How old is old enough?
Almost every day I get asked how old I am. Apparently it matters a lot to people here. I am far too old to be single and not actively looking. I am too old to not have multiple children by now. Talking to a group of women in my village they were all shocked when I said I was twenty-three. They then all told me their ages. With toddlers and babies on their backs, looking to be late thirties or early forties, they told me they were twenty-four and twenty-six. They then spread the word to their friends of how OLD I am. Hopefully I can avoid matchmakers in the village. I recently had it confirmed that female PCVs cannot reasonably expect to be just friends with any men our own age. It is interpreted as a boyfriend and we modify our behavior accordingly so that we aren’t alone with anyone in our houses. I miss having normal friendships, thankfully I know have a lot of friends under the age of twelve…=P
At dinner the other evening with Erin, we had a group of men (drinking/drunk) whistle at us. Unsurprised, we went to into the restaurant and sat on the patio. As we ate the men started to say “MEOW” at us rather loudly. Instead of whistling or hissing, they were performing their new form of a catcall at us. (This is all made even stranger by the fact that that the noise cats make here is called “mew”, not “meow”, and instead of “kitty kitty” they say, “mimi”, neither of which is “meow”.)Before we could say anything to them they stumbled away into the darkness.
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree…
I haven’t had one for two years now. Spent Christmas in Fianaratsoa talking to a few of you on Skype and catching up. I was so happy to see my family on Christmas as my parents borrowed a web cam from the neighbors (many thanks to Phil and Sharon!). It was great to get to talk to everyone, it made my holiday very happy. I hope to be at internet in a few months that is good enough to do that again.
Traveled up north to Mahajanga for New Years Eve celebrations. Ate arguably the best pizza on Madagascar at Marco’s and gelato. Also had fish kabobs on the boardwalk which we turned into fish tacos, we brought our own limes and everything. Drank a few beers and strolled the boardwalk with several hundred Malagasy people and went dancing to ring in the new year.
With one year left in our service, my stage met up to talk about projects, NGOs, and our plans for the 50th anniversary of Peace Corps. The second year of service supposedly goes by faster and you end up with more work so here goes nothing. I applied for funding for my Moringa project, primarily for seed to buy it and should find out next month whether I’ll be receiving it or not. I also got to meet with many NGO representatives and see quite a few of my friends.
In the time between then and finishing my medical exams, I went to a few get togethers and met RPCVs, embassy staff and marines. It was a lot of fun, not that I’m not ready to go back to my hut. I dislike living out of a bag and not being able to cook, but if I have to, being in good company and eating delicious food is a fine substitute.