation is another one in need of an update. On Monday, I caved and bought a metal coil water heater for about $3 from a walking street vendor with a large assortment of gadgets. I had been sold on this little contraption since last Saturday, when I stayed at Kasia’s house, and got to have a fairly warm bath. So, Tuesday morning I woke up early, plugged in my little heater, and sat down to breakfast, contentedly munching on bread while I waited for the water to heat. I’m convinced that cold showers are just part of the experience for me, because 40 minutes later, the coil had only heated the top inch of metal, and appeared to be defective. At the very least, I had learned an important lesson: Don’t buy electronics while sitting at a table eating lunch.
On another note, Regina, my embracing friend has failed to reappear. I saw her briefly on my way home that day, but she never showed at the night’s festivities. As she had moved her stretching/foot flailing regimen several metres over in the time that had past since our first meeting, I can only assume that she started off with good intentions, but ended up rolling in the wrong direction. Either way, I’m sure she’ll supply ample entertainment wherever she ends up.
As for myself, I’m heading into the field next week, so my posts and emails will be coming to a halt until around the 24th. Should you need to contact me, my phone should still be in service. If I’m unavailable, no need to worry, I’m sure everything's fine, and I'm just stuck in the mud somewhere – as I feel I’ve progressed from gutters, that is the only logical step.