Highlight Reel: June 2018

Cute and flirty: I’ve started watching movies with my host family sometimes, which in and of itself has been pretty cute. I’m trying to avoid any movies that glorify gun violence, but I guess sword violence is somehow ok because the first movie we watched was Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. We’ve also watched Black Panther, A Bug’s Life, Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, the first 30 seconds of The Lion King before I was asked to put something else on, and… Moana. Oh my gosh Moana. I had seen Moana before (I arrived in NWP right as it took the volunteer community by storm), but I hadn’t appreciated it until I watched it with my host family. In Moana, people have thatched roofs, they wear the equivalent of chitenge, they play the drums, they fish, they have darker skin tones and broad noses, and at no point in the movie is that ever looked down upon. It’s celebrated, and their culture is celebrated. Future and Ketty were literally dancing for the whole movie, and even the family members who don’t speak English told me “that was a really nice story” when we were done. It’s easily one of my favorite movies now.

Something I learned from my community: Mario (my host brother) taught me how to make bricks! It was actually pretty easy, theoretically. You dig next to a termite mound, because termites love building mounds out of pure clay, then you dump a ton of water on it until it’s mid, then you plop the mud into a mould and let it sundry. Easy, right? No. Mario works really fast and I was messing up the water-to-clay ratio on the bricks, so they were either too dry/sticky and would break off or too wet and would turn into a blob. I then tried to be the one digging/carrying the clay, but I kept slipping in the mud. Mario was super patient, but I think we were both read for me to knock off after about an hour and a half of that.

Something my community learned from me: Ok so I actually did do real work in June, but none of that is as weird and concerning cool as my doll project! It all started with me wanting to teach the girls how to make corn husk dolls for themselves, since boys often make toy cars but I don’t see girls with very many toys. So, I had the kids collect maize husks (hard to do in a community where we don’t actually grow that much maize) in exchange for sweeties. Then I invited all the girls in my village over and we made the dolls! It was super cute. Then things spiraled a bit out of control. I’d been hoarding all of this cardboard because, when you’re forced to confront how much trash you create on a daily, weekly, monthly, and annual basis, you try to up-cycle more. But the thing was that I hadn’t actually done anything with the cardboard. Sooooo whenever I’m bored I sit in my house, listen to podcasts, and make paper dolls. I’m eventually gonna give the paper dolls away to the kids, I swear!

Shower insights: What’s my go-to shower song right now? “Screwed” by Janelle Monet feat. ZoĆ« Kravitz. It’s dope.

Hero of the Month: Jacqs, for being my bud and making me food when I’m frustrated and having goofy/nerdy conversation with me!

Villain of the Month: My body, for giving up on me and making me double-dragon for the second time in my service.

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