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

Sijachelewa sana

My phone’s alarm woke me from a strange dream at 4.40. I dressed and left quietly, carrying a flashlight in one hand and an umbrella, doing double duty as a walking stick, in the other. Out of the house I stopped and turned off the flashlight, awed by the stars. I always manage to forget how bright they are here, and I’m invariably dazzled when the evidence of my eyes reminds me.

I manage to achieve the roadside without slipping and falling on the muddy ground, but see no headlights in the town where cars usually start, visible a few mountains over. Resignedly, I start down the slick hill towards the junction. I arrived and the few electric lights cut out suddenly, leaving me alone with the stars and a staticky, battery-operated radio that must have been on all night.

At 5.30 a car came; I heaved myself and my bags into the back. On the bumpy road I put my arm around the man sitting next to me, a maneuver that in America would have been fraught with confusion and awkwardness, but here he knows as well as I do that I do it not out of a desire to be closer to him but rather as a part of my master plan for not dying in the near future.

Ten minutes into the drive the car goes through a particularly slippery patch of loose mud and the engine dies in a cloud of rubber-smelling smoke. It takes all the men to push-start it once the hasty repair is complete. A few hours later we run out of gas on an isolated mountainside and I read a book by the road for an hour as we wait for the conductor who’s gone to fetch the fuel.

Still, we get to town at 11.00, a reasonable time. Five and a half hours. Bret made the trip a few days after I did and it took him nine and a half, which for us is a record.

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