Saturday, January 31, 2009

Today made me realize how much I like the weekdays. During the week I have a purpose. On the weekends the hours seem to loom over me, making me feel lonely and maudlin.

This morning I used up a good half hour bathing. Like most people in Nigeria we don't have running water in the house. So there is a 30 gallon garbage can in our bathroom that is filled with the filtered water. From there we scoop out a bucket of water anytime we need a shower. Then we use a small bowl to pour water over ourselves. Most mornings the water is quite chilly and my showers are quick but today I did a more thorough job. It felt nice to be clean however that feeling doesn't last long in the Nigerian heat and dust.

After awhile I decided to escape the confines of my room and go for a walk. Yesterday Aubrie and I took to the streets and it felt good to get out. So we headed out again after a detour to the school playground so Aubrie could test out the swings. This time we headed in the opposite direction towards the river/stream. It was interesting to see the women washing clothes in the river and the cattle roaming free. Of course on the way back a group of people started following us and one young farmer started some harmless flirting.

Later this afternoon Aubrie nearly succumbed to the boredom so she called up the music teacher Oduka and ask if he wanted to do something. So he came over with his friend CJ. We walked to a lounge at a hotel just down the street. They ordered us fish and meat pies with fruit juice. Since we drink water at the house I was excited about the juice. I wasn't really interested in the meat pies but I didn't want to be rude so I ate one. It was a dry pastry crust filled with tasteless beef. We had a nice conversation about various topics and after a few hours we walked home.

Aubrie and I usually attract a lot of attention when we go out and normally it simply amuses me. Today it annoyed me. I am sick of feeling like a traveling freak show. I hate not knowing how to respond when people ask for gifts, money, or ipods. I am still taken aback when strangers (especially men) ask for my phone number minutes after meeting me. I am sick and tired of feeling like a nonentity simply known as Oyibo or Onyeocha. I am sick of people touching my skin or hair. The worst part is that there is no one to tell this to. I can't take out my frustration on some poor kid on the street.

Looking back over this entry I am half tempted to erase the whole thing. I want to write about happy things and what a great time I am having. But I want this to be a honest representation of my time in Africa. Today was not my best day but that's okay. The beauty of life is that tomorrow I can start over.

I guess that just goes to show how different things are here. Never in my life did I imagine I would want the weekend to end.

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