It’s kinda been a rough week.
A combination of things I guess. The heat has seemed to be esspecially relentless. I have been esspecially tired. The feeling stupid/awkward/useless type times at the centre’s seemed to come in waves this week instead of moments. There’s fighting going on all over the country. People are being killed, whole villages are fleeing and being destroyed. You hear of family members being killed. I dunno. It’s a lot.
Yesterday it kind of topped off with a really uncomfortable encounter. I was walking down the street to get some fruit at a big intersection near where I live. An older local man stops, thought I was someone he knew, and ended up talking to me for about 10 minutes right in this busy area. Not appropriate, but I didn’t have a good out really. Then he gave me his phone number. Then he shook my hand about 8 times, and held it for about a full 30 seconds. Really inappropriate. Then he kissed my cheeks. Not the cheek to cheek thing, but he kisssed my cheeks. Super, crazy, inappropriate. I wanted to fall into a hole. The guy apparently lived in the Netherlands for like 15 years, and maybe was a little crazy…whatever. In any case you don’t do stuff like that here. I was mortified. Later I was talking to my roomate about it and I started to tear up. I didn’t realize how embarrased and uncomfortable and somewhat violated I felt. Esspecially as we are the only foreigners living in the area. People have to recognize me, and I just feel humiliated about the whole thing.
In other news–yesterday, all day, was a really big dust storm. It really started to pick up as the sun went down and we had to close off all of the doors and windows to keep as much dust out as we could. The house got pretty stuffy. Then the power went. It was super humid and I tried to sleep but I was literally dripping in sweat. I usually go to bed sweating a little and wake up the same way, but this was nuts. My pillow was wet with sweat. Not damp–it was wet. (Sorry, is that gross?) So we opened some windows and let the dust blow in, so as to not suffocate. At about 2am the power came back. It was like a gift from heaven to have a fan again. Even if I had to get up another 3 times to keep flipping the switch for my room. (The power switch for just my room is really sensitive and trips 3-10x a day–usually at night). This morning we woke up to a brown flat. I’m not kidding, there was a thick layer of dust all over everything. This is our bathroom, which was not even the worst by far.
In spite of my heart being a little down and overwhelmed there have been beautiful things this week, too.
Like–there are two deaf boys that come to the drop in centre a few days a week. One of them is a teenager, really funny, and thinks he’s super tough. It has been fascinating to watch him interact with his friends; to see their patience and understanding. Watching them communicate with him is so cool. He can’t speak, but makes lots of grunting noises. During the program he usually sits quietly (though sometimes picks on a girl or younger boy). He never whines or gives attitude about having to sit there, though he clearly can’t understand what is being said, can’t join in the singing, and can’t play any of the games. The other day he wanted to play one of the games. One that involves listening and jumping. His friend so naturally moved over and helped him. He’s not helpless–I don’t mean it like that. But you can just see in the different groups of friends their love for each other. They make their own types of families on the streets. When it’s lunchtime they each get bread and a bowl with rice and whatever else is there that day. Almost all of them sit in groups, combine their bowls, and eat together. It is very much a shared communal thing. In between the selfishness (because, yeah, that’s there too), you can see how they really do look out for each other. It’s beautiful.
Oh desert home, I love you. But let’s keep the culturally inappropriate old guys at home, or at least out of my path. Thanks.