The views expressed herein are mine and not those of the Peace Corps.



Useful Acronyms

PC Peace Corps
ICT Information & Communications Technology
PCT Peace Corps Trainee (pre-swearing-in)
PCV Peace Corps Volunteer (post-swearing-in)
PST Pre-Service Training
CBT Community-Based Training


It’s the first thunderstorm of the year. “In America,” I tell mama, “when it rains like this it rains for maybe thirty minutes.” “Here,” she says, “maybe a day, maybe more.” I can totally wait for the rainy season, wait as long as necessary! This is the “short rains” season, which means it doesn’t rain all day, just most of it. It’s a pretty fierce storm, and my impressions of it are heightened by the percussive and amplified sound of the rain on our corrugated steel roof.

When it starts mama calls me over to point out the thunder; we exchange words for thunder and lightning (I have already forgotten the Swahili). The four women in the house stand in the doorway and watch the storm come in. Brightel, who’s 9, leans against me and I put my arm around her; Evitha, who’s 2, stands in front of us and clings to mama’s skirt. The rain rolls in, the thunder gets louder, lightning brighter. We stand and watch. “I’m scared of lightning,” mama says. “I love it,” I tell her, and she looks at me like I’m crazy. Maybe after a rainy season I’ll feel the same way.

We go back to preparing dinner and the power begins to flicker on and off and on and off. The kids run to turn off the refrigerators; mama reaches over and turns off the oven. The power surges are terrible for appliances–every time I charge my computer I’m afraid. Eventually the light goes out completely, just as we begin eating, but I’m prepared. In my lap I’ve been holding the flashlight Sam gave me before I left, and now I turn it on and hold it in my left hand, pointed at the ceiling, illuminating our meal. It’s a shame we’re eating the meal with spoons instead of with our hands (forks and knives are not even considered here), I think, because if it were a hands-only meal I could seriously practice only eating with my right hand, which I’m finding very difficult! Mama doesn’t mind but once I get to site it’s something I should really do…

(All dialogue translated from Swahili.)


Comment from Chris
Time October 26, 2008 at 11:39 pm

This is a comment for the food post, which does not seem to want any comments:

It all sounds delicious! Simple as it is, I want to try the spinach recipe you mention, rather than just throw some spinach into whatever, which is what I do now.

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