Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Lesson Learned

I learned an important lesson last night…a mosquito net not only protects one from vile, bloodsucking mosquitoes, but also from all the other things which lurk in one’s room and only come out when the lights go out. Last night was a pretty nice night, temperature was nice and not too many bugs were out. Since it wasn’t buggy, I decided I didn’t want to feel suffocated by my mosquito net as I slept and lit a mosquito coil to keep the few mosquitoes away. I was sleeping pretty well, occasionally awoken by the rat(s), which where eating my soap or the plastic off of something (I’ve found out that even though there is lots of food hanging from a number of trees outside, rats prefer to eat sponges, soap, & plastic in my room, go figure). All of the sudden I feel this thing land on my face. I shook it off and without thinking went right back to sleep. I’ve learned it is best not to think about what it was or sleep won’t come the rest of the night. I’m pretty sure it was a cockroach, but don’t want to think that hard about it. Other friends have had centipedes fall on their faces as they have slept (strangely enough once even while under the mosquito net). So lesson is: as suffocating as it may be, as mosquito net is good for more than protection against mosquitoes.

Back to the rat…a few months ago I had a really weird experience involving my sponges. I’m a really, really light sleeper, just about everything will wake me up. As I was sleeping, the rustling of a plastic grocery bag woke me up. I got my flashlight and looked around my room to see what was making the odd sound. I had sponges in a plastic grocery bag and they were all the way across my room, halfway under my door like they were going out for a stroll at 2 in the morning. I thought that was a little odd. I got out of bed and put them back in my little kitchen area. I went back to sleep. I woke up the next morning and put my feet down. As I get up out of the mosquito net, I looked down. What was at my feet?….the sponges. This was before I knew I had rats so I was very weirded out. I thought I must have a ghost who had a traumatic experience with sponges so it was trying to get rid of them so as not to relive the awful memory. Ok, not really…this was the first clue that I might have some resident rats. Since then, I’ve caught one in a trap, but they still run around in my roof and have a lot of guts to come down in my room. I also now have my sponges in a bag hanging from a nail.

Some better news is my village has three computers waiting in Apia for us to pick up! I’m very excited for this; I’ve been working nearly a year to get computers. Thursday we’ll pick them up and as soon as I get everything set up and loaded on the computers I’ll start teaching lessons. Some of the women keep asking me when we will get computers because they want to learn so they can get a job in Apia, so I’m happy to now be able to say Thursday. This is a major step in getting the library/computer center set up. Back in March, I requested books from an organization in the US and told a bunch of other volunteers about the organization. Other volunteers got their books in a month, but after six months I still had no books. I put in another request and I’m hoping in a couple of weeks they show up. It is a little ironic I found the organization, requested books first, told other volunteers about it, and am the only one still without books. Oh well, that’s they way it goes. If I’ve learned nothing else while here at least I will truly know that patience is a virtue.

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