One of the best lessons I learned from my time in the Peace Corps is that it’s really good for people to be miserable. Good and miserable. For quite some time.
You learn you can tolerate not being comfortable or having amenities. You learn to sit patiently for hours (and you learn to always have a book on you). You learn that time passes the same every day whether you are miserable or not. You just get tougher.
That was over ten years ago for me. I’m trying to channel that toughness at the moment.
I just arrived in Koidu which is in Kono District in Sierra Leone. This is a major diamond mining area with several international mining companies who set off explosions about once a week making the buildings shake. It’s pretty bare bones here.
It’s the hottest time of the year and I am feeling it. I am laying on a mattress that is both foam and hard as a rock (seems odd but trust me on this). I have a fan about 6 inches away from my face. I’m relishing in the air as we only have a couple of hours of power and then the generator gets switched off. It will be a long sweaty night ahead with mosquitos buzzing around. The worst news? There’s no kettle. I have several days here and I am seriously concerned with how I’ll be able to function without coffee. I WILL figure something out in the morning! Even if that means I have to pay a child on the street to run home and boil some water for me.
I will be oh so grateful for Freetown again, just 24 hours after saying how I was ready to get out of Freetown (how ungrateful I was for the air con and omelets).
It’s somehow comforting to recall all of those really miserable days and nights in Turkmenistan, and then Chad, oh and that night in Sudan…yeah, I can do this.