Monday, September 21, 2009


So, I've spent the weekend unpacking and moving in. I think it will take time, but I believe I will become very happy in my new home.

Why my assignment may be a stretch... :-)

Over the years I've learned to seek quiet and solitude. I abhor noise and usually would rather not listen to music. Why this is, I do not know. People think it inhumane of me to not like music. It's not that I don't like music, it's that I find it overstimulating.

In fact, I believe I have some sort of musical intelligence, as I often, very often, have a song in my head. Usually, they're very irritating songs: just ask Deanna. :-)

So, I'm living here on a college campus. Read: young people. Read: Noise? Loud music anyone?

So, I spent a great deal of this weekend wondering if I would be able to stand living in a dorm room on a college campus. I commuted when I went to college, so all of this boisterousness (?) is quite new to me.

My room is the second floor, corner apartment that sits on the edge of a parking lot that falls right in the middle of the boys' and girls' dorms. It seems that I'm located in quite a lively location.

The short of it is: I will need a retreat. I'm sure I can find one. Some little corner tucked away on campus, preferably the library.

Or perhaps I'll get used to the noise in the same way I became used to the roosters crowing at all hours?

I have found a place to walk, which will be a balm to my soul. I haven't found a water spot yet (although I'm convinced there is one because dragonflies were popping up here and there along my walk yesterday) but I have something just as good: a train track.

A bit of background on me and hiking. I don't like to pay attention to where I'm going: I like to meander along while being absorbed by my surroundings. So, when I hike at Bernheim, I like to go with guys who like to keep track of where we are so as not to get lost, etc.

In this way, very selfishly, the guys do all the work and I get to have fun.

When I'm walking/hiking by myself, I get grumpy because I have to pay attention. And grumpier still if I get lost.

Hence my fondness for train tracks: A foolproof way of not getting lost. I simply head in one direction and walk as long as I'd like, then when time comes to return, turn around a walk back.

So, I have a train track here. I walked out for an hour and a half. The tracks took me away from the village to the land of Africa. At last, I can hear Africa calling my name!

I very much like to find places where I can pretend that no man exists (no car noise, no airplane noise, etc.) Even when I went to Alaska, I had a hard time finding such places. (I lived very near two very large military bases.)

So I found this place along the train track. While I was walking, I wondered if the train track was active because I hadn't noticed any train activity (although you cross tracks when you turn into my neck of the village).

Then last night, as I was turning in, I heard a train whistle (a train whistle!), looked out my window, and low and behold, a train. I almost cried it was so beautiful.

This train was beautiful because it was a passenger train and had lit windows. It felt so, so, so what? -- so African, seeing it.

Now I can just hear my grandmother and mother worrying about me walking alone in Africa and being eaten by lions.

From what I've read, lions and other of Africa's "big five" are limited to game preserves. If anyone knows otherwise, let me know asap. :-)

Also, I wasn't really far away from the sound of man as I received a text while I was out in the middle of "nowhere." I also used the "hikers safety plan" and let another volunteer know of my plan, approx location, when they would hear of my return, what time to call for help, etc.

I also have these numbers with me: the campus police, the village police, and the police chief's personal cell phone .

I must say I've not felt happier since I've gotten here: being alone, ALONE in Africa. So far it's been impossible to be alone here. I'm glad to have a reprieve.

More in a bit, as always, Peace Corps is in no way connected to what is posted here, karen

1 comment:

  1. With each post, I learn more about you, and learn how much we are alike. I do not like music playing either (I have sorta gotten used to listening to Joe's loud tv) Please be careful! enjoy your railroad track walks. love ya