Saturday, December 03, 2005

december post

I have been here another month or so.

The rains have come. Big, fast-moving, deep blue thunderheads, carried on strong winds that drop anything from light showers to downpours. Dark skies with lighting and thunder that shift unexpectedly as the days go.

My house is thatched with grass. I have put black polyethylene plastic underneath the grass to keep myself reasonably dry. Locals say the grass doesn’t leak, while expatriates say it does. Given my tolerance for being wet is more likely on the expatriate side, I have put plastic. I may add that the rain repellent of grass is not helped by local cows considering my roof a delicacy.

Work is going well. I am beginning to understand the structure, the time table, and the general work that my counterparts have (those that I am working in HIV with, all Zambian as of now). It is not frustrating, rather an interesting learning experience. Isn’t it all though?

I might add that my learning curve would be a lot steeper if I spoke Tonga fluently or was a local. Oh well, one I am working on and the other I cannot help.

Speaking of which, I have found a local teacher with whom I will continue formal Tonga lessons. This will be in conjunction with the popular local method of speaking to me in very fast Tonga and expecting my understanding. I appreciate the contributions of both, but I am looking forward to the learning on two fronts.

I will be in my community for the holidays and am looking forward to both seeing how they are celebrated here and spending some quality time in my community.

Physically and mentally, I feel fit. I don’t find myself ill or battling shock or depression. I am eating well and have found good friends in my community that sustain me. I am also keeping occupied learning about HIV, nutrition, agriculture, and the culture in my community.

I have felt my patience deepening and am working on my compassion as I am judged constantly. These are challenges I have readily accepted as I endeavor to continue strengthening these qualities that I value.

I hope these words find everyone healthy and surrounded by joy.

love. niko.

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