massive update

July 9, 2007



…The beat goes on…


Language is going alright.  The Azri language is difficult for me to learn.  Really, I’ve been told to give myself a break, its only been 1 week of lesions.  But its so frustrating to not understand a daham thing.  Much like English and French, I can speak much better than I can write.  Grammar, rules and proper spelling, fusses my head.  However, as we were told today by Zoltan (country director) at Hub meeting: “You are your biggest challenge and hurdle.”  I’ve know that I’ve always been my worst enemy.  What is hard now is fighting the overwhelming excitement of a new country, side by side with culture shock, and still focusing on language and my reason for being here.  As Ryan said ‘This is a marathon.’  I agree 100% and I did 2 marathons.  This is just another challenge; the price for doing something right and correct.


If you want some gritty details, email me. However, I finally was able to rinse my hair.  After walking back to my room, my host sister came after me talking loudly and upset.  She informed me that rinsing my hair with cold water will make me wretchedly sick.  It was prolly around 80 degrees at that point in the day.  It took several minutes to convince her that I was fine.  I don’t think my Azri is good enough to explain that when I was in college, I’d walk out of swim practice in below freezing cold with a wet head and walk home. 


Also heaven forbid a female sit the ground, or floor or anywhere besides a chair.  Beside that most places near the ground are filthy, the general population believes that if a female sits the on the ground, her ovaries will stop working, or she’ll get sick in an awful way.  OK.  I can accept that. Ground dirty.  No good.  The ovaries freezing part…that’s a little hard to believe.  Now to provide comic relief, we text each other asking ‘are your ovaries frozen yet?’  Maybe you had to be there.


We have talked much about the concept of home, going back, moving forward and how we shall adjust.  I don’t know exactly what I think, now.  I don’t think one can ever ‘go back’.  There is no way to return to previous state and resume life in the same way.  A blessing and a curse.   We were told today that on average, 25% of volunteers leave before the full term of their service.  I will not be in that 25%.


Enough mushy stuff. I finally found a place to develop my film.  I have 4 more shots on my first roll with the Fed 2 Rangefinder. Many prayers from me that I’ve done an OK job.

My goal is to have enough material and film to do a decent exhibition whenever I’m settled for a bit (back in the states or somewhere else). In the mean time, all prints or film will be sent back to the states to prevent them from being ruined. Unlike Siolo and Dsankt, I have a knack for wrecking important things, like film and cameras.


Through the course of our Hub meeting (where all training clusters come together for group sessions) I found out that Baku has a few problems.  It is up there in rankings as a city for human trafficking and prostitution.  Since AZ has only recently been an independent country, this seemingly has flow under the raider.  Now tho, organizations that deal specifically with that issuer are taking notice.  I will seriously consider, at my close of service, the possibility of work with such an organization.


Next week I’ll be leading a conversation club.  This is both exciting and a little nerve racking.  Since I’m an American woman, it’s a just a tad difficult to connect with the youth; who view me as more of a walking freak show than an intelligent accomplished, strong woman.  Its gonna take a little work to develop trust in this host community; but it will be an invaluable exercise in understanding what sort of challenges I’ll most likely face when I get assigned my permanent site. 


Lat night Mariko (current PCV who is staying with me for a few days) introduced me to the joys of hand washing clothes.  2 hours later, dripping sweat and soaking wet with soapy water, I hung my clothes on the line.  Thanks to rock-climbing a decent amount (and therefore having strong hands) I was able to make it through the entire pile of clothing and avoid the usual bloody fingers.  Midway through scrubbing I reached into my laundry bag to find a nasty (big, 2 inches long) Beetle of Doom sitting on my socks.  I hate beetles.  Not as much as I hate ticks, the kicker is they (the beetles) fly, dayham things.  It reminded me of the time I was in Trinidad. I came back from the shower with only a towel wrapped around me to find a HUGE, (really huge) spider perched nicely on my clothes.  I grabbed a paper towel tube and chased it around the room with another guy.  Wet hair flying, trying not to drop my towel, throwing shoes, random objects and swiping at it with the tube.  Eventually nasty spider met its mangled end.  It wasn’t until later that I found out it was a Tarantula.  So maybe finding a Tarantula in Trinidad is not the same as finding the Beetle of Doom in AZ, but the startle factor is still the same.  I can hear my Southern and Aussie friends, to whom nasty size bugs are regular, laughing at me.  Beetle of Doom met his awful end through my host sister, who smashed him to pulp with a wooden rod.



3 Responses to “massive update”

  1. Ben said

    Ha, Silo not wrecking things… he has a list of the cameras and lenses he’s destroyed, and he almost drowned himself in that drain, which would be wrecking something very important.

    Best of luck to your ovaries. Remember to talk about Minnesota winters when you gain that capability in Azri.

  2. S/// said

    ‘Really, I’ve been told to give myself a break, its only been 1 week of lesions’

    Lesions eh? 😀

    Hah, ive ruined 5 Nikon cameras, 4 Nikon lenses, 4 Nikon Flashguns and lost or broken 14 tripods, since 1996. So dont worry.

    Dsankt…? Yes, he stores his camera in his arse for saftey’s sake.

    The Ovaries thing sounds similar to the daft tale that sitting on cold concrete gives you sphincter ‘roids.

    I never knew you’d been to Trinidad? I lived in Port of Spain for 2 years! When did you go, n where? POS or San Fernando?

    Sounds like your having a mad time, which im very happy about.


  3. mcmacdonald said

    awww pisser, i cant spell at all in english, its been awful to learn how to spell azri words…
    I flew into Port of Spain but then I was in Chequanis (sp?)I really really liked Trinidad (expect for teh spiders. I cant remember why you were there?

    Ben, oh man, thanks for the cheers for my baby makers, heaves know between the cold showers and sitting, no one will want to marry me!! Ahh, drain adventures, I shall miss rad MN summers and draining w/ you freaks. One day we shall take Siolo to Butt Grove!!

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