Thursday, November 15, 2012

Oh, the books you'll read!

I think that when Peace Corps recruits for jobs, they should also emphasize the sheer volume of printed word that you will devour over your service.  You will read books you have always wanted to.  You'll re-read old favorites that will take on new and significant meaning to you.  You'll even find yourself reading books that you never imagined or wanted to read.  You'll come to, after a two-day bender of book reading, to find your kindle open to a book on theoretical physics or a biography of Macchiavelli, and spend the rest of your day blinking wide-eyed and bewildered in the African sun.  Oh, the places you'll go and the books you'll read!  That should be the catch line of the Peace Corps.  For those of you who know me, you'll realize how often I am in heaven here.  I can spend many a day curled up inside or on my hammock reading away.  Sure, this can often be the sign of idleness or unhappiness with work, but really, it's just a sign of being a Peace Corps Volunteer in a rural village.

This post is a celebration of my passing the 100 book mark!  My friend Liz inspired me by doing a similar post awhile back.  Up to this date, I have read 103 books.  And, I only started reading books about 3 months into my time here in Uganda.  I actually think that, if I were unsupervised and isolated, I would have read 200 by now, but because I'm so often with Tom, I've been a bit more moderate with book-eating.

So, the best or most impressionable books from my list:

The Power of One by Bruce Courtney.  This one was set in mid-century South Africa and is the dramatic tale of a young white boy during a tumultuous time period.

The Ishmael Series: The Story of B, Ishmael, and My Ishmael by Daniel Quinn.  These three books are interrelated and all are getting at the same thing, idea, or philosophy.  Whatever you want to call it.  It's as if the author had an INCREDIBLY important message (which he does) and wanted to make sure that every reader would be able to receive it, so he wrote three books that used different methods and styles to carry across the same message.  The most well-known of the series is the first; Ishmael.  I can't possibly describe these books to you, but you must know that these books, and this philosophy, have come to exemplify and colour my experiences here in Uganda, and entirely challenge my way of thinking.  One author said something to the effect of, 'there are the books I read before Ishmael, and all the books I've read after', meaning that reading these books has forever altered his way of thinking and his view of the world. I liked these books, not because of great writing, but because they present a direct challenge to the reader's perception of the world and way of thinking.  It was unlike anything I'd ever read or thought of before.

Game of Thrones Series: A Game of Thrones, a Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, a Feast for Crows, a Dance with Dragons: by George R. Marten.  Duh.  I read all of these books straight through in a feverish few months of adventure, lust, adultery, sabotage, plotting, murder, intrigue, and magic.  I could never remember which book I was on or what they were called, so I merely referred to them as "Dragon Porn."  Which they are.  So awesome. Marten totally captures the need and lust for human drama.


 American Gods by Neil Gaiman.  Have you ever noticed that when you have read a book that really stays with you, you happen to find similar threads or connections to books you read after?  That's what happened to me after I read the Ishmael books.  This is a dark book about the lost gods of the world, and it somehow related to one of the main ideas in Ishmael; that is, before our predominant 'taker' culture we would place our lives and fate in the 'hands of the gods' but now we live in a society where we have become the gods ourselves.

The Passage by Justin Cronin.  Ah, such a good vampire/zombie book.  Please sir, can I have another?

The Sot-Weed Factor by John Barth.  This book reminded me of my brother Neil, because he writes in a similar way and seems to really enjoy this type of book.  It was written in a satirical Dickensian style and was absolutely dry, goofy, and long-winded with bizarre plot-twists and constant uncomfortable fumbling and gaffes executed by the clueless protagonist.  It was hilarious and I haven't read anything like it since my Dickens class in college.

1984 by George Orwell.  This was one of the books I have always meant to read, and finally had the time to do.  It was so much  more engaging and terrifying than I thought it would be.

11/22/63 by Stephen King.  I guess you are either a Stephen King fan or you're not.  I grew up reading his books and freaking myself out.  I loved this book because it demonstrated how versatile he is.  There is nothing stale about this book and it was completely engrossing.

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant.  So good!  I love reading a biblical-age story from the perspective of a woman. I love the traditions the women had together. We have lost that.

Suicide by Edouard Leve'.  Thanks Neil for this suggestion!  Not exactly uplifting but all the same, I really liked the writing style.

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace.  I felt like I had climbed Everest after reading this.  I thought this would be a huge struggle but I enjoyed almost every part of it, and couldn't put it down.  I thought it would be the sort of pretentious book that gets joy out of being difficult to read, but it was some damn good storytelling and I loved all the different interlinked stories and characters.

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe.  Timely read as I am a foreigner in Africa. Just another book to challenge me and make me question why I am here. 

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver.  This was also the best opportunity to read this book.  I live 2k from the Congo, and the images and scenes painted in this book definitely echoed with my experience. 

Rabbit, Run. Rabbit Redux. Rabbit is rich. Rabbit at Rest by John Updike.  I got pretty attached to these books, even though I disliked almost all of the characters.  That's some good storytellin'.

2666 by Roberto Bolano.  Hmmm. I think I'm just putting this one up for bragging-rights. I can't say I understood the big picture (or the small picture) but it was an interesting read.

Cloud Atlast by David Mitchell.  What a lovely and bewitching tapestry of stories. I think I'm a sucker for books that have montages or quiltpieces of different stories.

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff by Christopher Moore.  Wanna hear the story of the bible and Jesus through the eyes of his annoying, unflattering frat-brother friend?  Yes please. 

Coraline by Neil Gaiman.  I love young adult books and this one was creepy and wonderful.

Warlord 1: The Winter King, Warlord 2: Enemy of God, Warlord 3: Excalibur by Bernard Cornwell.  I believe these series are called the "Excalibur series."  Cornwell is a mediocre writer but a damn good storyteller. I think I'm starting to realize the value of good storytelling over esoteric prose.  His books are historical fiction, based off Arthurian legend.  So, you know, druids, Merlin, Arthur, swords, England. Pretty awesome. YOu learn a lot about pagan England and it provides a GREAT escape from christian Africa.


I think that's a good snapshot of some of the great Peace Corps reads thus far.




Love and Lard,

Ilse









Monday, November 5, 2012

Sriracha, amongst other things

For this blog, I wanted to share two articles that I put together for the last edition of our PC Uganda-wide newsletter.  The first I wrote entirely by myself, which will become very obvious to you once you read it.  It's an ode to Sriracha; my elusive and cruel red-haired mistress.  The next one was a group effort.  I wanted to have an article that gave a glimpse into the daily lives of Peace Corps volunteers around the world.  A lot of our time here in Uganda is spent imagining how glorious life must be in Peace Corps Thailand or Peace Corps Colombia, so I wanted to actually get a better idea of what the daily challenges are of volunteers from other countries (and times!).  I asked a smattering of friends, colleagues, and current PCVs here in Uganda who have previously served in other countries! I think the result was pretty interesting and eye-opening.  It's easy for us to assume we have it hard in the country or situation that we are in, so it was a good reminder that it's not easy living in ANY foreign country for two years as a PCV.  Or as anyone for that matter.  Thanks to all who contributed!



Sriracha: a way of life.




If you have ever met me, you will know that I’m a woman of exquisite taste and passion.  Obviously.  The apex of my passion naturally goes towards the following things: fat animals and sriracha.  It would be difficult for me to tell you the story of how it all began.  Sriracha, that is.  The greatest invention of our time.  Please prepare to be educated.

Sriracha is a type of hot sauce (some would argue THE type of hot sauce).  There are approximately 2 types of hot sauces: Sriracha and everything else. Sriracha is named after a coastal city in Thailand.  It is comprised of:
Chili peppers
Distilled vinegar
Garlic
Sugar
Salt

All of these simple ingredients are then cooked and blended together into a heavenly melody of sensations and flavors.  Sweet! Tangy! Spicy! Sour!  Previously uncharted territories of taste! Although in Thailand, Sriracha is frequently used as a dipping sauce, it can also be used for pretty much anything else, and I choose to push that idea to its complete limits.

How we met:  Noodles and Company, as a divine and seductive accompaniment to my Penne Rosa and Pesto Cavatappi.
How we fell in love: When I realized I could purchase Sriracha at most grocery stores and then proceeded to use it on 96 % of the food I make/eat.

The difficulties/adversities I have encountered:
 -Convincing my mother that Sriracha doesn’t take away the carefully-produced taste from her food, or discount her labors as unfruitful.  Rather, it ADDS, and ENHANCES, and is completely necessary under most circumstances. 
-When in college and AmeriCorps with little to no income, I resorted to stealing sriracha from various Noodles & Company restaurants, with none the wiser. Stick it to the man!
-Living in Uganda and relying on the kindness of friends and family to supply me with Sriracha via the air mail.  Subsequent dry spells and the inevitable despair that follows.
-Having to forfeit a half-finished bottle of Sriracha in the airport in Rome, after fully exhausting my abilities to plead, cajole, and coax the security guards otherwise.  I hope the first and last time that I see a half-full bottle of sriracha put into a garbage. 

The memories: Throughout my short 10 year affair with Sriracha, I have done the following things as tributes of my devotion:
            -Dated the manager of Noodles & Company on State street in Madison for 1.5 years with the obvious benefits received and enjoyed.    
            -Participated AND won in a sriracha shot-contest at a bar in Madison, Wisconsin
            -Dressed as a bottle of sriracha for Halloween 2011 in Uganda (a sad but true tale where my ride to town and subsequently to Gulu fell through, and I ended up staying in the village with my friend Tom who was dressed as Germany, and all we did was hop around to some music and then fall asleep at 8:30 pm)
            -Paid the equivalent of 35,000 UGX or $15 USD to buy off-brand Sriracha in Rwanda. 
             
Interesting anecdotes:
-As a child, I was often ridiculed for my wacked-out name. One way I was ridiculed was by being called “Salsa.”  I now see this as very significant towards the rest of my life, as I developed into a salsa and hot sauce-guzzling young woman in a family of Norwegians. 
-My current rate of consumption: 1 bottle/2 weeks.  If used sparingly. Sometimes this leaps to 1 bottle/week. In times of desperation.
-You CAN find a weird but acceptable cousin of sriracha in Nakumatt and apparently the real deal at some elusive Italian supermarket in Kampala that I have yet to find.
-My obsession has been noted by many, but characterized by my friends in college as my need to make “all of my food bleed.” 

The best foods to pair sriracha with:
-PESTO. Seriously.  Pesto was missing its partner for much of its highly celebrated existence until Sriracha came around.  The Ideal dish: Any type of pasta with fresh store-bought or homemade pesto, sautéed mushrooms and onions, fresh shavings of parmesan, lightly cooked spinach, and then layered thickly with sriracha.  Make it bleed.
-ANY Indian/thai curry.
-PAD THAI
-Any creamy dish; such as Macaroni and Cheese, four cheese pastas, gnocchi al gorgonzola, Fettuccini al fredo, the list goes on. 
-Pizza.  For a really delicious idea, mix a bit of sriracha with some mayonnaise to make a creamy, spicy dipping sauce. 


Test your commitment, and your willingness to go the distance for what you believe in.  Don’t settle for Tobasco or, god forbid, top-up.  This would be like the equivalent of drinking a Senator when there are Primuses available.  Set your standards high.  








Never judge a PCV until you’ve walked a mile in their Chacos.

PCV Perspectives Across the Globe



What was the staple food situation like?  Or what food was actually available to you?

Staple foods in Paraguay include Mandioca which is a root vegetable.  It is eaten at almost all meals like bread.  People boil it or eat it fried.  They drink mate, a hot tea made from the mate plant or terere which is a cold tea.  Friends and families sit around in circles.  There is a server of the tea.  They pour the hot water into a guampa which is holding the tea leaves.  Then there is a metal straw you use to drink it out.  You drink all the water in the cup in one turn, then you return it to the server who fills more water for the next person.  All people share the same straw and cup. 
Sarah Galanter-Guziewski, Paraguay 2001-03

In Mali, where I served as a PCV in 1987-1989, the matoke dish, or staple dish, was called to. It is pounded millet and then cooked to a doughy consistency and normally pulled and eaten from a communal bowl by hand … dipping it in a green ( Baobab leaf ) or red ( pepper ) sauce.  Another popular and somewhat routine dish was rice with a peanut sauce or onion water sauce … although rice was at that time often considered a bit of a luxury and would be found certainly at a special event such as a wedding dinner, etc… also was found available at taxi parks and hole-in-the-wall restaurants for a cost of about 50 cents.  For my breakfast I often got an egg sandwich from the “egg lady” who cooked fried eggs in an inch or two of the hottest oil ever seen ( when the egg was scrambled and dropped in it would boil up a couple of inches and be done in a matter of seconds ). The egg lady cooked next to the street close to the Mali Regional Chamber of Commerce office in which I worked.  By the way the egg sandwiches, served on a baguette, were great!  … despite the sometimes found street grit in them.                    
.Gary Vizzo, Mali 1987-1989

The staple food in my community is cassava bread, which is the most bizarre staple food ever because it takes like 2 weeks to prepare.  It requires picking it from the fields obviously, then peeling it, then sitting it out in the sun for a few days so that it ferments and smells god-awful, then smashing it up into little bits with a hammer, then smashing the tiny bits up into tinier bits until it becomes a powder, then mingling it with a goliath-sized loofa (mixer) that literally requires an Olympic athlete to manage.  Also a strange staple food as most forms of cassava are highly poisonous, and fatal if eaten uncooked.  It is also highly known for its wondrous adhesive qualities.  It’s like a viscous bulgy glue when in bread form.  Bon appétit! 
Ilse Griffin, Uganda 2011-13

Well, I shopped at a combination of the town bazaar for veggies and herbs, and the town grocery store for pasta, and a handful of corner stores and kiosks for everything else. I’d buy a lot of bulk stuff and make stuff to last, like tomato sauce. Over my two years teaching in the Macedonian town of Kumanovo, I ate a bizarre amount of greek salads, pasta, and omelets.  Everyone in the Balkans eats a pepper pate called Ajvar, and it can be added to just about anything. 
Frank Hennick, Macedonia 2007-2009

During an evening of too many vodka shots “that’s what she said,” morphed into “that’s a sheep’s head,” which is a perfect introduction to Kyrgyz cuisine. Tradition foods are all rooted in their nomadic pastoralist past, so some sort of animal boiled or preserved served with starch. For most people sheep is the common meat, but beef and horse pop up in the springtime when there are lots of parties. The role of starch is played by rice, potatoes, noodles, and/or bread. Because of the dry Siberian winters and mountainous sites, many volunteers go without vegetables from November to March. A normal winter meal will be sheep boiled with onions served with ramen noodles and bread. It will be placed on a platter in the center of the table, and everyone eats off of it with their hands. Breakfast the next morning will be the leftovers, reconstituted with a weak broth. More modern families will likely have silverware and separate plates, but it still doesn’t add flavor.
Alex Bush, Kyrgyzstan 2008-2010

Malawi has even more boring food than Uganda, if you can
believe it. Their staple food is basically posho (called nsima), but
cooked so it’s a little softer. Most common sides are beans, greens,
or cabbage.
Leslie Stroud-Romero, Malawi 2003-2005

Guyana is made up of Africans, Indians, Amerindians, and a handful of Europeans and Chinese.  That means that we have a really wide variety of foods.  Because I live in a primarily indo-guyanese community, all I eat is spicy Indian food.  Lots of curry, rice, daal, and deep-fried deliciousness.  Also, plenty of soda, which they refer to as drink.  I live in a rural farming village with a weekly market, but I get a lot of free vegetables from generous neighbors.  Callaloo or bhaje (spinach), pumpkin, okra, tomatoes, bora (string beans) and squash the size of babies.  Plus the usual array of tropical fruits since we’re practically squatting on the equator.  Things the average Guyanese do not eat- and I’ve asked many a Guyanese- pumpkin seeds, cats, dogs, yogurt, alligators, frogs, and placenta.  I’ve finally adjusted to the spiciness and enjoy the intensity of the flavors I find here.  Cooking it, however, it another matter entirely.
Beth Bai, Guyana 2012-2014


What were the daily challenges of living as a PCV in your country?

The pace of life is very slow.  It is very important for people to sit and drink tea and sometimes it takes a long time to create change.
Sarah Galanter Guziewski, Paragauy 2001-2003

I don’t think I’ll ever get over being a Minnesotan living on the equator.  The sun is my greatest challenge, shortly followed by trying to do anything productive while in the sun. Ilse Griffin, Uganda 2011-2013
As a teacher, a lot of the challenges are the same as anywhere---kids not listening, being weird, etc.  That said, in my country I think the challenges for urban PCVs could be really different from those facing the village PCVs. For my part, it was tough to become recognized as a neighbor, colleague, or normal friend---as oppose to “that american guy”. It sometimes seemed that the PCVs in villages, after a rough start, became better ingrained in their communities.
Frank Hennick, Macedonia 2007-2009

There were 18 female PCVs in my region. By the end of my first 10 months at site all had been sexually harassed (at least groped), there had been three attempted kidnappings, and one successful rape. My area was notorious for having aggressive men, but the rates were similar in other regions.
Alex Bush, Kyrgyzstan 2008-2010

Mosquitoes, heat and sand everywhere.                                                                          
 Gary Vizzo, Mali 1987-1989

The biggest challenge for me as a PCV in Malawi is
probably not a challenge anymore. We were just on the cusp of the cell
phone revolution, so hardly anyone had phones, and certainly no
internet. We had to go to the capital to email or to access technical
resources. So the isolation and difficulty getting things done was a
big challenge.
Leslie Stroud-Romero, Malawi 2003-2005

The usual- sipping (catcalling), the language/culture barrier and slow work pace, feeling like what you’re doing is picking up starfish along the sand only to see them get eaten by octopi.  Also, hearing the same Rihanna song since I’ve arrived in country, 8 months ago.  
Beth Bai, Guyana 2012-2013



What was your work situation actually like on the ground (not on paper or in theory)?

I spent a lot of time drinking tea.  I was in education and did a lot of workshops, but actually had most success teaching in the classrooms and connecting with one teacher who was really interested in learning abut how to do preschool.  I taught a lot of English classes as well.
Sarah Galanter- Guziewski, Paraguay 2001-2003

Basically it was a workaday life, walking to the local high school and backs.  Lots of stray animals.
Frank Hennick,  Macedonia 2007-2009

I had a supervisor who was not really engaged, was politically connected to the Malian President and was not considered by many to be the most honest guy;  my counterpart was great although he often was away on side activities to earn money as he routinely was behind 6 months or so in receiving his salary from the Chamber.  The Chamber of Commerce was not even close to the model that we would know in the states ( largely the daily business was only to issue import / export licenses ) but we did develop and had running evening classes for small shop owners, employees of larger concerns and unemployed to learn accounting, inventory management, project planning, etc.. Fortunately, these activities were in part supported by some USAID funding direct to us as the small business development sector was just being launched in PC countries with the encouragement of USAID. We later developed a small business persons’ group and a credit fund specifically for this group that, I was told, eventually was modeled in other towns. Goats, flies and chickens were routinely heard and/or entering the office ,,, there was a connected grain warehouse owned by the supervisor and connected to the office … the government paid the supervisor rent on the office as he owned the building … conflict of interest with this setup was not really discussed : )                                       Gary Vizzo, Mali 1987-1989

The work situation for an education volunteer in Kyrgyzstan is similar to that of Uganda, but for the opposite reasons. In KG there are no materials and the classes are overfilled, but that’s because the buildings are falling apart faster than the population is decreasing, and the materials are gone because no one’s printed them since the fall of the Soviet Union. The students were committed to learn, but with the air of desperation that this was their only way out.
Alex Bush, Kyrgyzstan 2008-2010

Malawi has health, education, and environment volunteers. Health
volunteers are associated with a health center, so most go to the
health center on occasion to help weigh babies or give nutrition
talks, but most of their work is intended to be within the general
community. They aren’t (or at least weren’t, when I was there) put at
a certain organization, so you really have to work to find your own
project. It gives a lot of nice flexibility, though, to pursue things
you’re interested in. I taught Life Skills and helped organize a
carpentry school for orphans, Aaron worked with vocational training
for former commercial sex workers and also did mud stove
demonstrations, and other volunteers worked with youth or PHA groups
or on income generation activities.
Leslie Stroud-Romero, Malawi 2003-2005

I go to school every morning and attempt to do literacy intervention work.  Play a lot of “hokey pokey” and “I spy.”  Type up stuff for my school so the paperwork will look pretty if the ministry visits.
Beth Bai, Guyana 2012-1014



What is something unique about your site or country?

My site had had several PCVs over the past 30 some years.
Sarah Galanter-Guziewski, Paraguay 2001-2003

My transport to town usually makes me unwillingly complicit in the Uganda-Congo smuggling business!
 Ilse Griffin, Uganda 2011-2013

KG does have its moments though, which are hard to duplicate or convey. The way the cotton tree on your walk to school covers with ice and bends low over the road. The way the hills burst into green with the thaw, and then red with poppies in May. Picking ripe figs in the garden. Riding over glacier topped mountains. Perhaps the thing I miss most is the way the country forces PCVs together. There are no NGOs or missionaries and you live with a host family your full term. You can go days without speaking a word of English, and you forget you look different. Going to town, meeting other PCVs, you look forward to it like Christmas morning or a family reunion.
Alex Bush, Kyrgyzstan 2008-2010

One unique thing about Malawian culture is that they have a
couple of different “secret societies.” These are kind of like
religions and sort of like a men’s club. The initiated men meet at
night at graveyards and drum and dance. They also “take on” the spirit
of certain animals or people who have died and dance when possessed by
these spirits on special occasions in the village. They have really
elaborate masks and outfits, and are kind of scary and cool at the
same time.
Leslie Stroud-Romero, Malawi 2003-2005

Malian’s, even the different ethnic groups ( although not as many as in Uganda ), grouped themselves by family names and cousin family names and seemingly all got along fairly well in a good natured way because of this … even across ethnicity.          
Gary Vizzo, Mali 1987-1989 

 People tend to be almost aggressively hospitable in Macedonia, especially in the villages.  So many casual conversations with strangers can end up in you being sat down in their living room, drinking Turkish coffee or rakija (grape/plum brandy) and visiting.  That, and Spanish telenovelas are oddly popular; you’ll find the occasional middle-aged woman who speaks a little Spanish (with a vocabulary that disproportionately emphasizes themes like murder, lust, and scheming)                                                                              Frank Hennick, Macedonia 2007-2009

We get Muslim, Christian, and Hindu holidays off.  I think my life here looks like something out of Jurassic Park (and do morning yoga to the theme song).  We have the highest single drop waterfall in the world, though like most tourist attractions, the locals have never been and can’t tell you much about it.
Beth Bai, Guyana 2012-2014



What is the strangest thing that you have ever experienced as a PCV?

I was serenaded for my 30th birthday.  Apparently you are supposed to knock back to let them know you like it or they stop and I didn’t know what to do. 
Sarah Galanter-Guziewski, Paraguay 2001-2003

When there was a week-long funeral outside of my house. And, not having a latrine or bathing area for my first 4 months of service.   
Ilse Griffin, Uganda 2011-2013

One of my coworkers’ daughters got married while I was there, and of course there was a staff party for the young couple. A sheep was slaughtered that morning, and the guest of honor, me, was presented with the boiled head for carving. Citing my inability to dissect it according to the required customs they let me slide on most of the job, but they insisted that I chop up the ear, sample some, and then pass the rest around.
It managed to be chewy and crunchy at the same time, with the odor/flavor of wet sheep. The flesh of older sheep absorbs the smell, so if you wonder what it tastes like just smell a musky ram.
Alex Bush, Kyrgyzstan 2008-2010
 
Maybe staying overnight at a monastery with my girlfriend at the time and having the priest remind us “no love”, because “god is watching”.  That, or having a seizure on my last day of work.
 Frank Hennick, Macedonia 2007-2009

Killing three bats in one night- one with my eyes barely open.  i’m not sure if that means I’m integrating or just turning into a serial animal killer.
 Beth Bai, Guyana 2012-2014

There are a number of things that come to mind … as I’m sure is the case with PCVs here in Uganda. From my experiences, there was one time when I took an end-of-the-year trip up the Niger toward Timbuktu with 5 other PCVs and we took an 8 person cabin so two beds were taken or given to two military police guys.  During the trip, these two guys would rent the floor space in the cabin at night to deck passengers and sometimes we would wake to go to the WC or in the morning to find maybe upwards of 20 plus people in this fairly small cabin.          
 Gary Vizzo, Mali 1987-1989

Final Reflections on the differences between PC Uganda and other countries

 Other random differences: 1) they don’t have small car taxis, and
instead people travel in the back of small pick ups or lorries (most
longer trips are made by minibus/matatu), 2) when we were there they
had Coke products only…no Pepsi, 3) people eat dinner at a normal
dinner time instead of midnight, 4) we had a “transit house” in the
capital for PCVs to stay at when they were in town, 5) Peace Corps
vehicles and the office were all marked with the PC logo.                                         
 \Leslie Stroud-Romero Malawi 2003-05