Thursday, May 30, 2013

STOMP Out Malaria

I’m alive!!!
I’m sorry for the lapse in blog updates.  Things have been crazy busy over my way, so I’m sure you understand.  I’m not even sure where to start…
At the end of March, we finished up second term and transitioned into April break with ease.  The break started off with a little 55 mile bike trip from Kamakwie to Makeni with my fellow Peace Corps Volunteers.  We were doing malaria sensitizations in conjunction with a continent-wide initiative called “STOMP Out Malaria in Africa.”  We stopped in 7 villages along the way doing dramas, bed net demonstrations, and playing lots of SPORTS.  I was one of the lead roles in the drama and just like my Tweedle-dum and Orphan days, I nailed the performance.  ; )  We had a lot fun going to the villages and talking to people about a very serious problem in Sierra Leone.  I also took a bit of a tumble on a bumpy patch of road and hit my head.  If later in life, I start saying words backwards it might very well be linked to my concussion in the bush.

After the trip, I headed to Freetown for our “Close of Service” conference, which entailed learning how to leave this country and getting back into American life.  Do I really have to pay a water bill and pick a shampoo out of a 100,000 options?  Seems quite daunting at this point…  But it was good to see all of the Salone 2ers back together again. 
The day after the conference I got a special visit from the Mommy and the Daddy.  Sub and Mike in the flesh!  It was great to see them and show them around my beloved home.  We went to Bureh Beach first, because I couldn’t think of a better introduction to this country.  We then headed to Madina and my parents got to meet all my village peeps.  Everyone was beyond ecstatic to meet and welcome them.  We spent a night in my district capital, Kambia, and then went to the Chimpanzee Sanctuary.  Then we ended in good ol’ Freetown and the trip was over before I could even blink.  I was glad I had the opportunity to share this experience with my parents and I now feel like they have a better understanding of what the heck has been happening the last two years.

Once I got rid of the adults (just kidding!), I had a couple more days in Freetown to enjoy and then headed back to Madina.  I started off third term (my last term) teaching my favorite topics, because I believe the ball is now in my court.  We’ve been studying the human nervous system in my biology class and I don’t think my students understand why I get so excited explaining reflexes, the hypothalamus, and neuronal impulses.  Maybe they’re just confused…
Two weeks ago I had a birthday party for two of my padi dem in my  town and had about 10 guests.  We had a great time cooking up taco salads, getting tribal marks, and crashing the local jam (dance).
After a month at site, I headed to Makeni to run a half- marathon.  It was super fun.  Well, actually not really running it because I was angry and tired, but it felt good to finish.  : )  Some of the other volunteers ran the marathon.. God bless them.  Now I’m in Freetown taking care of business.
I’m getting awfully close to leaving and I'm experiencing every human emotion possible in reaction to that realization.  I think that can be a blog post in its own, so I’ll save it for another day.

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