So I just had this moment. I was eating a can of lima beans by candlelight and realized Christmas is in ten days. I thought, so this is what it's like to be in the Peace Corps. Living by candlelight, taking cold "showers" (aka bucket baths) as fast as possible, and attempting to update my blog before my computer battery dies. This time last year, I was probably walking around some bookstore bundled up, latte in hand, perusing the selection of books and complaining about something mundane like the weather. How different life is here (ok, I still complain about the weather).
Nothing really changes here for Christmas. The weather gets cold at night, but there's no build up, no decorations, no christmas music, no christmas shopping. Definitely no christmas shopping. Not in a place where $1 is worth fighting over.
My Christmas build up has been the following: I sewed my New Year's dress. It was definitely more glamorous in my head. I talked with the chief about Pagala's biggest needs. Latrines apparently. I taught Silent Night to the English Club before bringing them a bunch of old magazines that they treated as sacredly as one might treat, say, the dead sea scrolls for example. I cleaned my house and bragged that it was bug-free. The next day, I discovered a giant spider near the ceiling in the kitchen. Oh well. Tried to go Christmas caroling with the English club, but the Togolese people didin't know what was going on and got scared so we stopped.
Mom, don't cry! I'm fine. I miss you; I miss all of you. This is just a commentary on the very obvious differences in holidays here and there. I'll be around lots of other volunteers on actual Christmas and we'll make it seem like home. In fact, we're even doing a white elephant exchange and I found some pretty awesome things in the marche (ie. mini water guns and tacky Christmas lights). I also got a package from America full of fabulous Christmas decorations (thanks Aunt Mello)!! As I'm putting together little presents for people and making Christmas cards, it's starting to feel more and more like Christmas. I'm even stuffing a stocking and going to put an orange in the bottom - family tradition! Merry Christmas to all of you back in the USA!