I thought I would share one of the more frustrating (and funny) experiences I have had here. Most of the time, I am so happy that I am here and feel very content with my decision to join Peace Corps, even with the occasional issue or discomfort. My windows have been a source of frustration over the past few weeks, and I want to explain what happened with them today.
So my back windows are made of chicken wire. No glass, no screens, just chicken wire. Now I can lock the door to the rest of my house, which includes everything but the toilet and tub rooms, so safety isn’t my greatest concern (though I do find it a bit worrisome). But, as I have mentioned before, I live on a lake, so even though it isn’t the rainy season, I have a disgusting amount of mosquitoes and I live in a malaria endemic region. Thus, I have been trying to get the buildings department to come out and do something about the chicken-wire-window-mathata. Now by this, I mean that I have been going to Gumare just about every week, making phone calls and using up my airtime, just to get to no answers or assistance in dealing with this since I arrived in Etsha 13.
After many hours of frustration, in my last visit to the buildings dept in Gumare before heading south to a workshop and then IST (which means I will be out of my village for over two weeks), I (nicely) made it clear that I was not pleased that I had to leave my house with this still an issue, as burglary is a common issue in my region. Due to my past experiences, I didn’t really think that I would see them again before I left, but lo and behold, guess who showed up on my doorstep today? Why, the buildings department crew of course!
Initially, I had a wave of excitement, until I saw what the back of the pickup held… just two large plywood pieces. And that was all. A look of confusion crossed my face, and the very nice man that I have been working with hastily explained that they were going to board up my windows, temporarily. His use of the word “temporarily” was very disheartening to me, because based off experience that most likely meant the boarded up windows would come down sometime around June 2014.
As they boarded up my windows, the nice man could tell I was not very pleased with the whole thing. I was trying not to be a total brat about the situation because he had come all the way up to Etsha 13 on short notice, but again, see the June 2014 comment to understand my frustration. Once the crew was done, he asked me to clarify what I wanted with the windows as he sensed my displeasure. I explained that it was very important that I didn’t live in a cave for the next two years, and that I just wanted screens, simple screens is all. To which he replied, “what do you mean by screens? Isn’t this some form of screening, now people can’t see in? We had thought you maybe wanted the windows bricked in or boarded up?” Apparently, the buildings department calls what Americans know as screens, guaze and had no clue what I have been talking about for the past two months. Language barrier: 1, Boo: 0.